Sunny side up north

New freesheet puts a positive spin on life in Bradford, becoming the country’s first regional newspaper to focus on good news

A newspaper that claims to be the UK’s first regional ‘good news only’ publication has launched in Bradford.

A free newspaper, The Bradfordian features only positive stories about the city, selected based on their potential to inspire residents and unite the community.

Publishing director Naz Hussain, 38, decided to tread his own media path after becoming disillusioned during eight years working for one of the city’s mainstream newspapers.

The race riots of 2001, population growth, and infrastructure challenges including stalled plans for a Westfield shopping centre had created “a cloud of negativity” that Hussain, a father of three, felt compelled to address.

He launched the newspaper last September, after news broke that the Westfield scheme had been revived following a six-year hiatus.

“We look for everyday heroes, stories which wouldn’t necessarily otherwise get publicity, and ask ourselves: ‘Who would benefit most from us publishing stories about them?’” Hussain said.

“We select pieces on their appeal to Bradfordians, regardless of status, race, gender, religion or politics. We have a very positive, human message.”

Publishing fortnightly and with a circulation of 55,000, the paper welcomes reader contributions and receives up to 30 good-news story ideas via email each day.

Popular stories so far include a Bradford synagogue being saved by the efforts of a nearby mosque, students travelling to help the Syrian relief effort, and a community fundraising effort intended to transform the life of a local disabled boy.

“We give mainstream newspapers 50p and ask them to show us a snapshot of the world in the past 24 hours, but they don’t,” Hussain said. “They lie and cheat and even go to criminal lengths to put one over on each other. The media has a great power and must act more responsibly.”

“I find so much satisfaction in what I do … and have a clear conscience,” Hussain added. “My ultimate goal is to persuade newspapers to be more balanced: to have a bit more faith in human nature and to report this in order to improve people’s lives.”

Positive News editor Seán Dagan Wood welcomed the launch of The Bradfordian. “Having pioneered this approach at the national level for 21 years, we’re delighted to see the country’s first regional good-news paper now being published,” he said.

“It’s a testament to the shift now taking place in the media, and to the ever-growing demand from readers for a more balanced picture of the world.”

Read it and don’t weep.

Headlines about what’s going right in the world are now being shared with millions of people through digital screens on high streets and in shopping centres all around the UK.