York Town Square

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Letter writer: How was that bat mitzvah story news?

Last York Town Square post, I wrote about a recent letter to the editor writer who called the York Daily Record/Sunday News a commie newspaper.
Now, we’re accused of running too much good news.
A letter writer wondered why we would devote two pages in our 92,000-circulation Sunday newspaper to a teen’s bat mitzvah.
“We have young people dying every day for this country in a bogus war, and a president who has a below-average intelligence. I could go on all day. Where are your priorities?” she asked. …

Well, contrary to our writer’s critique of our bat mitzvah story, we often hear from folks who wonder why we run so much bad news. We should recognize achievement, they argue, not how we come up short.
A couple of points on this.
First, our job is to reflect our community — its good, neutral and bad qualities. But good news to one person is bad news to another. We simply work hard at reporting the news in a fair manner and don’t get caught up in whether it will be perceived as good or bad.
Secondly, in the debate over whether mankind is basically good or basically bad, I’d go with the latter and then a bunch more than bad. We’re all flawed. This explains why we are drawn to and remember bad news, but good news passes by us.
In literature, stories have complications – often called conflicts – that usually stem from human weaknesses. People are drawn to such stories because they relate to these complications and how they’re eventually resolved. We simply see our own condition in these complications.
When complications from our lives become public, they create news.
We could run pages of good news — and we do. But people usually don’t remember such stories. People can’t find themselves in them.
Wonder what the letter writer thought about our story this Sunday about the NASA scientist who is blind http://www.ydr.com/newsfull/ci_4004399 or our story last Sunday on the William Penn High School student who graduated despite a battle with cancer? http://www.ydr.com/search/ci_3978687