First person to create a Snapchat story inside The White House. Professional at sixteen. Good News Storyteller. Find the good, tell the people.
These are just a few ways of describing the positive power that is Branden Harvey, a twenty-something-year-old from the Northwest on a mission to find the good in the world and tell it to anyone who will listen. There are plenty of devastating facts and statistics that have their place and often inspire people to action, but what effect, Harvey wondered, will the good news have?
In an interview by Isabel Thottam of Moment, Harvey begged the question, “What if we just didn’t say bad things? What if we went out and created things in the world that are only filled with good?”
This talented, driven professional has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry: Disney, Skype, Paramount, Sony and more. He learned from some of the greatest photographers and turned this passion into his main source of income.
But somewhere along the way, passion started to fade. He realized what was missing when he discovered his desire to be a storyteller. Through a podcast, weekly newsletter, Instagram, Snapchat and global travel, Harvey is accomplishing what he set out to do: find the good, tell the people.
Harvey’s travel has taken him to Africa several times, and here he has worked with a non-profit called These Numbers Have Faces. This organization believes “educated, empowered, and community driven young people are the best vehicles for social change.” They pay for the brightest students of Africa to attend university on the condition that they will stay on the continent after receiving their education.
Harvey told Mashable in an interview that he is thankful for the CEO of These Numbers Have Faces, Justin Zoradi, because “he doesn’t see Africa as full of problems, but full of potential.”
Harvey’s desire to find potential instead of problems is manifested in his weekly newsletter. He works to deliver five relevant pieces of news in the midst of seemingly hopeless situations such as natural disasters and this presidential election.
Tapping even further into his storyteller roots, “Sounds Good with Branden Harvey” is a weekly podcast where Harvey sits down with some of the happiest people in the world to discover “what makes them tick” and where they find the good amongst the bad.
Harvey recently interviewed award-winning Australian photographer Nirrimi Firebrace, conversing about what it means to remain honest while searching for the positive. Firebrace explained that vulnerability in her work has been met with a lot of hate. The good news, though, is that the people who appreciate her genuineness only lean in closer to keep hearing the narratives she has to tell.
In writing his own narrative and traveling to Rwanda, Uganda, the Philippines and beyond, Harvey has seen plenty of the bad. He told Moment when discussing the people he met who had been pushed into crime and women who had lost their children, “these are all terrible situations, yet I see good come from them. Good comes from people who rise out of poverty.”
Harvey connects with the people he meets in these countries by learning their language, pulling out his phone before his camera and only going where he is invited. All of these together allow him to connect with the people he meets and tell their stories from an honest and engaging perspective. He says, “I won’t share a photo if I don’t know their name because I’d be taking from them without knowing anything about them. It’s about adding value.”
Harvey urges those with an eye for the good news to share what they see with others. People are searching for it, explicitly or not, and if we focus on the good, consider how much more there could be. “For the people who can see that, pay attention and share that in a way that feels creative and compelling to you.”
Branden Harvey is working hard to find what is good and shout it from the rooftops. And some of the best news? The world is listening.
– Rebecca Causey