by Kelly Hawes
Every once in a while, I get an envelope containing a marked-up copy of the front page.
I’m pretty sure they come from the same person, but I can’t be certain because the person never signs his or her name.
Last week, I got an envelope containing two front pages. One contained four crime stories. The second had several stories about things the reader saw as positive developments in the community.
On the first page, the reader had written the word “crap” with arrows pointing to all four stories. The second page contained a simple note, “Why can’t we get more front pages like this?”
Actually, we produce lots of front pages filled with good news.
A week ago today, the story at the top of our front page was about 6-year-old Aspen Cozzello, who sold lemonade to raise money for a friend fighting terminal cancer. The next day, we had a report on a fundraiser called “Dancing With Our Stars,” which raised $44,000 to support efforts by Logan’s Landing to transform downtown Logansport into an arts and design district.
The day after that, we had a story about Morgan Mills, a 2007 graduate of Logansport High School who raised $11,000 for the Indiana chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. That same page had a banner headline about a new contract for workers at MW Industries.
Wednesday’s edition brought more good news. A city council committee was looking at tax abatement for an expansion aimed at bringing nine new jobs to Tube Fabrication Industries Inc., while participants in the 21st annual Great Grown-up Spelling Bee raised about $2,000 for Literacy Volunteers of Cass County and the town of Flora won a $500,000 grant for a wastewater project.
Thursday’s edition featured stories about two firemen being recognized for saving the life of a baby and about the local adult education program offering General Education Development classes online. A third front-page story reported that consultants were starting work to identify local hazardous waste sites in need of cleanup.
Then came Friday’s edition with news that the city had won a $50,000 grant from Walmart to fight hunger and news that Logansport native Dale Clear would be onstage at McHale Performing Arts Center for Saturday night’s concert featuring rising country music star Craig Campbell. That front page also featured the last of this year’s Good Neighbors award winners.
I won’t claim that every week is like that.
Some weeks we have lots of crime stories on the front page, and every once in a while, we’ll have an entire front page filled with nothing but bad news.
We don’t plan it that way. We go out looking for stories, and now and then, all of the stories we find are uplifting. Other days, they’re not.
Our goal every day is to provide the most comprehensive report we can assemble about what is happening in Logansport and the surrounding area.
We think our readers want to know about the good things their neighbors are doing, but we also think they want to know when a neighbor winds up on the wrong side of the law.
Candidly, we also know that bad news sells.
We post stories on our web page and on Facebook and Twitter nearly every day of the week, and we know from watching the traffic that more readers are drawn to those bad news stories than are drawn to an uplifting story we splash across the top of the front page.
Bad news sells.
Still, we don’t go out trying to dig up more bad news. Crimes happen, and we report them. Good deeds happen, and we report those, too.
We hope that most of our readers get the news they’re searching for in each day’s edition. If you have feedback on how we’re doing, don’t hesitate to let me know.
• Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.