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July 22, 2005

Happy News looking for citizen journalists

Stephen Baker

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Such thinking pervades this upbeat new site from Austin launched this week. "London spared more explosions" is the headline today. And Happy News is looking for citizen journalists to file similar happy stories. But this approach poses thorny dilemmas: Let's say you're a journalist reporting a happy story on a philanthropist--and you discover that he's quietly pocketing three-quarters of the donations. At that point, I guess, you put aside what you know and write your tale for Happy News. Better yet, sell the real story to someone else.

10:55 AM

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Haha ... reminds me of the movie "Pleasantville" :-)

Posted by: Zoli Erdos at July 22, 2005 12:35 PM

I don't see the problem here, assuming the reporter follows established procedures all reporting follows (or should follow0, which is to do the very utmost to check out the story as much as possible before printing. This is the same surely for the usually preferred "bad news" stories that pervade throughout all the media. Later news invalidating the claim of good news must be corrected and reported in the same publication when uncovered.

Posted by: John Tessier at July 22, 2005 02:45 PM

John, that's a good question for people at Happy News. If one of the stories they're covering takes a turn from 'good' to 'bad,' will they update it--or leave that job to the 'bad news' media?

Posted by: steve baker at July 22, 2005 03:03 PM

Such skepticism. While I rely primarily on mainstream news for my information, I think it's only fair to respect a site like Happy News--provided it adheres to the standards outlined above. The MSM is so preoccupied with demonstrating conflict in their stories that most articles come across as negative in tone. Why shouldn't there be a positive counterbalance? It's also quite reasonable for Happy News to leave out the scandalous news; aside from the Sunday feature story, the MSM certainly passes on uplifting themes often enough.

Posted by: Joey at July 22, 2005 05:15 PM

I think the journalist should have exposed the scoundral. Then the money would have gone to where it was originally inteded and more people would have been "happy" in the end.

Posted by: Sharon Brock at July 24, 2005 08:22 PM

Sharon, the case I described was only hypothetical. I agree that the journalist should proceed with exposing the scandal. The question is whether Happy News will publish it.

Posted by: steve baker at July 25, 2005 08:13 AM

Your hypothetical is negative, which is what is wrong with whole damned planet. People thrive on the negative. Obviously you would never qualify for the position at Happy News. But Im sure there is no shortage of positions for gloom and doomers like yourself.

Posted by: Tami Hicks at March 15, 2007 05:23 PM


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