EDITOR’S DESK: Get yer red hot good news!
When I bring new Pioneers around to places, the question I probably get asked the most is whether the issue has any “good news.”
Any good news? I'd like to think we hold a patent on the subject. That's one of the reasons I never really liked working at daily newspapers. The precept there is that bad news sells, and worse news sells even better. It even applies to reporters. The bigger the disaster, the bigger the chance of a big, fat writing award. So there you have your typical daily newsroom - filled with a bunch of editors and reporters yearing for misfortune... which may be a slight exaggeration, but I definitely believe people prefer to read about good news. They like picking up a paper that's not going to scare them to death or make them feel guilty about things they've always done (like drive a car, drink coffee or, in some cases, breathe).
This doesn't mean that hard questions shouldn't get asked about issues that affect our everyday lives. What's the point in a namby-pamby publication that avoids controversy just to sell ads? An example with our paper is the city's decision not to require a raised median on 21st Street south of Broadway. The issue had never come up at a city meeting. City Traffic engineers, following what they believed was sound, safe policy, had huddled with a few 21st Street business people and, having heard no cries of mortal outrage, was just going to quietly make it so. But when this paper reported on their plans, that put the idea out in the light a little more. Other businesses stepped up, telling the city they didn't like a design that would require u-turns to get in or out of almost every store. In fairness, the big reason the city reversed its position may have been opposition from Gold Hill Mesa, which is paying for the work. But I felt like our paper at least did its job, getting the word out - not trying to embarrass the city or make accusations (because in truth everyone I know over there is trying hard). The point is that the whole effort was, yes, to have good news to report about 21st Street. And by golly, it worked.