Inspiration Report

Thanks to Inspiration Report reader Marie Ennis-O’Connor for tipping us off to “Good News Friday.”

This was the first of what is hoped to be an annual event, initiated by pr/marketing company in Ireland to try to make good news fashionable.

It happened last Friday, January 22, known as one of the most depressing days of the year–when New Year’s Resolutions start to fade, Christmas credit card bills start showing up and winter gloom seems to be in the air.

We spoke with Alison Treacy, an account assistant who worked on this good news campaign. She said that on that day people were allowed to use her company’s service for free, as long as the press releases sent out were about good news stories. Media around Ireland were encouraged to participate in some way. Between the people covering the inspiring news and the people creating and supplying it, a good news virus swept Ireland and was heard of in many parts of the world.


Beliefnet: What was the intention of this campaign?

Alison: There was a definite feeling that the Irish media had become excessively bogged down with doom and gloom. The constant crime mentions, the tribunals, the recession, job losses, church scandal, etc. So my boss, Jack Murray, had the idea that for one day we would flood the media with some positive news and try to redress the balance and send out some optimism.


What were some of the inspiring stories that went out on the wire.

All of the news stories on our site available here. Those posted on the 21st or 22nd of January are from releases that came through our website especially one with titles prefixed with GNF. You can have a look and take your pick!


How many news releases were sent?

Through us, just over two hundred releases went out. Indirectly is harder to measure, as we encouraged participants to stitch in a Good News Friday line if they chose not to go through our website.


How Many People participated?

It’s difficult to measure. Our facebook fan page had over three hundred fans. Countless people on Twitter were spreading good news and getting into the spirit of it (search #gnf). Then numerous local and national radio stations got on board, interviewed Jack about it and did features on the day. We were also in the Examiner and the Independent, two national newspapers, when we initially launched the idea. 

Just goes to show you how a good news virus gets started.


Although Superman could reverse an earthquake with his super powers, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation can only do their best to try to help those who have been devastated by the earthquake.


The foundation once led by Christopher and Dana Reeve, and now spearheaded by Reeve’s eldest children, has been focusing on getting help to the disabled in Haiti.


In all the craziness of the earthquake and ensuing destruction, people with existing disabilities and special needs have been left even more vulnerable after the earthquake. In addition, there are now scores of newly disabled persons, some due to serious injuries suffered during the earthquake and others due to resulting amputations. The foundation acted quickly to organize aid.


The priorities of the foundation are getting wheelchairs to Haiti, as well as medical equipment, shelter and food for people with disabilities. They have awarded grants to two organizations they feel can make a difference and they are encouraging others to donate. 


“Portlight Strategies of Charleston, South Carolina is going to be providing medical equipment, shelter, and food for people with disabilities,” says Joe Canose, VP, Quality of Life. “They are shipping everything from beds and water filtration units, to wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, catheters, wound care kits, and other clinical supplies.”

“UCP Wheels For Humanity of North Hollywood. CA is shipping wheelchairs.”


For more information and to make a donation, please visit the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.


While some people can’t get enough of negative news there is a growing trend in positive news coverage, prompting Newsweek to cover the good news beat. 

090317_lede_Luck.jpg“Is the glut of bad news getting you down?” asks journalist Daniel Brown, in the Newsweek web article, “The Growing Hunger for Positive News Stories.”

“Not me,” he writes. “I’ve tapped into the growing number of outlets that produce nothing but positive stories–and I’m never going back.”

Beliefnet has been in the business of inspiring people for 10 years and we have always served up good tidings and a positive spin on life. Our new blog, The Inspiration Report, gives us a chance to bring you a steady flow of inspiring news.

Nice to know that positive news reportage is more in fashion these days, with good and happy news sites popping up around the web.

“The best reason to get a healthy dose of good news is that it’s good for you,” writes Brown.

“Studies show that a calm and optimistic mind can have health benefits, like lower blood pressure and deeper sleep. Which explains why it’s not just me; good news is a pretty hot commodity these days. Of course it’s impossible to find a positive spin on every bit of depressing information that comes across on the cable-news crawl. But organizations that dish up unreported or unnoticed positive stories are becoming hot commodities.

“The Growing Hunger for Positive News–Selling the Silver Lining” was published online on Newsweek in March 2009.


A man with shiny shoes and a kind heart helped an elderly traveler when she could not catch her connecting flight after the Christmas Holidays. His act of kindness reminds us how we can make a difference in the world when we go out of our way to help even one person.


79-year-old Canadian grandmother Elsie Clark was trying to head back to her home in Winnipeg, Manitoba when she missed her flight.  Suffering from a bad hip she has to travel around airports in a wheelchair and reportedly a series of errors and delays left her stranded  in Dallas-Fort Worth.


She ended up on a different flight that was connecting in Chicago but it was delayed due to bad weather. She worried what would happen if she missed that flight too and was feeling panicked.  On the plane she spotted  Dean Germeyer, and recalled that her mother had always told her that men in shiny shoes are a good omen–he happened to be wearing a pair and this made it more comfortable for her to talk with a stranger.


“I wanted to talk to somebody to get my mind off things for a little while,” Clark told the Chicago Tribune. “So, I said, ‘Sir, do you mind telling me what you do because I’ve always admired shiny shoes.’ “


 Germeyer is based in Chicago, where he lives with his family and runs a technology consulting group. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune he mentioned that he felt a real connection with his older traveling buddy; that she was not asking for anything and yet he felt strongly he wanted to help her in some way.


As it turned out, the delayed flight into Chicago once again left Clark stranded–at first. Although Germeyer arranged for a  wheelchair to be ready when the flight landed and even though he ran her to the gate himself, she missed her flight. The airline gave her a voucher for a local hotel but Germeyer wanted to do more.


He called his wife and told her to set another plate for dinner and he invited the elderly woman home with him. After dinner he took her on a tour of the city, got her settled into a hotel and arranged a car to take her to the airport the next day, reports AOL.


I bawled and bawled and bawled,” Clark told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The city, his condo, the hotel: everything was so beautiful. How do you thank someone that does something so unbelievable?”


See Video.