Every three months, Ilonke Wolch and a team of volunteers release a journal full of unique news in which they only publish positive and inspiring stories.
Wolch, editor of Positive News, a quarterly journal, came across the publication while living in Ireland. Discouraged by the negativity of mainstream media, Wolch was impressed with the uplifting nature of the articles. She also appreciated that the publication was free. Positive News covers inspirational stories from the Ithaca area, across the United States, and Europe.
“Our goals are to provide hope that another world is possible…a world where there is social justice and living in harmony with the Earth,” Wolch said.
Positive News finds their material by following the mainstream media and by being in contact with several different international organizations that promote positive journalism. It often receives stories from the people immediately involved with them.
Positive News is the first publication of its kind in the United States, but is part of the Positive News International Network that has members in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Hong Kong. There is also a journal starting in Argentina and many of these publications have started within the past year. The Ithaca version of Positive News carries summaries of articles from the publications in other countries.
Wolch believes that community support in Ithaca is a major help for Positive News. The publication has many volunteers from the City of Ithaca and two contributors from Ithaca College.
Marty Luster, co-editor of Positive News, said it has a “real audience here” and that “people read it seriously.”
Positive News first received funding from a foundation grant. The journal is now set up to be self-sustainable and is attempting to meet its costs through advertisements, voluntary subscriptions, and donations.
Positive News has a wider readership base than Wolch originally thought it wouldwhen she started the journal. The publication has more than doubled its printing in Ithaca since its start, and is also distributed in New York City as well as in several college towns in the New England area.
“My personal vision…is to have several U.S. editions, each run independently,” Luster said.
Positive News gained not-for-profit status when the Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy at Cornell accepted the publication as one of their seventeen projects. CRESP is an umbrella organization affiliated with Cornell that allows smaller projects to qualify for not-for-profit status. Each project under CRESP is independently run. The board of CRESP allowed Positive News to be part of their organization because they believe the journal fits their mission statement. “Part of our mission is to foster a caring and vital community, foster action, foster innovative ideas that encourage sustainability in all aspects of the world,” said Anke Wessels, director of the CRESP organization.
Wolch originally distributed copies of the British Positive News before attempting to create a publication of her own. Neither Wolch nor Luster was versed in newspaper publications when they started working to print the Ithaca-based version of Positive News. Wolch has a background in architecture and design, while Luster is a practicing attorney. Wolch views their backgrounds as the kind of inspiration Positive News tries to deliver.
“If I were able to create this paper in Ithaca, anyone should be able to do whatever they set their mind on,” Wolch said.