As our annual extravaganza of the year’s top 10 stories draws to a close, allow me to add yet another category: good news.
People ask me all the time why we don’t have more good news in the paper and on our website.
My response: we have a whole lot of good news in the paper and online. You just don’t notice it because you’re too busy reading the bad news.
We’ve taken steps over the past year to highlight more good news on the homepage of our website and to relegate most daily crime stories to a deeper layer of our site.
Never miss a local story.
Still, people find what they want to read. And for whatever reason, the overwhelming majority of the most popular online Ledger-Enquirer stories from 2016 dealt with death, violence or people behaving badly.
In other words, bad news.
So how overwhelming? Well, of the 100 most-read stories online, only eight of them could vaguely be classified as good news.
The majority of these were business stories.
For example, Tony Adams wrote about a $7-million bowling alley and entertainment complex called Stars and Strikes coming to north Columbus. Good news if you like to bowl.
Adams also wrote about a seafood franchise called the Shrimp Basket bringing a store to town. Good news if you like fried seafood, and good news if you’re a cardiologist. (The restaurant does offer steamed and grilled options, for what it’s worth.)
Larry Gierer wrote about career opportunities for nurse anesthetists. Information about jobs or potential jobs is always good news for readers.
Speaking of jobs, Chuck Williams wrote a story in May about the Ohio-based Convergys Corporation bringing 450 jobs to south Columbus. Maybe bad news to people looking for work in Columbus, Ohio, but good news here in Columbus, Ga.
The remaining business story in the top 100, also by Adams, was about Aflac’s One Day Pay promotion, good news for people seeking quick turnaround on future medical claims, and also good news for anybody who works at Aflac or owns Aflac stock – and around here, that’s a whole lot of people.
One sports story in the top 100 was written by our Auburn football reporter Michael Niziolek about quarterback John Franklin III earning a spot on the preseason depth chart. Of course, he was only listed as a backup holder, which seemed like bad news at the time, but it became good news for Auburn fans when they saw him actually throw a football.
Tim Chitwood wrote about Columbus police advising parents to take their children trick-or-treating on Oct. 31. This was good news for local folks who remember when the city encouraged families to celebrate Halloween on a day other than, um, Halloween.
The remaining good news story among our 100 most-read stories online was about Leroy Duke White, a 2012 graduate of Shaw High School.
It was written by one of our sports stringers, Dana Barker.
As you may recall, Nike, White’s employer, held a contest to pick an employee to run with the Olympic torch in Brazil. White filled out the application and also sent a video using skills he learned at Shaw High.
He was the only Nike employee from the United States to be selected. He said he had a great time traveling to Brazil, carrying the torch in the city of Sao Paulo, doing community service, meeting Brazilian people and eating Brazilian food.
Now that was some good news.
And here’s to a lot more of it in 2017.
Just don’t forget to read it.