I like to get suggestions from readers about stories to cover or how to improve The Columbian. Recently, I enjoyed talking with Jaquie Cole, a Ridgefield woman who reached out to us because she thought our readers might be interested in an aerial photo of Mount St. Helens she took the day before the big eruption. We were! In fact, it made a nice story for our Monday e-edition.
The next reader suggestion was a little tougher for me. A reader named Stan asked, “Would it be possible for The Columbian to publish once per month (or at least once per quarter) one page with nothing but good news: e.g. people helping people, acts of kindness, a success story. We need some good news in the midst of shootings, riots, protests, war and other depressing news that floods our eyes and ears daily.”
First of all, Stan, I couldn’t agree more! There are many good things that happen every day. In fact, I think there are more good things than bad things that happen every day.
But here are two eternal problems: First, news focuses on the unusual, and, if there is more good news in the world, then it’s the bad news that is unusual and thus is focused upon. If the morning commuter traffic flows well and everyone makes it to work on time, that’s not news. But it’s news if there’s a crash on the Interstate 5 Bridge and traffic backs up to Hazel Dell and the Vancouver Mall for four hours.
The second eternal problem is that when we publish good news, readers tend to ignore it. That makes me sad.