From cynical to inspirational

Beginning as a self-confessed cynic, intern Christie Toal, reveals how his time at Positive News has changed him

Working with Positive News has been a wonderful opportunity; it’s opened up for me a whole new understanding of the media.

Positive News’ work is a completely new direction. And it’s not ‘soft news,’ it’s real serious journalism with a point to make and it has much space to grow into.

As has been revealed by events such as the phone hacking scandal, a new direction in journalism is something that is desperately needed in these modern times. In our busy lives, we’ve become strangely addicted to negativity.

Sensationalist news headlines are not helpful, they appeal to our lurid side. Positive News is different, it aims to inform but also to find solutions to the problems we face.

Talking to Sean, our editor, I explained that before I came to Positive News I was somewhat of a cynic. I said to him rather haphazardly, “I don’t know why you picked me, I’m the least positive person I know.” He hesitates; I picture in my head an Alan Sugar “Your fired!” moment. Thankfully he laughed.

“I’ve realised that there are real steps every one of us can take to create a more positive world”

Despite my early cynicism, Positive News has caused a change. I’ve realised that there are real steps every one of us can take to create a more positive world. It just takes some initiative and effort. But, the rewards are there if we are willing to try.

After reading the ‘Ten reasons green people are happier’ article from our Summer 2011 issue, I decided to put the theory into practice. Getting on my bike in the morning to come into work may sound insignificant, but it made a real difference to the way I was feeling; I felt more alert, eager and ready to take on the day. Plus, I got a beautiful view of the Clun Valley, which I could hardly take in whizzing past by car.

It’s also talking to people involved in positive change, when researching for article, that makes a big difference. It may sound like a cliché, but what I’ve found is that it is the people behind the projects that are the biggest inspiration. And its exciting as a young journalist to know that you are, in a small way, helping these inspiring people push their projects forward.

I’ve reported on many things while here at Positive News, but a few people and projects stand out: Lucy Duggan from The LightBox project in Bristol, who works with individuals and the community to tackle mental health head on through the arts; the daughter of E.F Schumacher, a pioneer in green economics; and, excitingly, after being in touch with The John Clare Trust I am hoping there will be two new elm trees planted on behalf of Positive News at Clare cottage gardens, generously donated by The Great British Elm Experiment.

At Positive News I was given respect and responsibility from day one. I can be slow and have a bit of a perfectionist streak at times but the team helped me adapt and I could take on as much or as little as I wanted. There was the right balance between responsibility and flexibility.

In short, spending time at Positive News is a unique and really rewarding experience for any young journalist, which allows you to see the world with a keen mind and fresh eyes.