Column: New feature puts a spotlight on the positive news

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2001

It’s a question that pops up every once in a while here at your friendly neighborhood newspaper:&t;!–key=highlights–&t;.

Saturday, March 17, 2001

It’s a question that pops up every once in a while here at your friendly neighborhood newspaper:

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&uot;Why don’t you ever print the good stuff people do?&uot;

This question seems to come more often after we print things that are particularly bad – which we’ve done a little of lately. And it’s often those affected by the bad news who pose the question. It seems they dislike bad news more when the bad news is about them or someone they know. &uot;Why are you printing all these bad things?&uot; they say. &uot;Why don’t you print something good for a change?&uot;

Well, I’m going to start by saying I think the question is flawed, because we do print the good things people do – just look at the 70-plus stories in our Profile edition a few weeks ago. It was good stuff, cover to cover. It was a monument to good stuff.

Or look at the feature stories we print on our front page – in recent weeks, we’ve had front-page stories about a juggler, an African storyteller, a retired man who makes clocks, a new service club at the high school, and Alden’s school play, to name a few.

And what about all the stories in the Lifestyles section? Geri McShane and Ed Shannon fill that section with stories about the good. Or how about the sports features we do on young people who excel?

And what about our front-page feature photos? We have photos of choir concerts, kids playing, people having fun, school presentations and much more.

But I can also see where people are coming from when they ask this question.

It’s true that much of the news is negative. Simply put, that’s the nature of news sometimes. If something is fine, and everybody’s happy, it’s often not much of a news story. We hear about the cars that crash, not the ones that make it to their destinations safely. We hear about the people who beat up other people, not the ones who give someone a pat on the back. We hear about the government programs that are in trouble, not the ones working quietly and effectively. We hear about the buildings that burn down, not the ones standing uneventfully and safely.

And I’m sure of one thing, if nothing else: Just because it’s negative doesn’t mean we are going to ignore it. People need to hear about the bad things, because only an informed and involved population can prevent the bad things from happening again. Being informed is knowing about everything that’s going on – whether it makes you smile or grimace.

Despite the tendency for the negative to grab headlines, we still try hard to acknowledge the good, and to seek out people we’ve heard did something outstanding or helped someone else.

And we’re going to start doing more, too. Beginning tomorrow, we’re introducing a new feature that will run on the front page every Monday. We’re calling it &uot;Good Deeds.&uot;

It will be a story about somebody who has helped someone, or reached a goal, or earned recognition – somebody who does something good for others or deserves an accolade for an achievement. Hundreds of these good things happen every day, so there’s endless material for us to use.

We’ll continue writing stories on the jugglers and the school plays and the the storytellers all week; but Good Deeds will be one more place to find good news in the Tribune. Because we agree – there is lots of good news out there, and it often has as much merit as the bad news.

If you know of anybody who deserves to be written up in Good Deeds, let us know. You can call me at 379-3433 or e-mail to

Dylan Belden is the Tribune’s managing editor. His column appears Sundays.