GoodNewsNetwork: No Gloom, No Doom

Geri Weis-Corbley is the founder of GoodNewsNetwork.org, a Web site devoted to feel-good stories. Weis-Corbley thinks an alternative to the grim fare offered by major news outlets is essential. And traffic is up.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

As the economy has worsened, some of you have complained about all the bad news we've been reporting. Our inbox is peppered with comments like, I can't remember the last positive story I've heard; and, we get it, things are bad, please, oh, please take a stand against the war on optimism.

Well, we get it. And for the next few minutes, we promise only good news. And our guest is Geri Weis-Corbley. She's the founder of the Web site GoodNewsNetwork. Welcome to the program.

Ms. GERI WEIS-CORBLEY (Founder, GoodNewsNetwork): Hello, Michele. It's great to talk to you.

NORRIS: Now, I'm looking at your Web site right now, Goodnewsnetwork.org, and I just want to go through some of the headlines today. What kind of good news have you been sharing with people?

Ms. WEIS-CORBLEY: A lot of news about business and the economy. I think a lot of people need uplifting stories about that. And my readers submitted several stories today. One is about the stimulus package and how it's going into the green jobs, and what kind of jobs are being created in solar and wind. We've got a story up about, A, Michigan has an - actually an industry that's doing well -it's a semiconductor factory there that's doing terrific. And also, Jay Leno has added a second show for his Detroit free shows for the unemployed, so…

NORRIS: Now, we should say that this was not an idea that you cooked up in response to the downturn in the economy. You've been doing this for quite some time.

Ms. WEIS-CORBLEY: I'm in my 12th year delivering positive news on the Internet. I used to work in TV news, actually, and I got the idea when I was in Washington working for CNN.

NORRIS: Well, you were just sick of bad news yourself?

Ms. WEIS-CORBLEY: Yeah. I said, geez, why don't they ever chase the stories that are the good things happening? I mentioned it to a colleague. There should be some good-news shows, and they said, good news doesn't sell. Well, I didn't really buy it, but years later, when the Web hit in 1997, I said, now's my chance to prove it. So I gave away free good news for 10 or 11 years. And then in May, I started paid subscriptions, and the response has just been tremendous.

NORRIS: So have you seen a real uptick in business with this cycle of very bad news about the economy?

Ms. WEIS-CORBLEY: Yes. You know, a reporter called me in September after Lehmann Brothers fell and Bear Stearns in the stock market tanked, and he said, how is your traffic going? I'm just curious. And so I looked at my traffic and for the two weeks following September 15th, traffic was up 45 percent, and it has stayed there. And it reminded me of my next biggest, or my biggest traffic spike was during 9/11. On September 11th and September 12th, I had the biggest spike I've ever seen on the Web site.

NORRIS: So this is not necessarily, like words of inspiration or a positive quote. I mean, this is literally news stories…

Ms. WEIS-CORBLEY: Yeah. Right.

NORRIS: …that project something good about the world.

Ms. WEIS-CORBLEY: Yeah. Like you hear over and over, it's a nightmare - the Wall Street - it's horrible. It's - people are, you know, you just hear the worst adjectives and adverbs about this economy. And yet, I was finding great stories; for instance, IBM posted record profits in the fourth quarter of 2008, and they projected strong growth for 2009.

Now, NPR might have mentioned it, and other stations might have mentioned it, but it seemed like nobody had heard that. And they were only hearing about the people who were being laid off. So I know what we need is a balance in our lives, so that we see that there's a lot of good things going on. There's companies - Michele, there's good news in the banking industry. There's good news in industry. There is good news in economics and Wall Street, and you just - I find it.

NORRIS: Well, Geri Weis-Corbley, it's been good to talk to you. Thanks so much.

Ms. WEIS-CORBLEY: Thanks Michele, have a great day.

NORRIS: Geri Weis-Corbley is the founder of GoodNewsNetwork.org, one of several Web sites offering only positive news on the Internet.

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