When I was studying journalism, I was taught how to develop news sense and how to gather information, report, sub copies, sort stories and present them well. For me then being a journalist was all about writing well, getting newsy stories and specialising in different beats (sectors).
I was told that journalism is a powerful profession, where we have the authority to probe and question, and all that it takes to form a story is five Ws (what, who, where, when, why) and one H (how).
However, my whole perception of news, journalism and reporting changed from April 2016 onwards when I was asked to take up the role of Happiness and Positivity Editor at Khaleej Times. This new post was created after the UAE appointed its first Happiness Minister, becoming a country dedicated to happiness, giving out a message of positivity and hope to the world.
Realising the importance of the initiative and to cascade it to our readers, we put happiness on top of our agenda. And I realised that in carrying forward this enterprise of spreading happiness, I could be the catalyst for change. I could give people more reasons to look at our broadsheet, feel positive and have hope, which is what I now do. I report ‘good and happy news’ on a daily basis.
I aim to redefine the purpose of journalism by highlighting lesser heard stories of courage, optimism, determination, transformation and uplift. My stories aim to wake up people fed (up) with breaking news and add a new facet of ‘happiness’ to news. To make journalism meaningful and complete, I have added another H to my list: Happiness.
I focus on news that bring smiles to our readers’ faces, inspire and motivate them to bring cheer to the lives of others. Positive thoughts lead to positive emotions; positive news changes the moral compass of society.
My best stories have been of people who have gone through innumerable adversities, trials and tribulations and amid all the anger, violence and desperation, these tough souls always believed in a glimmer of hope, passion for dreams and magic of prayers.
Today’s 24/7 culture, with perpetual breaking news, screaming anchors, and shallow debates, lacks purpose and substance. But as the Happiness Editor I am trying to change this by not focusing on horror, but on the beautiful aspects of life.
I try to mingle the spirit of journalism with my pursuit of happiness, as the outcome is then stories that certainly illuminate our lives, reminding us to be grateful, happy, enjoy small moments and celebrate life.
I believe there is happiness all around. It’s time to accord it the kind of status journalism bestows on breaking news. My aim is to bring to readers’ stories that are imbued with positivity, inspiring the good side in all of us.
Saman Haziq is Happiness Editor of Khaleej Times