It’s challenging to choose what’s “most important” to a community.
You can gauge it by the number of clicks on a Facebook post or the feedback received through phone calls or the amount of papers sold during a particular week. But what it really comes down to is what personally affected our readers, and that’s subjective. The person whose roof caved in during the May microburst storm is likely to think that’s the most important story of the year, while a city employee who happened to be out of town when the storm hit might think the municipal government changes had the most impact in 2017.
It’s all subjective, and we at The Sealy News don’t pretend to be clairvoyant. Nor do we wish to tell you what we think should matter to you. But I can definitely tell you that since the beginning of time (well, since the beginning of journalism) people have complained that “the news” only carries stories of death and destruction. But guess what? The most-read stories are true crime, scandals, car accidents and fires.
I’m almost positive that the most popular story we posted this year was the I-10 suicide that occurred just a couple of weeks ago. Why? Not because our readers delight in tragedy. Because it’s unusual. Human behavior is fascinating. We’re naturally curious and we want to know why this person would do such a thing. I’ve had more than one person tell me they subscribe to a local newspaper just for the obits. My mother, on the other hand, might be the exception to the rule. She was thrilled when I came to work for The Sealy News because it has a weekly crossword puzzle.
We live in a world with a 24-hour news cycle. There is a person – possibly an entire team – at TMZ devoted to breaking the news when Khloe Kardashian reveals her baby bump. Of course that’s not “real” news – but yet there are people who read it.
Contrary to popular belief, those of us old news hounds who have been around for a long time actually do love telling the feel-good stories of the 100-year-old grandmother, the Eagle Scout and the first baby of the year. Trust me, I’ve covered lethal injections and high school graduations where there’s several empty seats because a bunch of teens died in a car accident just days prior. That’s not fun for anyone. And contrary to popular belief, we don’t get some weird adrenaline rush from covering something morbid. We have feelings, too, and we’re crying alongside you during those tender moments.
The problem with the feel-good stories is that we don’t always know about them. An octogenarian training for a marathon or kid who takes up a collection for his friend who’s in the hospital might not seem “newsworthy” but we absolutely want to know about those things.
We need your help, Sealy. Send us your stories. Send us your pictures. We want to tell the stories that you want to read. We want you to clip out the front page and put it on your refrigerator. We can’t do it alone.
Join us in making 2018 a great year for Sealy, and let’s get started sharing those stories.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.