The importance of “good news”

Some of the most common arguments made by the public against mainstream media are that there’s too much bad news about certain places, too many fluff stories, not enough fluff stories, not enough bad news about certain places, and/or, as of late, too much “fake news.” No matter what story is told there is always a complaint that it is still the wrong one. This mindset makes the existence of UpWorthy such a major problem for its opposers.

Lots of media companies have a mission. But Upworthy is on a mission to change what the world pays attention to.

We believe that stories about important issues can and should be great stories — stories for everyone, stories that connect us and sometimes even change the world.

– Upworthy Mission Statement

UpWorthy’s mission is easily summarized: they aim to spread positivity and connectivity around the world through the stories they tell. By doing so they hope to “make the world a better place” and create a healthier climate for everyone.

During a class discussion on the value of UpWorthy and whether it deserves to be labeled as “real journalism” some spoke out against it, deeming the site’s feel good stories as too soft for the news. The morals of the outlet was also questioned as many wanted to know if the stories being told were selected out of a genuine dedication to the mission statement or ads masked as uplifting tales. The specific story brought into question was “Watch Audi’s bold, touching, and totally feminist Super Bowl ad,” which detailed how a Super Bowl ad allegedly delivered a feminist message. The main argument against his piece was how it seemed more like UpWorthy was catering to Audi instead of telling a story about feminism.

While the skepticism against UpWorthy is, at times, valid, I believe discrediting a journalism outlet for posting “too much” positive news is ridiculous. One on of the main appeals of independent media is how these outlets form based on the idea that they know exactly how they want to operate. There may not be a balance between positive and negative stories, or left and right, or any other divisive parameters, however UpWorthy saw a gap in reporting and is filling it. To have a publication dedicated to telling stories not often highlighted in mainstream media is a welcome break for many.

Another notable point is the standard UpWorthy holds itself to in terms of holding themselves accountable. Every article has a button at the top labeled ‘Fact-Checked’ with a pull-down message ensuring that the article has been fact-checked to the best of their ability. While the pieces have a more conversational tone than hard news sites, the message is still being communicated to the audience in a succinct fashion.

Dismissing the UpWorthys of the journalism world is far from a smart choice. There is no such thing as too much good or bad news, so long as the news is still being reported to the best of the journalists’ ability.

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