Sunday, October 7, 2018
Why can't the newspaper have more positive stories on the front page? All you ever print is negative stuff. These are comments that I hear on a pretty regular basis. I welcome those comments because it allows me the opportunity to show those folks that every day we overwhelmingly publish many more positive items than negative ones.
I did a little unscientific research and looked at every front page for the month of September 2018. I found some pretty interesting things in regard to our coverage. In September, we published 124 local stories on the front pages. Of those stories, 70 of them were "positive." Now I did not count national or state stories, only stories written by Sentinel-Record reporters about topics in Hot Springs and Garland County. In regards to the number of "positive" stories, I did not count crime stories or any neutral stories, such as stories about removing the mall as a polling location. I only counted stories that had a positive focus and feel good content.
I also surveyed front-page photographs. We published exactly 100 local photographs on the front page in September. Out of the 100 front-page photographs, 70 of them featured positive things happening in our community.
All tolled in September, 56 percent of all the front-page, local stories were "positive" and 71 percent of all the front-page, local photographs were "positive." So more than half of all our stories had a "positive" focus and almost three-fourths of all photos were "positive."
I feel September is pretty indicative of our normal coverage of the community. So if you pull back and look at it objectively, then we do publish more "positive" items on our front page.
My research only centered on the front pages in September, but when you look at our entire product, we are overwhelmingly a positive news source.
Case in point, the Opinion page. Daily there are editorials and letters to the editor about Garland County coming together as a community to make things better, positive. On this page, the community is encouraged to give their opinion about what is right and wrong in our area and express their ideas on how to improve where we live.
The Lifestyles pages feature advice columns from Dear Abby, along with a list of Civic Clubs, Support Groups, Thrift Stores and other free to the community seminars and events. There is also usually a photograph from some charity or civic event that highlights the great things happening in our community.
Our Arts page talks about local concerts, poetry readings, dances and other artistic endeavors that are going on. Hot Springs is very blessed to have a variety of artists and musicians and The Sentinel-Record does its best to highlight them on these pages.
Sports pages are stories and photos about local kids winning or losing, but they are all trying their best. Our sports pages are one of the most positive aspects of our newspaper on a daily basis. It shows us all that the youths of our community are dedicated, competitive and resilient. These are three very positive traits.
The Classified pages are all about helping people find employment is certainly a positive thing. Also allowing people to buy and sell items helps keep our economy going in a good direction and that is a positive for us all.
The Comics page brings humor and laughter to our readers. These are very good and positive things, and this page strives to give our readers that every day.
I haven't even mentioned the ads that run throughout our newspaper. These are some of the most positive and uplifting items in our newspaper. We help connect our business community with the public. Our advertisers solve our reader's problems and meet their needs each day. Stimulating local commerce is not only a positive thing but also a vital necessity for our community.
So I think by taking the time to look at what we publish, we can all agree that we print overwhelmingly positive stories. I would dare say that we average 95 percent positive material in our newspaper each and every day. So the next time you think we are publishing too many negative items, take a second and look at the overall product that we deliver to our 25,000 readers each day. I think you will see that we bring a truly positive experience to our readers each and every day.
Also, I would like to ask, who else in our community invested resources to write 70 positive stories about Garland County in September? I can positively answer that question. No one.Editorial on 10/07/2018
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