Many moons ago (back in the mid-90s), when web-based news was in its embryonic stages and Arianna Huffington was out stumping for Newt Gingrich’s “Republican Revolution,” TV producer Geri Weis-Corbley wondered if it was possible to build a media organization based only on good news.
At the time, the prevailing view amongst media peddlers was that good news simply didn’t sell. “If it bleeds it leads,” was the motto for most TV news stations. This was the culture and environment in 1997 when Geri launched the Good News Network (GNN). As it says on her site: “The declining state of the U.S. news media and the rising tide of the Internet combined to compel her into action”
Geri wanted to be the first person to prove that good news could sell. Through patience, tenacity and sheer bulldoggedness, her theory become reality. After more than ten years of giving away the website content for free, the Good News Network transitioned to a membership site on May 11, 2008. At the time, 26 percent of subscription purchasers chose to voluntarily pay more than the minimum amount under GNN’s “pay what you can afford” policy. Fueled by the increased demand for positive online content and its rabid fan base (they have almost 48,000 fans on Facebook), GNN has continued to grow. Even the mainstream media has taken a cue from the movement Geri started, with websites like NBC’s Wonderful World and ABC’s Good News. See what Katie Couric had to say about GNN in this March 2009 broadcast editorial:
Today, in this world of on-demand media and niche publishing, the idea of a news outlet built around positivity seems quite natural. But lets not lose sight of how much things have changed in such a short time. In many respects, we have Geri to thank for paving the way for the rest of us. To learn more about GNN, I encourage you to see this post: 25 Interesting Things About the Good News Network. Huge thanks to Geri for answering our Talking GOOD questions.
1. IN JUST ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE? I was created to give people around the world a daily dose of positive news — “A Daily Dose of News to Enthuse.”
2. HOW HAS THIS WORK CHANGED YOU? I had to put myself out there, become a pioneer and take the criticism — from the media and naysayers, and I had to become willing to step into my fears, especially when in 2008 I wanted to charge money for my internet content.
3. WHAT DO YOU GET FROM GIVING? Because of my hard work I receive a lot of fan mail, people telling me how grateful they are for what I do, which is something I probably needed more of as a small child but didn’t get.
4. WHO IS A LIVING HERO AND WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM IF GIVEN THE CHANCE? I actually did speak to my living hero at the DC Press Club when I videotaped his presentation there. Ted Turner started the world’s first 24 hour news network (CNN) and I got to ask him in person if he thought a “good news” broadcast could be successful. He said yes, he thought it could be.
5. WHAT EVERYDAY RESOURCES COULD HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR PHILANTHROPIC GOALS? If employees count as “everyday resources”, two staff members could make a huge difference, a personal assistant and editorial associate. We could take over the world with positive media that much quicker.
6. WHAT IS A BURNING QUESTION THAT YOU HAVE FOR THIS COMMUNITY? I don’t have one at the moment.
7. WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK BE? An auto-biography? I don’t know, but I always thought I would name my magazine “G” because so many (G)reat adjectives start with G — and so does my name — so each edition would have a different G theme.
8. TELL US SOMETHING YOU RARELY SHARE IN PUBLIC? I was the second female ENG camera operator in the history of national TV news. I was in DC just at the dawn of satellite TV, which created a number of small DC bureaus with news crews setting up alongside the big union boys of NBC, CBS and ABC.
9. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO ASPIRE TO BE CITIZEN PHILANTHROPISTS? Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, you have to do that which you think you cannot do (that thing you are afraid to do). You must act upon what Mary Manin Morrissey calls your “Divine Discontent”.
10. WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WISH I HAD ASKED, AND WHAT IS THE ANSWER? QUESTION: Do you rely on numerology or astrology or psychic readings or tarot or Native American animal totems or angel cards to bring clarity to your purpose? ANSWER: You bet I do. Some of the most profound messages that have kept me going through low points and mental fog, have come from a variety of sources just like those. You don’t even have to “believe” in how they work or *if* they work. When you ask a question, you will receive an answer so personal it will ring as true as your deepest desire. Ask and it is given.