Not all news of 2012 was bad news
We have turned the page on 2012 and on Monday we gave our Top 10 stories of the year. You may have noted that there was not a lot of good news in that list. That is kind of the nature of this business.
However, 2012 was not void of a lot of “good” news and among The Recorder’s 3,875 stories published in the past year, there were scores of stories that I would definitely define as “good” news.
We often get accused of not printing good news. In fact, a Facebook comment the other day referred to that, even though on that very day we published what I consider to be our top “good” news story of the year — the little girl and her family who became friends with a Korean War and Vietnam War veteran. If that story did not bring a tear or a smile to your face, then you don’t have a lot of feelings because it did mine and I am fairly use to such stories.
People just don’t remember the “good” news stories. In this modern, social media, world we live in, we can track what stories get the most attention on our website and on Facebook and I can tell you, it is not the “good” news stories. Week in and week out, eight or more of the most read stories are crime or traffic accidents. While the story on the vet was read closely, it was not the top read story of the week on our website. The most read stories that week, a man arrested following an accidental shooting and a mother arrested after her baby was found to have ingested marijuana.
Now, on Facebook, the vet story was the second most viewed, right behind the historical photo of the Barn Theater.
The vet story was not our only “good” news story of the year. Esther Avila also had a great feature on a blind child who can sing, another child who speaks eight languages, we had the story of the dogs being flown out by plane to new homes in the Pacific Northwest, the surprise homecoming by a soldier, a feature on Kendall Collins who has overcome his handicap, a story on a Terra Bella school marking its 100th year, a story on a civic-minded couple — Boyd and Mary Leavitt, a story on Leap Day babies and a Porterville High grad who won two emmys. I could go on and on and I didn’t even mention our Veterans Day section.
Not all stories can be classified as good or bad. Throughout the year we would do weekend in-depth stories looking at different topics. Those topics varied from jury duty, airport future, Success Lake turning 50, childcare options in town, services available to veterans, the cost of being charged with driving under the influence and the status of city recreational facilities.
Those weekend packages are very time consuming, but allow us to take a deeper look at a topic and hopefully provide some useful information.
Of course, there are the everyday stories we must cover. We spend hours at meetings — Porterville and Lindsay city councils, Sierra View District Hospital board, Porterville Unified and Burton school board meetings. We also look to balance our coverage with stories about agriculture and the forest.
My point is 3,875 stories do not end up in your newspaper by accident. It takes a dedicated staff that first looks for the good in the community, but has to report on the bad as well.
Rick Elkins is editor of the Porterville Recorder. He can be reached at 784-5000, ext. 1040, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter.