Good News Gets a Warm Welcome at These Web Sites
Saturday, March 21, 2009
As bad news hails from the heavens, as headlines thunder about DEBT and RAGE and DISASTER, as television narrates the crumbling of society with stunning graphics and Wagnerian music, as all manner of calamity gets the front-page top-of-the-hour treatment, know this:
Good news has a safe house. It's a mile down an unpaved road, on a murky, misty lake off the Occoquan River just south of Manassas, in a log cabin built as a one-room fishing lodge in the 1930s. There, in an office with a water view, a woman with rich brown curls and bright blue eyes trawls the Internet for good news. It's very outpost-y, very Michael-Caine-in-"Children of Men." Outside, the lake is glassy. The quiet is eerie. Like Wolf Blitzer is about to hack his way through the woods and incinerate the safe house with his bad-news bazooka. . . .
For now, nothing. No noise, save for bird song and the typing and clicking of the woman, Geri Weis-Corbley, a mother of three teenagers. She operates the Good News Network, a portal for the globe's uplifting headlines, from an office painted pale yellow. Weis-Corbley spends her days browsing for reports of positivity and posting them on the site. Her headlines from this week:
Optimism Boosts Florida Housing Market.
Good Samaritans Lift Car From Pinned Puppy.
Officer Buys Shoplifted Sandwiches for Homeless Man.
In September, when the bank bailouts began, the Good News Network saw a 45 percent spike in traffic. About 200 people have subscribed to the site in 2009, boosting the number of paying customers past 1,000 since Weis-Corbley started $24 yearly subscriptions last May. There are other Web sites that aggregate good news from around the world (Gimundo, Good News Daily, a flurry of religious sites), but few are as current, well kept and newsy as hers. She's out to prove that good news sells, to eventually broaden her mission into its own TV network.
"I want to give a second life to good news stories," says Weis-Corbley, 49, who was a CNN camera operator and editor in the 1980s and believes in a balanced media diet. "Good news is evergreen. It never gets stale."
Some traditional media regularly feature good news -- the Week magazine's "It Wasn't All Bad" briefs, CNN's "Heroes" feature, the Christian Science Monitor's "Making a Difference" section -- but not until recently has good news become big news. The Los Angeles Times now has a Twitter feed devoted to good news ("breaking positivity, by popular request" is its mantra). Most notably, Brian Williams asked for good news tips on the March 4 broadcast of "NBC Nightly News." Thousands of e-mails poured in within hours. Williams ended each show last week with a couple of minutes of positivity.
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