Good Good Good
NASHVILLE SINCE 2015
When Branden Harvey was a kid and he’d see scary things in the news, his mom would tell him, “look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.” As an adult, Branden found himself all over the world doing humanitarian photography, and was face to face with both good and bad news globally. He decided he wanted to showcase the good being done and those helpers changing the world, and in the process, became one himself.
“A little bit accidentally,” Branden says of the start of his company, Good Good Good. “My background was in photography and around the time I moved here, I was doing a lot of humanitarian photography so I was traveling internationally, spending time with non-profits and socially-conscious brands helping them tell stories.”
His move to Nashville coincided with a pretty rough time socially: the election was ramping up, the global refugee crisis was on the forefront of people’s minds, and police brutality and oppression were seemingly more prevalent. “I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by the bad in the world,” he says, “at the same time that I was still traveling the world, seeing all of this amazing work being done by non-profits and being like okay, this can’t be the end of the story.” His mother’s advice – find the helpers – echoed in his head. He decided he wanted to tell those stories instead.
He began with the Goodnewsletter. “I was just so fed up and overwhelmed,” he says. He Tweeted that he was going to start looking for good news, and offered to share his findings with anyone who wanted it. Once a week, he’d email those people his findings. “I didn’t think I was starting something,” he recalls.
However, the demand was there. Two months later, he launched Sounds Good, a podcast “hosting hopeful conversations with optimists and world-changers about the unique experiences that drive them to use their influence for good.” Early in 2017, he launched the Goodnewspaper, a quarterly, print-only paper that prints news stories (and yes, comics and a crossword) with a bar at the bottom suggesting ways to get involved and make a difference yourself.
Though at first, searching for good news was a challenge, the more he does it, the more aware he is of it around him, something he’s been told relates to the science of the brain. “Our brains have this internal negativity bias, and good news slides right off our brain like teflon and bad news sticks to our brain like velcro,” he says. “You have to be really intentional about focusing on the good things happening in your life.”
The Goodnewspaper directly addresses that bias. It releases quarterly, and only in print, so readers have to sit down, put their phone aside, and physically engage with reading the paper. It features beautiful cover art each issue, so that it can serve a coffee-table-book function in each room. Branden’s favorite stories include when people tell him they’ve put it in places like hospitals, and come back a week later to find stories underlined, words circled, and pages missing.
“We hope that you’ll take action,” Branden says, “and you’ll realize that there’s power in actually taking action in the things that you care about. My favorite stories are hearing people say, ‘Hey, I did this thing and it was a game changer,’ so that’s what we’re just trying to come back to again and again.”