Italian Rotarian spreads good news
A playful young girl outside of the Saga feeding center in Niamey, Niger. Italian Rotarian Sergio Tripi launched the Good News Agency to spread more cheerful news like this, to 54 countries, 10,000 journalists, and 20,000 Rotarians. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
Pick up a newspaper or go online and you’ll find plenty to be depressed about – economic woes, terrorism, natural disasters. That’s why Sergio Tripi, a member of the Rotary Club of Roma Eur, Italy, launched a service to spread more cheerful news.
“If people only hear the bad side of the story, then they – particularly the youth – will become depressed and discouraged and won’t be willing to fight for a better future,” Tripi says.
The Good News Agency ’s weekly newsletter (published in English, Italian, and Portuguese) goes out to 54 countries, reaching 10,000 journalists, 3,000 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), more than 20,000 Rotarians, and students in 1,600 schools.
Among the 50 to 60 items featured each week, Tripi usually includes several mentions of Rotary projects. Stories also come from other NGOs and United Nations agencies (the Good News Agency is associated with the UN Department of Public Information), as well as from Tripi and his team of volunteer reporters.
Tripi, retired CEO of American Express Financial Services in Italy and a past Italian representative to the UN-mandated University for Peace, launched the Good News Agency in 2000 as an extension of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity he founded. After finding success in reaching nonprofits and members of the media, he began to focus on schools, with the help of Rotarians who make presentations to school principals. In recent years, several clubs have also introduced essay contests to tie in with the project.
Antonio Muñoz, a member of the Rotary Club of Hermosillo Pitic, Mexico, is the principal at a school where students read the newsletter in their English classes. “The environment that surrounds our students is often violent and in some ways influences their perception of reality, making them immune to good news,” says English coordinator Pamela Cañez Carrasco. “I see the Good News Agency as an excellent opportunity to show them the lighter and healthier side of life, and that violence, ignorance, and corruption are not the natural state of man.”
Tripi says the newsletter has maintained the media’s interest. “The most interesting thing is that when a journalist or media expert who had received the Good News newsletter for a number of months or years in silence changed their place of work, they rushed to send us their new mailing address. The reaction around the world to this initiative is remarkable.”