Is There a Demand for Good News?


imageI recall overhearing a newsroom debate on death counts as two colleagues prioritised stories for that day’s paper.

“Only 2?” one of them said. “Nah, we need something better.”

How unfortunate for the poor editor that not enough people had died that day for him to have a juicy lead. Readers too seem to grow weary of the news; doesn’t anything good ever happen?

If publisher Nancy Steidl has her way, London will soon have a print newspaper dedicated to reporting the day’s news with a positive, solution-focused outcome. She and a small editorial team launched The Positive website in November 2012, and now she’s busy raising funds to add a print publication. Her original Kickstarter campaign unfortunately didn’t meet its target, but she’s still pushing forward.

The European Journalism Centre spoke with Ms. Steidl about her new venture.

“It (Kickstarter) was a great learning curve. As a startup, you need to be willing to think outside the box, to approach multiple avenues when it comes to the different levels of funding,” she said.

“Alongside, advertising, sponsorship/crowd funding is another potential fund portal.”

She’s focused on finding private investors now, as well as exploring Indiegogo, another crowd-funding platform. The set-up and launch costs have been self-financed and the team is currently working out of Ms. Steidl’s flat. One of the takeaways she learned from the Kickstarter campaign is that not everyone may be ready for this type of publication.

“We publish everyday stories, but we write the solution and the public isn’t really ready for that yet,” she said.
“How can you find a positive side to murder – it’s difficult but solutions can be found, for example, new laws made in response to a paedophile crime, these acts bring awareness to issues and the tragic deaths have given the gift of expansion.”

Ms. Steidl believes The Positive is more than a newspaper but a model that can move people’s minds in a more positive direction. Now, she says, people need to do a bit of reprogramming of the mind in order to get away from the negative and start focusing on the positive.

“People are sceptical so a newspaper like this can be daunting, but once it starts to move people will get it,” she said. “If a problem exists, most people just sit on it – it takes effort to find a solution.”

The team is also working on a mobile application to take advantage of their online presence and have hundreds of distribution points - from tube stations to hotels to offices to schools – ready for the hard copy of The Positive once they’ve received the necessary funding to print.

Soon after setting up her editorial team, she took on a brand and website company to design the website and develop the brand. She has a non-executive board in place, as well as a social media company. Ms. Steidl is passionate about her project and sees the need for something like The Positive in today’s world.
“People are calling out for The Positive,” she said. “They are tired of reading negative news and really are hungry for a newspaper like The Positive which offers solutions to problems posed by everyday mainstream news.”

She’s learned a lot from her experiences so far; thoughts that are positive reinforcement for anyone working on something new.

“When you embark on a project, you have to believe and trust in yourself. You have to surround yourself by people who believe in your vision and also uplift you by how they embrace the cause. You take on individuals who have the same values as you and your company. You have to be focused on the solutions at all times, not the problems. Worry and stress are ‘false’ thoughts that rob you of your energy. Always focus on the present state and deal with how you can move forward from there.”