Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Do as I say, not as I read

The day's mail included an envelope stuffed with articles clipped from "my" newspaper. The sender, who signed his name (a courtesy that I appreciate), clipped a dozen or more items reporting various crimes and unpleasant incidents: Shootings, thefts, murder, etc.

"If you printed the good news, you could save a lot of paper," he wrote.

The good news/bad news argument has been going on for ages. Personally, I believe that papers should carry "positive" and uplifting stories regularly -- at least to offset some of the necessary but "negative" news. Lest we all lose hope.

Do people read the good news? Some do. Well, at least they say they do. However, what are people actually reading? If our Internet readers are similar to those who read our ink-on-paper product (and we believe their tendencies are much the same) I can tell you, day in and day out, it is not the "good news."

For example, here are the headlines of the four stories that generated the most attention on our web site today:
  • Apple River woman dies in Galena accident
  • Dubuque police report 7 vehicle burglaries
  • Police Beat (arrests and incident reports)
  • Guttenberg police officer terminated
See any "good news" stories in there? What people say they want and what they read aren't necessarily the same.

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