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'Good news only' policy wows readers and advertisers

A “good news only” policy in force at a series of local newspapers is pleasing both readers and advertisers, according to the publisher.

Independent London Local Newspapers’ eight titles have scrapped bad news reporting in favour of positive, helpful stories.

And chairman and editor John Mappin said that advertising has increased observably since the new content was put in place.

He said: “I’m not saying that this is a new idea, but what I have done is put it into practice.

“Bad news is bad for your health. Just as a diet of junk food is bad for your body, a diet of bad news is bad for your mood and effects how you deal with life. Bad news causes stress. Stress causes ill health.”

The group publishes seven free titles – the Westminster Independent, City of London & Docklands Independent, Kensington & Chelsea Independent, Notting Hill & Bayswater Independent, Hampstead Independent, Hammersmith & Fulham Independent and Ealing & Park Royal Independent – and the paid-for New London Independent, which is published fortnightly.

John recently published a front-page letter in the 23,000-distribution titles announcing the new corporate editorial policy.

It said: “It is extremely important to keep good news flowing in the society. The value of doing this should not be underestimated. It has become completely obvious from our direct observation of the media business that forwarding of bad or negative news does not help people or help business.”

And it is this theory that he claims is benefiting advertisers, with positive news boosting the mood of readers and therefore boosting the response rates that adverts generate.

He told Holdthefrontpage the positive policy was probably also giving readers a truer reflection of what is happening in their community.

He said: “It’s all a question of balance. If every other paper was reporting good news then chances are I’d do negative stories, but that is not the case.

“Any story can be reported positively so this doesn’t limit us. It’s all about how you look at something.”

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