May 2, 2011

Misconceptions about the Press-Republican

Everyone has their pet peeves at work. Over the years, I have heard a few generalizations about the Press-Republican that are frustrating.

Thought I would share them.

"It would be nice if you wrote something positive in the paper instead of all that bad news."

We do report plenty of "bad" news; we can't ignore arrests, fires, fatal car accidents, budget clashes, etc.

A few weeks ago, we had a streak of sex-abuse arrests and sentencings to cover. They seemed to come up one after another. We are just as disgusted as anyone with people convicted of sex crimes, especially those involving children, but reporting on crimes and other unsettling local developments is part of what a newspaper does.

But our pages are filled with good news, too. During that same time, we had stories on students who excelled in a state science competition; people coming to the aid of a dog that was hit by a car; separate articles about locals stepping up to help the people in Japan, a local food pantry, U.S. soldiers overseas and AIDS victims; and a feature on an area restaurant that was being featured on a national TV show. A number of those appeared on Page A1.

The Press-Republican also still runs reader-submitted news — such as students making the dean's lists at their colleges — in our Students, In the Service and Newsmakers columns, something many newspapers have eliminated due to space constraints.

"Good news" that happens in our communities is important, too, and we make sure it gets good coverage and prominent position.

"You put that in just to sell newspapers."

One time, a guy called up to give us a hard time because his felony DWI arrest was in the Police Log. He said, as many people have over the years: "You sensationalize things just to sell newspapers."

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