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ivoh weekly digest, Sept. 18
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A story featuring this mother & daughter recently appeared in The Optimist, a Washington Post newsletter. Photo taken by Bill O’Leary & used with permission.


New Washington Post newsletter delivers optimism to readers' inboxes


By: Mike Wallberg


A collection of stories that's part feel-good, part success-against-all-odds, The Optimist aims to find stories of hope and what the homepage dubs “pluck.”

“It’s an artisanal, made-with-love weekly mix that might bear some similarities to that of a show such as ‘CBS Sunday Morning,’” said David Beard, Optimist editor and the Post's director of digital content. “Our hope is that it offers a reflective, inspiring experience that will help readers consider new things and gear up for the week ahead.”

And yes, there is a permanent online home for the weekly stories, although both the email and Web access are available only to Post digital subscribers.

It’s been just over a week since the weekly newsletter made its debut, but already Beard is, well, optimistic.

“We published it for the first time [last] Sunday,” he told ivoh via email. “We were really excited to see how popular it was, with a very high open rate. And people went deep, from story to story. It may help that it appeared after a summer of unrelenting news from places like Ferguson, Gaza, and Ukraine.”

The Optimist is only the latest in a series of email newsletters to come out of Beard’s team. The curated collections are sourced from the thousands of stories filed weekly by Post staffers, and they cover everything from politics to sports to business to entertainment.

“We’re focusing topics with the customer in mind – saving them time by gathering the topics they expressed an interest in,” Beard wrote. “The hope here is that our readers will begin to rely on – and look forward to -- our topics, such as The Optimist. Is that optimistic?”

What sets The Optimist apart from its Post peers, and the deluge of gloom that so often defines newsworthiness in the wider media landscape, is its focus on the good that people are committing in the world.

“Day to day, the bad news often seems to dominate," Beard said. "But we’ve got plenty of hopeful, ambitious, look-ahead-to-the-future stories."

Click here to read the full story on ivoh.org.


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