<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: Sick of bad news? Visit happynews.com!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sick of bad news? Visit happynews.com!

A recent headline in the big daily newspapers was about 10 U.S. Marines getting killed by a bomb in Iraq. The headline that day on HappyNews.com: "Emily, the stowaway cat, is coming home.'' Other recent stories on HappyNews.com: "Man decks house with synchronized lights'' and "Washington grape growers reap record harvest.''

HappyNews was created by a Texan named Byron Reese, who had decided that the world needed a refuge from all the bad news appearing in newspapers and on TV.

"This is asking the question, what is news?'' Reese said. "News is supposed to give you a view of the world. The news media, the way it has evolved, gives you a distorted view of the world by exaggerating bad news, misery, and despair. We're trying to balance out the scale.''

Thus, HappyNews refuses to publish most political stories, war stories, stories about layoffs...even sport stories, because "one team wins and one team loses,'' Reese explained.

Instead, HappyNews focuses on stories about health, science, the arts and heroes. A section called HappyLiving offers tips on everything from barbecuing to finding a baby sitter.

So is "happy news" profitable news? Not so far, Reese acknowledged. In fact, HappyNews is losing money because it isn't generating enough advertising revenue to offset salaries and overhead. But he's confident that it will eventually become profitable. Maybe when people get it that stowaway cats coming home are more important than dead soldiers coming home?

Meanwhile, we're putting our money on Tommy Thomason, director of the journalism school at Texas Christian University, who said, "Unfortunately, the events we need to respond to as informed citizens are not good. If you know all about synchronized Christmas lights, that won't help you be informed when you're voting on the people who will lead the country.''



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