Event asks: Can we change the news for good?

Positive News will take centre stage at an event exploring how the media can more accurately and usefully reflect reality

Can We Change the News for Good?, organised by Action for Happiness, will take place at 7pm on 25 March at Conway Hall in Holborn, London. Both Positive News editor Seán Dagan Wood and the newspaper’s patron, former BBC news presenter Martyn Lewis, will offer insight into what has become an increasingly popular topic.

While Positive News has pioneered a credible, positive journalism approach for 22 years, debate about the role of media in society was reinvigorated by a recent BBC Radio 4 documentary. Good News is No News charted the rise of a wave of alternative media outlets which are challenging ingrained ideas of how the media should be. And even the mainstream press is now taking note.

Wood said it is an exciting time for discussion.

“When society faces deep crises but is making progress on many fronts and holds so much potential, a more balanced approach in the press can create a fertile ground for society to respond to its challenges in an empowered way.

“If we want a happier and more caring society, we need more balanced news.”

“Digital technologies are disrupting the media industry while evidence is showing that positive stories are in demand, can engage audiences more and benefit society.”

The approach championed by Positive News chimes with Mark Williamson, director of Action for Happiness. His organisation provides resources to a growing movement of people who are committed to creating a happier and more caring society.

“Action for Happiness has convened this event because we sense that people are absolutely fed up with a constant diet of negative and cynical news,” he explained.

“They don’t want more fluffy ‘cat rescued from tree’ stories – but they want the news to be more balanced and to include coverage of constructive and empowering stories alongside the more negative news, which of course must still be reported.”

But a solely negatively-focused media, Williamson said, has a “toxic and detrimental impact” on national wellbeing.

“It heightens our anxiety and reduces our levels of trust and social cohesion. If we want a happier and more caring society, we need more balanced news. So it’s great to see publications like Positive News taking forward this debate and helping to change the news.”

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“While positive stories used to be relegated to the ‘and finally’ slot,” added Wood, “other media are now following our example.

“They are realising that we can report positive developments in a rigorous and compelling way and that there is a huge desire from people to have access to a more inspiring lens on the world.”

Can We Change the News for Good? takes place at Conway Hall in Holborn, London on 25 March at 7pm. Find out more and order tickets here.