Feel-Good Stories are Hard to Find


Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to find more uplifting, positive stories to share — no rhyme or reason why, I just was in that kind of mood. And I’ve been somewhat successful, I think. Last Tuesday’s story was about an 80-something-year-old who valued education so much that he enrolled in kindergarten. This Monday’s story was about two disabled men who teamed up to plant a whole forest. And yesterday, while not quite at that level from an uplifting perspective, was a fun story about a helpful mouse. I wasn’t 100% on target this week — Wednesday’s re-run turns what is often believed to be a feel-good story and demonstrates that it’s hardly one — and I selected that having briefly forgotten that I wanted to share stories of positivity this week. (Oops.)

I want to share more stories like that — but I’m going to need your help. As the title today says, stories like that are hard to find. I spent a good amount of time this week scanning through my collections of bookmarks for future stories and very few of them even approach the level of Monday’s story. (There are a lot of fun/odd ones that probably are on a part with the mouse story from yesterday.) I don’t think that’s primarily a function of my bias, either; while I definitely have an eye for stories that can be told with a side order of snark, I’d like to think I also have a good sense for ones that extol the virtues of empathy and friendship.

If I’m right, then my guess is simply that feel-good stories don’t often get reported unless they’re extreme, and by definition, there aren’t a lot of “extreme” tales to tell. And without coverage, they don’t become important or further documented. For example, they don’t get Wikipedia entries; there are lots of entries for very specific bad acts — Wikipedia has a long article guiding contributors on how to cover the “murder of” a person — but there’s no parallel for feel-good stories.

All of this makes it very hard for me to discover, and therefore, to share these stories with you. A really great local story about someone who does something extraordinary may never make it past the local news station, which means I’m not likely to find it.

So I’m asking you for help. If you see a really uplifting story, please email me about it. I don’t know how or if I’ll use it, but I’ll try! Thanks.

The Now I Know Week In Review

  • Thursday: Good Mousekeeping: I’m thrilled with this title. It’ll be one of my favorites for a long, long time.

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend:

1) “Not Fuzz” (The Atavist, 47 minutes, July 2017). The subhead: “They were partners in fighting crime. The only problem: Neither was a cop. But when one friend turned on the other, things got real.”

2) “The Great Pretenders” (Toronto Life, 27 February 2024). “Karima Manji wanted it all for her twin daughters, Amira and Nadya. And she found a way to help them get it: financial aid earmarked for Indigenous kids. The fact that they weren’t remotely Indigenous wasn’t going to stop her.”

3) “My Goldendoodle Spent a Week at Some Luxury Dog ‘Hotels.’ I Tagged Along.” (New York Times, 21 minutes, March 2024). This is a feel-good story, right? Close enough!

Have a great weekend,