News networks have been in the unfortunate position of delivering a lot of bad news lately. Day after day, viewers, listeners and readers have a similar experience of learning about the latest downturn, disintegration or downsizing. But there is only so much that people can take until they start craving something different. The recent proliferation of optimistic news sites reflect just that desire for a positive outlook in journalism. A recent spotlight from NPR interviewed Geri Weis-Corbley, who edits and publishes the Good News Network. The Web site was launched in 1997 with free news for six years, and now sustains itself by paid subscriptions. In her interview, Weis-Corbley said that her traffic increases as news trends shift to negative coverage. Apparently, Bad news drives the public to search for good news. Before recent events, her largest traffic spike was in September of 2001.
The GNN is not the only news entity enjoying the contrary movement away from negative stories. There are sites with more traffic still, such as HappyNews.com, whose coverage emphasizes virtue, goodwill and heroism. News categories reflect a traditional newspaper section model, with international, national, business, health, science, arts, sports, op-ed, environment sections with a separate, more unique "heroes" section. Clean and canned-blog styling make for a readable, if less than visually memorable, experience.
Good News Daily has a similar structure to HappyNews, with additional stories in "armed forces," "philanthropy and altruism" and "travel." The major difference is that the content is user submitted, and seems to leave weaker entries online. Interface and layout is simple, with few images and broken links, but the accessibility seems to make up for these shortcomings. GND succeeds by being open to the nature of news, requesting local legends and family histories as well as the standard current events.