“If it bleeds, it leads” has long been the rule in tabloid journalism, meaning that sensational stories (such as murders) are promoted on the front page. “If it succeeds, it leads” (highlighting positive stories) has been proposed as an alternative.
“If it succeeds, it leads” was written by New York (NY) Times columnist William Safire on September 8, 2003. “Re-balance editorial approach ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ more toward ‘if it succeeds, it leads’” was cited on Twitter on May 19, 2011. The concept was popularized in The Huffington Post on June 19, 2015, with Seán Dagan Wood’s blog post, “‘If It Succeeds, It Leads’: Why the News Is Changing for Good.”
New York (NY) Times
By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Published: September 8, 2003
Failure may boast a thousand fashionable fathers in this summer of discontent, but for us realistic optimists—if it succeeds, it leads.
Story, Spirit, Seed
TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 2010
If it feeds, seeds or succeeds, it leads
Challenge to the media:
For one day, one week, one month, I dare you to change your formula. The old one: If it bleeds it leads does nothing to uplift, to teach, to heal or encourage.
And its not even “the truth.” I mean, sure there is darkness; but the truth is: There is also light.
I dare you to focus on the light.
I dare you to change the formula for one day, one week, one month to: It only leads if it feeds, seeds or succeeds.
David N. Peck
News media leadership 1 of 8: Re-balance editorial approach “if it bleeds, it leads,” more toward “if it succeeds, it leads.”
11:29 AM - 19 May 2011
Lemonade without the Lemons: New Search Engine Looks for Uplifting News
Semantic search technology aimed at a positive slant advances with a system that can spot optimism in news articles
By Daniel Stone | June 16, 2011
Good news, if you haven’t noticed, has always been a rare commodity. We all have our ways of coping, but the media’s pessimistic proclivity presented a serious problem for Jurriaan Kamp, editor of the San Francisco-based Ode magazine—a must-read for “intelligent optimists"—who was in dire need of an editorial pick-me-up, last year in particular. His bright idea: an algorithm that can sense the tone of daily news and separate the uplifting stories from the Debbie Downers.
Gone, too, could be the journalism axiom of “if it bleeds, it leads”. If Ode has its way, solution-based news could become the hot new thing for the overwhelmed and dispirited. Imagine a new newsroom mantra: if it succeeds, it leads.
“If it succeeds, it leads.” Congrats @WXYZdetroit on a year of positive news stories with @Detroit2020: http://detroit2020.com
9:20 PM - 27 Dec 2011
Hey,TV News Directors, Producers & Advertisers instead of “If it Bleeds it Leads” why not “If it SUCCEEDS it LEADS”? It might actually work!
9:13 PM - 29 Sep 2012
Good summary of the @dnbornstein solutions approach: “if it succeeds it leads” instead of “if it bleeds it leads” #infoneeds @knightfdn
10:37 AM - 18 Feb 2014
The Huffington Post
Seán Dagan Wood (Editor-in-chief of Positive News, co-founder of the Constructive Journalism Project)
‘If It Succeeds, It Leads’: Why the News Is Changing for Good
Posted: 06/19/2015 3:33 pm EDT Updated: 06/19/2015 8:59 pm EDT
Bad news does sell. This is partly because stories that shock and provoke fear grab us - according to a study published by the Journal of Communication - by triggering our hardwired survival response.
But there is another, less stress-inducing way that we can also grab audience attention. The business school at the University of Pennsylvania has found that articles most likely to go viral are those that evoke strong positive emotions, particularly a sense of awe.
In addition, research from the University of Texas found that people feel more engaged in an article about a problem when it also contains information about a potential solution - and are more likely to share these stories online. With social media increasingly driving traffic for news websites, then perhaps the old saying “if it bleeds, it leads” might one day give way to “if it succeeds, it leads”.
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Saturday, June 20, 2015 • Permalink