It was not a good year.
A number ofÂ mass killings and police shootings grabbed headlinesÂ in 2016, saidÂ Branden Harvey, the usually chipper voice behind the âSounds Goodâ podcast. Presidential candidates contributed to feelings of fear and division.
It left HarveyÂ feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
But it also gave him the idea for theÂ Goodnewspaper, a printed newspaper that publishes âgoodâ news stories about people, ideas and movements seeking to change the world for the better.
âWe had the opportunity to let it break us, or we could take action,â he said.
Harvey launchedÂ a Kickstarter pageÂ in mid-March to crowdfund the quarterly newspaper. In under three days, it had hit its $26,500 fundraising goal.
And by Wednesday (April 12), with hoursÂ left to donate in the project ending Thursday morning, it has raisedÂ more than $50,800.
âI think Iâm tapping into this movement of people who feel overwhelmed by the bad news in the world. They know thereâs more out there, they just donât know how to find it, and once they find it, they donât know how to be a part of it,â he said.
The Kickstarter campaign âabsolutelyâ will cover all the Goodnewspaperâs costs with enough profit to invest in growing the publication, according to Harvey. That includes a part-time staff of six and at least 2,000 issues in its first printing run â possibly as many as 15,000. The paper also is accepting a small number of advertisements, he said, and even those will be from brands that have what he called a âsocial good message.â
Itâs just the latest of Harveyâs âgood newsâ ventures.
In his weekly âSounds Goodâ podcast, he interviews fellow optimists about topics like mental health, social justice and using influence for good. He also curates a weekly email newsletter called theÂ GoodnewsletterÂ that links to hopeful headlines from around the world.
But Harvey, originally a photographer, never set out to become a purveyor of good news, he said.
âAt this point, itâs very evident to me â âOh, everything Iâm doing is focused on good newsâ â but it was just kind of one brick at a time of being like, âOh, Iâm passionate about this thing,â âOh, Iâm interested in this thing,â and then all of a sudden I looked and all those bricks had spelled out the words âgood news,ââ he said.
Heâs always been a âa hope-focused, optimistic guy,â he said.
Thatâs something he said he learned from his grandfather, a Southern Baptist pastor in his hometown of Pullman, Wash. His grandparents always were inviting people over for dinner or to stay with them, and they taught conversational English classes to international students at a local university.
âI feel like a lot of my faith has been really shaped by the examples of others and, most specifically, by the examples of others who used their faith not to restrict and not to build up walls, but to build bridges and connect with people. â¦ Their faith informs their opportunity to love people and specifically to do it in a creative way thatâs geared toward their own unique abilities and talents,â he said.
Good news isnât all candy and butterflies and puppies, though, Harvey said. Itâs not ignoring the bad news and real injustices in the world, he said.
For instance, he said, the Goodnewsletter he sent after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., didnât ignore the tragedy. It included links to stories about people risking their lives to save others during the attack and lining up to donate blood to victims.
âWhen you acknowledge the brokenness in the world, you believe there are good things in the midst of it, thatâs when you have the opportunity to be a part of those good things,â he said. âYou have the opportunity to challenge the broken things in the world and become the solution.â
Thatâs what he hopes the Goodnewspaper will inspire people to do, he said.
Harvey expects to deliver the first issue of the paper in May.