2012: The Year in Heroism


Every year, as we approach its end, many of the bigger news media outlets typically have retrospective reviews of news highlights from the year with titles like “2012: A Year to Remember” (or something of that sort).

Usually, as reported by the bigger news entities, a significant portion of these reviews are inevitably negative: natural disasters, accidents, shootings, scandals and what not.   If you follow the news regularly, then you already know about most of these events.  Do you really need to hear or read about them again?

If it’s not negative news, it’s arguably trifle news.  In Yahoo!’s 2012 Year in Review, the “Top 10 Obsessions of 2012,” as ranked by search volume, include iPhone 5, the lottery,  50 Shades of Grey, the boy band One Direction and Gangnam Style.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pop culture and my own blog is, after all, partly about it, but I hope I may be excused if I don’t find our Top 10 Obsessions particularly inspiring.

Granted, the purpose of news is to inform, not to inspire.  But is this all that’s really going on out there?  Certainly not.  In our fixation with spectacle, we constantly miss out on all the wonderful and amazing things happening out there that slip under the radar of mainstream news.

May I therefore humbly suggest you join me in an alternative review of 2012?  Let’s look at some of the good stuff that happened, good and important things that, not only famous people, but regular people like you and me did. They are our real-life superheroes, with or without costume.

I’ll introduce a number of websites whose focus is on providing positive news  both big and small.  And, for each site, I’ll cite a few stories that personally touched me (though if you browse through the sites yourself you’ll find many others to touch you as well).

Sound good? I present to you, then, 2012: The Year in Heroism.



The Huffington Post has a section called “Good News,” and it’s just that: good news.  The best thing about it, other than the good news itself, is the way the posts are organized.  They’re categorized by self-exlanatory headings like “Feel Good,” “Do Good,” and “Awww.”  Little markers tell you which social network the story is hot on at the moment, and most of the posts are very short, quick reads allowing for instant mood pick-me-ups to counter the effects of the more depressing news stories.

The Most Inspiring Stories of the Year

21 Moments From 2012 That Will Give You Hope

Walmart Secret Santa Pays Family’s $211 Bill

Cops Volunteer to Give Newton Police Day Off on Xmas

Pay-It-Forward Chain in Winnipeg Lasts for 3 Hours




People magazine, with its devotional attention to celebrity news and gossip, may be borderline tabloid but they do devote an entire section of their website to stories of people doing good called Heroes Among Us, thus recognizing people’s need to feel better about their world as well as obsess about celebrities’ lives.

High School Football Star Protects Bullied Student With Special Needs

Woman Quits Job to Grow Organic Produce for the Hungry

Former Prostitute Provides Haven for Troubled Teenage Girls

Town Doctor Charges $5 a Visit

Animal Lover Rescues Thousands of Puppy Mill Dogs



PositiveNews.org reports positive news which generally tends to be of a larger social and political scale.  It’s somewhat also more heavy in UK or European news which is understandable given that the organization is based in the UK.

U.N. Calls for Happiness-Based Economy

UK to Halve Carbon Emissions by 2025

Thousands Now Fed by Community Farming Schemes

Sustainable Bank Takes Over New York Stock Exchange Billboard

Holistic Educational Program Goes Mainstream




DailyGood.org provides news stories collected from other sources together with practical, how-to type articles geared towards self-help.   What I like about this site is that they provide capsule summaries of the articles and a link where, if you’re interested, you can read the full story at its original source.

The Poorest & Most Generous President in the World

NY Woman Writes Love Letters to Strangers

Successful Producer Quits Hollywood for True Calling

The Burrito Man Who Changed Lives

Dying Teen’s Bucket List Goes Viral




The last site is actually not a site but a Twitter page whose stated goal is to scope the Web to find inspiring news every single day.  And that it does, often from some of the same sites mentioned above. The following are some stories I found while receiving this Twitter user’s frequent updates.

7 of the Season’s Most Incredible Stories of Generosity

Santa Uses Sign Language to Talk to Boy

Knitting Group Makes Stuffed Animals for Every Student at Sandy Hook

Grandmother in Need Teachers Her Girls the Value of Giving

Meet the Guy Who Just Might Solve Homelessness With His Twitter Account



About The Pop Mythologist

The Pop Mythologist
The Pop Mythologist is the founder and editor of PopMythology.com. He has been a staff writer for the nationally distributed magazine KoreAm , the online journal of pop culture criticism Pop Matters and has written freelance for various other publications and websites.


  1. Refreshing review. I regularly check Huff Po, but never noticed the Good News section. I'm totally going to go there when I need an "awwww" moment. 🙂

  2. We definitely need more good news! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hi, Sam, thanks for stopping by! I just checked out your blog. You're a freelance game journalist, that's cool. And you just wrote a piece for 'PC Gamer'? That's awesome! It's a great magazine.

  3. There are some really beautiful stories here. Thanks for posting.

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