Reporting Positive News

We spoke to Sean Dagan Wood from Positive News on how cynical news reporting can disengage readers and is counter-productive

Much has been written on how the news media needs to engage differently with its audience. According to Sean Dagan Wood, editor-in-chief of Positive News, part of the answer lies with undoing long held assumptions that news should be about what is going wrong, and to start also telling socially relevant, compelling stories from a different starting point.

“Journalism has a vital role to play in holding power to account and exposing problems but we have got to the point where so much news grabs attention through triggering fear, anger and shock, that it can leave many people feeling cynical, world-weary and with a distorted picture of reality. The impact of excessive negativity is demonstrated in the public’s disengagement – this is not good for democracy.”

Established in 1993, Positive News is an online and print magazine showcasing ‘constructive journalism’ – rigorous reporting that focuses on progress and possibility. It relaunched at the start of 2016 following its #OwnTheMedia crowdfunding campaign, which raised £260k of investment in 30 days and turned the organisation into a global media co-operative owned by 1,500 of its readers.

“Our publishing ethos is to strengthen the role that the media plays by reporting news in a constructive way.  For example, we reported on domestic workers in a recent piece and while their exploitation was an important part of the article, we focussed on how their profession is being legitimised by the introduction of new rights.

“We wanted to join IMPRESS because its vision for independent regulation matched our values and we felt that its mind set was forward-thinking and open to how journalism is evolving.”