What kind of news do you want to see?

Published 6:00 pm Friday, June 20, 2014

Who says good news doesn’t sell papers? That may not be a reflection of a specific comment, but there’s a widespread notion that the news media goes after stories about crimes, accidents and other negative aspects of day-to-day life in order to sell papers from the racks, increase subscriptions and advertising or raise audience ratings, in the case of TV and radio.

While that may or not be true at the national level, here in Lincoln County and the surrounding area, we’ve found that good news is just as popular with our readers.

While The Daily Leader doesn’t shy away from covering the bad side of things when they happen, we believe balanced local news reporting on a wide spectrum of topics of interest to our readers is what makes for a good local newspaper.

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For some time now, we’ve been posting promos and links on The Daily Leader Facebook site directing people to stories on dailyleader.com. Facebook allows us to track the numbers on post viewings on the page and the “total reach,” which, as I understand Facebook’s explanation, includes the number of unique individuals who saw posts on The Daily Leader page, plus the number who saw our posts shared by someone else, plus some other metrics used by Facebook.

Going back through the numbers on our Facebook page provided some interesting feedback. Yes, stories in the “bad news” category were frequently viewed. A Wednesday story on concerns about vicious dog problems had received 2,264 viewings, 11 likes and five comments as of Thursday evening.

Stories and photographs on inclement weather – another “bad news” topic – always seem to draw readers – as most people’s fascination with tracking hurricanes online and via the weather channels attests. Our coverage on Friday morning’s windstorm drew 7,598 viewings and 27 likes on Friday morning alone, and that doesn’t count the follow-up coverage.

Meanwhile, a pair of “good news” stories about West Lincoln coach Jack Case being named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame that ran Sunday had a strong following with 3,257 viewings and 52 “likes.”

Success stories also make for great reading, whether it’s in a newspaper, a biography or even a novel. The all-time top-read Facebook post on The Daily Leader page since I’ve been editor here was an April story on a former Loyd Star drum major who’s now a songwriter in Nashville. Although I can’t seem to access the stats on that article any more, I think the viewings had topped 9,000 and could been as high as 11,000 the last time I checked.

Speaking of good news, I stopped by the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce cookout honoring new chamber members Thursday afternoon. The mouth-watering smell of the charcoal-grilled hamburgers had me hungry as soon as I got out of the car on Whitworth Avenue and started walking over to Railroad Park.

Chef Ken Dixon was sharing his expertise on the grill, as new and old chamber members mingled with city and county officials and chamber staffers Garrick Combs, Kay Burton and Pam Cartwright.

The names of the chamber’s 24 new members since June 2013 were announced and gifts were presented. Wearing my “newspaper hat,” I can attest to the hard work the chamber does and the many chamber events that our paper covers each year. These two-dozen local businesses have made the right decision by joining forces with the chamber.

On a final local note, let me remind you to go to the polls this coming Tuesday. While neither the U.S. Senate position nor the congressional position on the ballots technically qualifies as a “local” race, both offices are directly responsible for many matters of local interest. Both races also are being decided in a runoff, which shows how close the electorate is and how important each vote on Tuesday will be. As we did before the first primary, we will include a sample ballot for Tuesday’s election and a list of Lincoln County voting places in Sunday’s paper.

Finally, yet another election will be coming up July 8, when voters in the city of Brookhaven have an opportunity to vote on whether or not to levy a 2 percent lodging tax to help support local tourism efforts. This also will be a very important election.

The right to vote is a privilege that we as U.S. citizens have that many others around the world do not enjoy. Please exercise your right.

But one more note: email me to let me know what kind of news you’d like to see in The Daily Leader. We’d appreciate your feedback.

 Rachel Eide is editor/general manager of The Daily Leader. Contact her at rachel.eide@dailyleader.com.