Engraving of press hat

The news cycle has a negativity bias

The nature of the news cycle, with its heavy focus on negative events, leads us to believe that the world is getting worse. Statistically, however, it’s actually getting better (for us, not so much the planet).

If you watch the news everyday you probably wouldn't know this. The media largely focuses on events happening right now rather than slow but transformative events happening over time. The news is about things that happen, not the things that don't happen.

“Bad news arrives as drama, while good news is incremental—and not usually deemed newsworthy.”

– Bill Gates on 'Some good news, for once' — GatesNotes

We can't fully blame the media for this. We are wired this way. Negative events affect us more than positive ones. We remember them more vividly and they play a larger role in shaping our lives. We all have negativity bias.

This goes for clicks as well. We're more likely to click on a negative headline than a positive one. Big media puts more focus on negative news because it gets more attention, and therefore makes more profit. It's a numbers game.

So why bother then?

Well, like I said, it's a numbers game. The news is predominently negative. So it's up to us to seek out and promote those positive stories. Negativity is contagious, it distorts our ways of thinking and plays to our psycholgical biases. Studies have shown that consumers of negative news become more fatalistic, saying things such as "Why should I bother voting? It won't change anything?" or "I'm not giving that charity my money. They just keep it for themselves.". I believe it's in our best interest to reduce exposure to negative news. So that's why I decided to create this.

What is What's The Good News?

What's The Good News? is a positive and uplifting news stories aggregator. It collects and displays the most positive news stories so they hopefully receive more exposure, thus ever so slightly tilting the balance of the news cycle to be just that bit more positive.

How does it work?

v1 worked by pulling in news sources from all the major news outlets and running sentinent analysis on them to only display stories that passed over a certain sentiment score. Unfortunately, that didn't work. So v2 switched to a more human approach. It works by displaying a combination of user submitted stories and news pulled in from the Reddit API. It's not a perfect solution, but it's a start!

If you've any feedback, questions etc, you can email me or DM me. Or if you'd like to submit your own positive story, you can do that right here.