The Power Of Positive News
How Sooni Shroff-Gander, editor-in-chief of Happy Ali News, is #ChangingTheNatureOfWork
Please tell us a little about yourself and your company’s story
Happy Ali is a global news website dedicated to the power of positive news. It was founded as an antidote to the storm of negativity thrust on us daily by mainstream media. Together with my co-editor-in-chief, Robyn Foyster, we want to fill our readers with joy! Our global editorial teams provide quality independent journalism with a focus on inspiring, life-affirming news and features everyday – needed at this time in history more than ever, don’t you think?
What does the phrase “changing the nature of work” mean to you?
Work trends emerging now, in this “Covid era”, have changed up the nature of work and previously accepted traditional models are now redundant in many cases. It questions whether WFH can continue for a better work-life balance. Happy Ali was founded by the visionary Arthur Koeman who brought together a team of international journalists from across the world — and until I was able to return to Hong Kong, I had only met him and the majority of them on Zoom calls.
What actions do your team take to incorporate sustainability into your business?
As we’re a purely digital enterprise, we’re actually pretty sustainable already. We also prominently feature a section on sustainability within the newspaper and have published many features that range from eco-consciousness and sustainable solutions in the fashion industry to eco-warriors with both big brand names and individuals. There is a definite shift in consciousness towards sustainability that we champion.
What are some of the more challenging aspects of your business?
At Happy Ali we are trying to demolish the lie that good news is not news and we want to disown the “if it bleeds it leads” media model of clickbait. However, we’re fighting against the belief that news without the negative spin, without bias, without cultivating outrage is not news. The biggest challenge is getting people to understand that the world is filled with good news, with positive news, with uplifting news — and they can read it all on Happy Ali everyday!
Which business leader do you most admire and why?
The answer changes according to what I’m most into at the time. And for now, that person is Reshma Saujani, founder of international nonprofit Girls Who Code. She initiates young women into the tech world working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. An author of three books, she started Girls Who Code to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. As we’re a digital publication, this is close to my heart.
In your opinion, what makes Hong Kong a great place to live and work?
In a word: flexibility. Hong Kong offers everything from breathtakingly kitted-out international offices to exquisite shared workspaces like Banyan Workspace. You can be stuck working in the city all morning and yet hike in nature in the afternoon as it is on your doorstep. You can grab wonton noodles and eat at your desk while meeting deadlines, or head out to the many incredible dining outlets for a full on executive meal. The city keeps reinventing itself and its energy is palpable even in these times.
Having survived 2020, can you share something that you learned from the experience?
The importance of health. The importance of kindness. The importance of pivoting. We’ve all learned that in the face of adversity we can adapt, we can be flexible, we can be resilient. Personally, I have loved being able to work from home, to have real downtime and to spend hours with nature. The need to socialise has been curbed and family time is more important. This is, of course, all from a position of great privilege — others have lost family and friends to Covid, as well as jobs, and their suffering cannot be taken lightly.
What excites you about your business in 2021 and beyond?
More than ever, the world needs happy news — and we’re providing it! We’re not denying the fact that bad things happen. Of course they do. But traditional media’s focus on negative news impacts on mental health. Happy Ali wasn’t launched because of Covid-19 but the pandemic has definitely shown us that we need to stop feeding on the bad. It is for everyone who is distressed by the daily serving of disheartening news – we need the good news to outweigh the bad.
Can you share with us one of your favourite quotes? Why does it resonate with you?
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony,” Mahatma Gandhi.
His words reflect not only the three basic tenets of my Zoroastrian religion — good thoughts, good words, good deeds — but also embody the power of positive thinking. It resonates because it is true and simple: when our thoughts, words and actions are not in alignment, we lack integrity, and this is manifested both to ourselves and to others. When the three are in harmony, happiness, balance and the universe flow together.
What help or support are you looking for and how can our network get in touch with you?
We are always looking for quality writers and journalists who want to publish work that is uplifting, joyful and positive. Anyone who is interested can contact me by email : firstname.lastname@example.org