“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X
Let me tell you a bit about my morning routine. I try to follow this routine before I sit and do my writing every day. I think it’s a good way to start the day, well, ’til things fall apart anyhow. Hear me out.
First, I try to wake up at a reasonable hour. Time not important. What is a reasonable wake-up time is a subjective concept. Don’t’ judge me on that. My wake up hour isn’t where the problem lies.
Ok then, so shower time right away. I’m energized!
Then usually, I squeeze in a short meditation and my hybrid stretching routine. Mind and body are feeling fresh. So far, so good!
Get some coffee. The blood is pumping. Oh yea!
I like to keep up on what’s going on in the world, so I watch the news for about 20 or 30 minutes. This is where I get hung up.
The news can be depressing, you know? Especially these days it seems to be, not only due to the spread of COVID-19, but from years of news following the rise of ethno-nationalist, authoritarian as*hole leaders around the world and their racist, greedy agendas. That’s not to mention an array of ongoing wars, state violence, impending climate disaster, and all that. Maybe the news was always shite. I don’t know. But it gets me down, and on mornings like this I haven’t really learned anything useful from the news anyhow.
So when I get down to writing it’s like, “Ah, the world is fu*ked anyhow. What’s the point?” I’m just not feeling it. And it isn’t just about the writing. It’s about everything. Am I supposed to just give up? Tune out? Maybe just switch the channel to find something to distract me? There is no shortage of distractions.
Sure, you have plenty of conservative news outlets spreading misinformation and feeding the fire. Obviously shun them. Shun them like your fu*king life depended on it! But even the ‘moderate’ and the progressive ones (that I would prefer of course) seem too focused on reporting about all the sensational events and problems in the world… a mass shooting here, some drone strikes there, police brutality closer to home, and of course Trump is saying or doing some stupid and/or racist sh*t again. You get all this stuff, and they don’t really provide any viable solutions or even glimmers of hope. A fu*king glimmer of hope now and again would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Peace and solutions-oriented news media outlets
The good news is that there is an alternative (to mainstream news media outlets) that can keep you well-informed and feeling inspired. The alternative, and the only way forward in my mind, is the peace and solutions-oriented media outlets.
I do my best to be increasingly more intentional about the news I consume. And so when I cut out the mainstream outlets and replace them with media from peace and solutions-oriented media, by the time I begin writing I’m in a positive frame of mind. Not only that, but I get informed about current events and I feel like I have a deeper understanding of issues I care about. And beyond my daily writing practice, I am generally more optimistic that we can build a better, more peaceful and just world.
The challenge is that mainstream news outlets across the political spectrum tend to dominate what we are exposed to on TV and social media. To take control of your media consumption, you have to not only know viable alternatives, but you have to be intentional about the news you consume.
So to get you started, I’ve put together a list of 20 great peace and solutions-oriented news media outlets, each with free online content. A few of them you may know, but you probably don’t know most of them. They are all different and have something unique to offer, so I have presented them in no particular order.
I encourage you to go through the list and find some that you like. Follow them on social media. Make reading, listening to, and viewing them part of your daily routine. Following these will not only keep you up to date on current events, but will give you a deeper understanding of issues you care about, that you may find ways to contribute to solving these problems, not just being disheartened by them.
Global Voices is an international community of bloggers, journalists, translators, academics, and human rights activists dedicated to building understanding across borders. They write articles using stories from around the world and have translated content in over 50 different languages. Their stories cover a wide array of topics, including digital activism, freedom of speech, human rights, migration and immigration, refugees, war and conflict, humanitarian response, protest, and indigenous news, among other topics.
Waging Nonviolence is an independent, non-profit media platform dedicated to providing original reporting and expert analysis of struggles for justice and peace around the world. They are all about people-power, and their content focuses on how people-power is shaping the world. They have a special focus on overlooked social movements in the Global South, as well as issues that traditional media tend to ignore. There are three active podcasts associated with their website.
3. YES! Media
YES! Media is a nonprofit, independent publisher of solutions journalism. They report on the positive ways communities are responding to social problems to inspire people to build a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world. They analyze the root causes of societal problems and explore opportunities for systemic, structural change. They encourage reporting that considers alternative ways of thinking that can produce a more equitable and Earth-friendly world.
Peace Science Digest publishes content to create awareness about the contributions peace research can make to prevent war and violence. They link the work of academics to peacebuilders, peace advocates, educators, the media, elected officials, and others who can benefit from the research, all presented in an accessible manner. They aim to transform thinking, change narratives, strengthen peace work, and advocacy, and improve policy-making.
Grist describes themselves as a beacon in the smog — an independent, irreverent news outlet and network of innovators working toward a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck. Their reporting is solutions-oriented and can be light-hearted while still focusing primarily on serious issues like climate, sustainability, and social justice. There is a segment on their website called ‘fix’ that is dedicated to solutions-oriented articles featuring ‘fixers’ who are creating solutions to pressing problems.
Greater Good Magazine is a project of The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley. They turn scientific research into stories, tips, and tools for a happier life and a more compassionate society. Articles on the website bridge the gap between scientific journals and people’s daily lives. With thoughtful commentary on current events, topics covered include ‘big ideas,’ community, culture, education, society, and relationships, among others.
Truthout is a nonprofit news organization dedicated to providing independent reporting and commentary on a diverse range of social justice issues. They work to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for progressive and transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis. Themes covered on the website include immigration, racial justice, war and peace, human rights, and other topics.
Reasons to be Cheerful tells stories that reveal that there are, in fact, a surprising number of reasons to feel cheerful. Many of these reasons come in the form of smart, proven, replicable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Their stories balance a sense of healthy optimism with journalistic rigor, seeking to inspire us all to be curious about how the world can be better and to ask ourselves how we can be part of that change. Articles cover themes of civic engagement, climate/energy, culture, education, and more.
Peace Magazine is a quarterly magazine covering world affairs, peace, democracy, and nonviolent change. Editions include articles, news stories, book and film reviews, and a Peace Crossword. Articles cover disarmament, conflict resolution, nonviolent action, profiles of activists, environmental protection, among other topics. Archived articles are accessible back to 1984. They also have a weekly video series called Talk about Saving the World, with over 100 very interesting thematic video discussions with a broad range of peace activists and experts.
10. Peace News
Peace News is the UK’s only grassroots newspaper (published since 1936!!!) covering the full spectrum of peace and justice issues. Peace News opposes wars, nuclearization, and all forms of violence and discrimination. They publish 6 (bi-monthly) issues a year and have newspaper archives and blog posts available to read online. Articles are also tagged and organized by numerous themes, including activism, militarism, drones, war resisters, civil liberties, arms trade, activist history, people power, refugees, radical living, and many, many others.
TRANSCEND Media Service (TMS) is a fierce advocate for peace on the international stage. The site serves as a platform where writers from around the world can take a stand against oppression, militarism, nuclear weapons, exploitation, violence, wars, interventions, invasions, conquests, imperialism, neo-colonialism, and associated ideologies. TMS seeks to broaden discussion on such topics by focusing on hidden aspects of international politics and out-of-the-box, unconventional thinking that stimulates transcendent solutions and actions. Johan Galtung, the website founder and father of the academic discipline of Peace Studies, writes a monthly editorial.
12. Common Dreams
Common Dreams is a non-profit independent news center that seeks to inform, to inspire, and to ignite change for the common good. They publish a diverse mix of breaking news, insightful views, videos, and press releases covering issues that resonate with progressives in every corner of the globe. One key theme covered on the website is ‘war and peace.’ They have a strong global community of writers, activists, and everyday citizens.
Colorlines is the daily news site published by Race Forward, a US national organization dedicated to the advancement of racial justice. Colorlines covers breaking news, offers context and analysis, and digs deeper with investigative reporting. They take a critical, systematic approach to reporting, integrate storytelling as a key method, and often present innovative perspectives to achieving racial equity. Themes covered include gender, criminal justice, economic justice, environment, global affairs, immigration, islamophobia, amongst other topics.
The Culture of Peace News Network (CPNN) is a project of the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace, initiated by the United Nations. CPNN is composed of youth teams that report on initiatives promoting a culture of peace around the globe. On the site, you can search for articles by geographic region or by theme. Themes include education for peace, sustainable development, tolerance and solidarity, equality for women, and disarmament, among others. They also have a monthly bulletin.
The Peace Journalist is a semi-annual publication of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University. The Peace Journalist is dedicated to disseminating news and information for and about teachers, students, and practitioners of peace and conflict sensitive journalism. On the website articles are indexed three ways: by topic/title, by author, and by country/region.
Popular Resistance provides a daily stream of resistance news from across the United States and around the world. Articles encourage people to become politically active in new and creative ways. They ultimately seek to assist in bringing movements for peace and economic, racial and environmental justice together into an independent, nonviolent, and diverse movement that can end the power of concentrated wealth, shift power to the people, and put human needs before corporate greed. Check out their podcast: Clearing the Fog.
The Hampton Institute is a proletarian think tank that was founded in 2013 to provide commentary, analysis, and theory on a wide range of social, political, and economic issues from a working-class perspective. Articles offer thoughtfully written, intelligent analysis on themes of criminal justice, indigenous rights, LGBTQ rights, race and ethnicity, women’s issues, urban issues, social movements, and many others. They also host a bi-weekly podcast called A Different Lens.
18. The Progressive
The Progressive has been a voice for peace, social justice, and the common good since 1909. They amplify voices of dissent and those under-represented in the mainstream, to drive grassroots progressive politics. They publish multiple stories every day on the website, and also produce a bimonthly magazine featuring investigative reporting, cultural and political analysis, and poetry.
The Real News Network (TRNN) produces independent, verifiable, fact-based journalism that engages ordinary people in solving the critical problems of our times. Articles examine the underlying causes of chronic societal problems, and investigate and report on effective solutions and models for change. For TRNN, people who fight for human rights and work for solutions are newsmakers. Articles can be searched by theme or region. Additionally, they have a number of interesting thematic video programs you can watch.
Promoting Enduring Peace (PEPeace) conducts peace education activities that promote peace and justice. PEPeace mainly curates relevant, quality articles on disarmament, human rights, the environment, and peace in the arts via their online platform. Articles can be found by renowned peace activists, organized by columnist name, region, and theme.
BONUS. Solutions Journalism Network
Solutions Journalism Network spreads the practice of solutions journalism. They seek to rebalance the news, so that every day people are exposed to stories that help them understand problems and challenges, and stories that show potential ways to respond. Their activities include journalist trainings, support for solutions reporting projects, hosting collaborative events for journalists, and bringing quality stories to the people and institutions who need them to make change.
Find ways you can build a more peaceful and just world. Download my free handout 198 Actions for Peace.