“If it bleeds it leads” is a truism, a matter of fact for anyone who works with or follows the news reporting in the media. A truism we intend to change.
Shouldn't the media report reality? Of course they should, but now there is a big overweight of negative news in a world that is getting better. In recent decades, our planet has become significantly more democratic, over a billion people have left extreme poverty, we are wealthier, more kids are attending school and learning to read, and we live longer and healthier than ever before in history. Hans Rosling showed us this better than anyone else.
At the same time, media reporting on this reality has become increasingly negative. We see this in an analysis of news in 130 countries from 1979 to 2010.
We looked at one example in Sweden. We compared a piece of negative news about the risk of animal extinction with one positive news on capturing two-thirds of all carbon dioxide ever released. Perhaps the single largest effort to curb climate change ever proposed. Both stories were based on outstanding research, both linked to the UN and both related to climate change. Also, they were presented only a month apart.
The negative news received ten times as much attention in Swedish media. Also, with the researchers' worst-case scenario in focus. We do not believe that negative news should be ignored, it should of course be reported. But the positive should have received at least as much attention.
To balance this negative overweight, we've started Warp News, with fact-based optimistic news.
It started as a Facebook group a couple of years ago where we shared optimistic news. At first, we thought, hurt by our own news consumption, that we would not find enough positive news. But through social media and active search we found several sources.
Now we make Warp News a platform that is not only available on Facebook. We share the articles we write in all social media and now there is also a podcast with fact-based optimistic news.
Fact-based optimism means that we look at the facts and see a positive development in the world. It does not mean denying problems, but we see that humanity has learned to solve problems and create opportunities with science and open societies. Therefore, it is rational to believe that the future will be even better.
Fact-based optimism is not the same as a positive attitude to life. But we who are active within the Warp Institute have noted that when you get a balanced view of reality and note the great successes we have made, you also become more positive.
We do not recommend to anyone to only read Warp News, but instead consume a mix of news and media. News media has a crucial role in democratic societies. Of course, they should report on wars, disasters, crimes and other negatives. But journalism and news media must evolve. It is not reasonable to get a skewed view of reality via the media. 94 percent of Americans do not think the world is getting better. A significant reason for this is probably their news consumption.
The beautiful thing about the world we live in is that we all have the power to change that. That's why we started Warp News. The digital tools allow us to spread fact-based optimistic news across much of the world, without having a newsroom, a television studio or the ability to broadcast radio.
We hope you like the news, and help us spread it.
Magnus Aschan, Editor-in-Chief
Mathias Sundin, CoFounder and Executive Chairman
Rich Spuller, CoFounder, Warp Institute U.S.