Monday, July 07, 2008

Cool Site - Ode Magazine

For those of us who get burned out on all the negative news in the mainstream media, there are other options. One source of more uplifting news is Great News Network.

But for a little more in-depth news, I have become a fan of Ode Magazine (they do a print issue, but many articles are free online). Here is their story:
Ode is a print and online publication about positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better.

Ode was founded in the spring of 1995 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands by Jurriaan Kamp and Helene de Puy. Kamp, a former editor and correspondent with the leading Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, and de Puy wanted to create an alternative to mainstream publications, a magazine that was open to new inspirations and new visions from around the world. The cover of the first issue - a close-up image of a radiant woman laughing out loud - captured the joy and spontaneity they wanted Ode to embody.

For the first nine years of its existence, Ode was published in Dutch. But in the summer of 2004 Kamp and de Puy, who are partners in marriage as well as in publishing, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to launch the English-language edition of the magazine. Ode now appears ten times a year in both English and Dutch, with a worldwide circulation of more than 100,000. Over the past 12 years, Ode has helped make the 'alternative' media space more mainstream. The magazine profiled people like clown-doctor Patch Adams, guru Deepak Chopra and Dr. Andrew Weil long before more conventional publications made them household names.

During this time, Ode also built a community of readers who are passionate about the magazine and the issues for which it stands: positive social, environmental and economic change. Because these readers have a lot to say for themselves - and to each other- Ode created a new website that allows them to communicate, socialize and contribute to Ode.'s mix of print and online journalism with user-generated content and social networking makes it unique on the Web.

In print and online, Ode's aim is to bring a new reality into view, to explore opportunities for positive change in our daily lives and our daily minds.

Guidelines for the submission of story ideas to Ode

They have an RSS feed, and an eclectic collection of reader's blogs.

Here is one recent story, from Who would want to be a refugee?

more photos

Lobsang Lungtok (pictured right), 12, crossed the snow-covered mountaintops of the Himalayas with his parents to escape Tibet, where the Chinese persecute Buddhists. He now lives in a monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Lobsang is his monastic name; his family name cannot be retrieved by the Chinese authorities.

“If I think back to my flight to Nepal, three years ago, I still feel scared. There was snow everywhere in the mountains so you couldn’t see the paths. If we weren’t careful, we would have easily fallen into a crevasse. So my parents had two yaks—long-haired Tibetan buffalo—walk in front because they can smell the mountain paths through the snow. We survived the trip by walking in the footprints of the yaks.

“I’ve never been as cold as I was during that trip. I was wearing a yak fur coat and shoes lined with wool, but it didn’t help. The three people who escaped with us got frostbite on their toes and fingers, turning them completely black. My father said I shouldn’t look but I couldn’t help it. I’ll never forget that colour.

“It took six days to reach the border with Nepal, where my mother hid me under the seat of a bus that was going to Kathmandu. She said I had to be quiet until I heard my aunt’s voice calling my name. She was to pick me up in Kathmandu and hide me in a Tibetan monastery. Then my parents gave me a big kiss. It was the last time I saw them. They went back to Tibet because, they explained, they would never find work or a residency permit in Nepal. But I never really fully understood.

“I haven’t seen my parents for three years. I miss them terribly. Still, I’m glad I’m living in Nepal and not in Tibet. Now I can go to school every day and my dream is coming true: I’m a real Tibetan monk. I’m very happy here.”

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