Press Talk: Wait? What? 2013 is …..



Don't Do Stupid Stuff coffee mug on a sandy beach.

It’s been a crazy, frenetic, pulsating, manic year.

In other words, it’s a been a major blast.

There’s an old saying in the news business: Bad news is good news. Boy, has it been good.

But before all of my media-hater friends get, ah, hateful, let it be said: We … cover … good … news!

Oh, most of you don’t remember it, but it’s everywhere. And — because numbers don’t lie — most of you aren’t as interested in it.

Yep. That’s you and you and you!

In the old days, we speculated there wasn’t all that much interest in good news. But we now have the Web, and we can count the viewership numbers attached to our Web stories.

And bad news is king.

It also should be noted that we don’t make up the news. News happens. Sure, some of it is so strange it sounds like we made it up. But then you realize we deal with some folks who are — what did they say in the ’60s? — far out!

OK, but back to what I was hoping to get across here. As 2013 closes, I’m thankful for a lot of stuff. Here are a few things:

The Columbian staff

Look, there are lots of folks who work hard at getting you the news each day. People in circulation and production and accounting and advertising. Without them, you don’t get to see a newspaper.

But obviously, there is something special about newsrooms. We are the heart and soul of the newspaper. We are — simply put — the reason why there is a newspaper. Sure, we’ve lost many good staffers to funny-money organizations like government and health care. But many good people have stayed. (And it’s not because of the great pay.) Because they’ve stayed, our community is much better off. Period.

Those we cover

Hey, thanks to all the folks we cover out there. Most of them are politicians. As a community member, I wish they didn’t do so much stupid stuff. But (see above) their stupid stuff does make for fascinating coverage.

And don’t be fooled, stupid stuff doesn’t just come from one corner of our community. Nor has one political party cornered the market on this commodity.

Yes, yes, the M&M boys (County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke) did sort of lead the pack on doing stupid stuff in 2013. Who knew?

Their back-door hiring of State Sen. Don Benton as the county environmental services director — when the dude couldn’t tell the difference between compost and calamari — was epic stupid stuff.

Again, thank you, M&M boys and Benton. And I will resist using any Three Stooges references. That would not be fair.

Our readers

Finally, I’d like to thank our readers. When we created our “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” mugs (yes, they’ve sold out for the fourth time) I committed to meeting as many readers as I could who came in to buy one. I’ve met hundreds.

Now, I get out into the community more than the average guy, but these interactions were very special. Typically, we hear from our critics (hey, thank you, critics, as well) but the folks who came in to get these mugs were mostly fans, supporters of The Columbian. And most of them read this column.

Yes, we sometimes wonder — with all of the criticism we take for banging away at the bad boys — if there is anyone out there who appreciates us. Well, I’m here to tell you we have fans. Yay!

Virginia Kinnaman, who greets and helps customers when they come into the newspaper, sent me an email on Christmas Eve after dozens and dozens came in for a “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” mug. Virginia wanted to let me know how much she enjoyed the mug experience.

“Observing the interaction with you and the customers has been entertaining & positive!”

Thanks, Virginia. And thanks again to everyone in our community. Now let’s get ready to rock 2014!