“Would you like World´s Best News and some chocolate?” is an offer that not many could refuse, when thousands of volunteers approached commuters on their way to work on a rainy Friday morning in Copenhagen.
A coalition of NGOs, the UN and the Danish development agencies have taken to the streets annually in September in the so-called “World´s Best News” initiative, now in its thirteenth year. The “World’s Best News” is an independent news organisation for constructive journalism and campaigns, and once a year they produce a printed newspaper, handed out to Danish citizens by enthusiastic volunteers.
Sometimes the smiling volunteers had to shout their irresistible offer to drown out lively dance music blasted from soundboxes on street-corners, and more than one of them couldn´t resist making a few dance moves.
The young volunteers providing the music are perhaps too young for “Beatlemania”, but if the Beatles´ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band would have been blasted from the speakers, the news that John Lennon heard in his “A Day in the Life” would not have been about “4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire”, but about a world that is “getting better all the time”.
Needless to say, some of those that received the newspaper were surprised because these days pieces of good news are few and far between.
“Good news and some chocolate, that´s something I can use. Perhaps this is the world´s best morning”, quipped one cyclist.
A record number of volunteers, or 2,600, took part in the campaign this time and handed over the four-pager in 344 places all over Denmark.
Among the volunteers dressed in the trade-mark white and orange “Best News” t-shirts, were members of the almost 90 NGOs that participate in the initiative, UN staff members, foreign diplomats, businesspeople and politicians.
150,000 copies were distributed by hand to commuters on street corners, in metro and train stations. Another 100,000 reach readers as a supplement to 14 different regional newspapers.
This time the focus was on Sustainable Development Goal or Global Goal #16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.
“We have to bear in mind that peace is not only the absence of war,” says Thomas Ravn-Pedersen, Editor-in-Chief of World´s Best News. “Global Goal 16 is about all that is needed to create peace and about how our societies should be reconstructed in many other ways than preventing war. This is what you can read about in World´s Best News.”
The headlines of the newspaper´s articles speak for themselves: “No future without peace”, “More countries abandon violence against children”, “Countries drop the death penalty,” “Fewer victims of terrorism”, “Half of the world´s mine-plagued landmines are now mine-free.”
If Sgt. Pepper´s was more danceable, the young volunteers might have blasted “It’s getting better all the time,” which would have rhymed quite well with the message of the day.
However, on this rainy Copenhagen morning, some cyclists would have settled for the next song on the album “I am fixing a hole where the rain gets in.”
The World in numbers:
of all nuclear weapons have been eliminated since 1987
Unexploded cluster bombs were cleared in 2020.
UN Peacekeeping operations in the world from 1948 to 2019
Decrease in the global murder rate 1990-2019.
Source: World´s Best News 9 September 2022