Photo by Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock / Getty Images

The Good News Experiment is an initiative to recognize neighborhood innovators with feature stories that are publicly distributed through blog, social media and traditional media formats. The first honoree was announced in December 2017.

“While news stories have always featured tragedies, violence and other unsettling content in order to inform the public, a typical news cycle today might leave us feeling as though news is even more unsettling and overwhelming than in any other moment in our lifetimes — regardless of our political affiliations,” said Andrea Cale, creator of The Good News Experiment and author of the novel The Corn Husk Experiment. “I often hear friends say they are occasionally tempted to choose silence over a favorite radio program or a sitcom over a typical viewing of the nightly news. Our new initiative is designed to uplift and inspire through these emotionally-charged times with the simple act of sharing real stories about neighborhood innovators; the helpers.”

The Good News Experiment is being launched through Cale’s partnership with Monalisa Smith, Founder and President of Mothers for Justice and Equality in Boston. Prior to their present positions, the women sat back-to-back in a public affairs department of a large bank in Boston. Smith, who had a background in lending, and Cale, who had a background in journalism, had frequently collaborated to share bank news ranging from community reinvestment grants to loans for community development.

Cale stepped out of her public affairs post in 2008 as she became a mother and started working on her first novel. The pair had lost touch until Cale heard her former colleague’s voice on the radio as Smith spoke about the loss of her nephew to street violence in Boston in 2010 and her creation of Mothers for Justice and Equality.

“I kept her unexpected story and her new work in my thoughts,” said Cale. “I think there is an urgency for us to partner once again.”

As part of the partnership, Smith will leverage her knowledge of community work to gather ideas about potential honorees across a range of service areas. In turn, Cale will leverage her background in journalism to write and share the feature-style stories on neighborhood innovators. They will begin recognizing innovators in their home state of Massachusetts, but they welcome nominations from throughout the country, Cale said.

“This initiative helps unite us by starting from the most basic place,” said Smith. “The vast majority of us don’t want harm. We don’t want our loved ones harmed. We don’t want neighbors harmed — no matter whether they share the same political views, look like us or have a different lifestyle than we do. The Good News Experiment is an effort to start right there, emphasize our likeness — no matter how basic — and inspire one another with gestures of compassion.”

The Good News Experiment stories emphasize our likeness and connections to one another, a message similar to a theme of Cale’s novel, The Corn Husk Experiment, which will be released in May 2018. To nominate an individual or group for The Good News Experiment's neighborhood innovator recognition, please send ideas to Cale and Smith via For more information on Mothers for Justice and Equality, please visit Cale features The Good News Experiment stories on this site's blog and on her social media pages. News coverage of The Good News Experiment and its honorees can be found on the press page.