Too much bad news on Page 1? Really?

Joe Centers takes issue with claim that Reflector publishes too much crime on the front page of the newspaper.
Joe Centers
May 28, 2014

I met with students recently from the Teen Leadership Corps of Norwalk High School.

It’s a great program started by Marianne Creamer, a St. Paul High School graduate, who has been there since day one.

We were at Norwalk Middle School, talking with students in the Junior Leadership Academy. They invited me because the students had all written letters to the editor.

Here, in part, is what it was all about:

“Norwalk High School’s Teen Leadership Corps class is piloting a program at Norwalk High Middle School called the Junior Leadership Academy. Our mission is to instill leadership qualities, character and professional attitudes at a younger level so that those students coming to the high school in years to come will be primed for taking more responsibility.

“As part of our curriculum, we have assigned our second-semester class to write letters to your newspaper because they feel that they have seen too many negative stories on the front page.

“This is in no way meant to disrespect the authorities and talents in your business. The purpose of this assignment is to make the students understand the give-and-take nature of society, in which, should they see a problem that needs fixed, it is their responsibility to do something about it.”

I hear this a lot. One of the first things Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said to a gathering at Berry’s Restaurant to a group of local businessmen is we need more good news to read. Local economic people tell us all of the time bad news will chase potential businesses away.

When I hear this, I wonder what people are reading. There is bad news, but most of it is confined to the “For the Record” pages inside the Reflector, not on the front page. People say we have too many drug stories in the paper. Do you read other papers or look at the nightly news? Drugs are a problem.

When we publish stories about the cops busting the drug dealers, that’s about crime, but that is a good story.

I took a look at the last week of the Norwalk Reflector and this is what I saw on Page 1.

May 17: A picture of Slider at League Elementary; Main Street students excel at science fair; Mourning father warns WR students about dangers of distracted drivers; pictures of the jet car races at Pleasant Elementary and Norwalk Catholic School.

May 19: Prom pictures from St. Paul, Monroeville and Western Reserve high schools; Airport “very important” to local farmers; South Central High School top five graduates; and Edison Elementary stresses importance of physical education.

May 20: Norwalk sixth- and eighth-graders win tri-county championships; Council talks natural gas, water/sewer discounts; Sales tax remains county bright spot; Mayor punished for parking in handicap spot; and Accused sex offender, 12 others incited by Huron County grand jury.

May 21: Teacher of the year, Norwalk’s top teacher “humbled” by her “incredibly blessed career”; “All by myself” — Huron County Airport like a man without a country; Briarfield to change hands; and Natural-gas program headed to ballot.

May 22: Teachers’ union, Edison agree on 2-year pact; Eviction notice has women baffled, angry; Milan’s Civil War monument to undergo facelift; and Clyde grad hired as Norwalk High School athletic director.

May 23: Residents seek state probe into power co. investment; Antique store opens in Wakeman; and Willard top five graduates.

May 24: Norwalk woman accused of murder; Graves Implement destroyed by fire; EHOVE sends off 372 students; and St. Paul top five graduates.

Just a quick check shows of the 28 front-page news items, exactly half of them were school-related stories or pictures. Twelve were news stores and just two were crime related.

The letter from the Teen Leadership Corps said “This is in no way meant to disrespect the authorities and talents in your business.”

I think it did.

Joe Centers is the Reflector managing editor. He can be reached via e-mail at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.

Comments

hit the road jack

That's all the whole thing is! there isn't anything new in town except who got busted and who's going to jail or prison.
It's not joe's fault that all there is to report is crime related.
Although I wished they would do stories or report on things like the GMO studies and how cancer is sky high since they been introduced to the food chain or something of that sort.

JMOP

I personally don't buy the newspaper. I only see what's online. Which I can tell you most are drug arrests and DUI's. Murders also, but those are reports from MCT.

Shannon2

JMOP, if you don't live around here, I understand. But if you do, look at Joe's story, and see all of those nice stories that will never be posted on this website. Do any of those interest you? As a paying customer, I can tell you I'm very happy with this newspaper and hope it stays around for a long time.

JMOP

I live around here, and yes nice stories interest me. I have tried in the past with the digital paper in the Reflector, it took my money, but had technical issues where it wouldn't let me read it. That was a few years back though and haven't tried since.

You can always count on at least three drug stories per day on the free online version. Just saying.

Contango

@ Mr. Centers:

Illegitimi non carborundum.

ISPSP

Nice! Calling a group of middle schoolers "illegitimi".....

canadianplastic

"Illegitimi non carborundum?" It's quite nice that you call the young leaders of this town "illegitimi", which is Latin for "bastards" (for those who didn't know). That must make you feel REAL good.

Contango

Re: "young leaders of this town,'

Ultimately inconsequential.

Undoubtedly these members of the 'Norwalkian illuminati' like the multitudes before them will after graduation from college move on to other locales due to the dearth of area job opportunities and career potentialities.

canadianplastic

Stoppen met zulk een mierenneuken peniskop!

betrump

Contango: Latin for "well-spoken white trash."

NORBILLIES

Oh, no...this might be an all time low.

So, a group of young men and women write a letter to the editor - in a professional manner. Stating what we all already know (the paper is nothing but crime and drugs). The editor gets butt hurt and cherry picks stories from the past few weeks and takes aim at those same young students - claiming to be offended and that they are wrong. As opposed to handling it professionally, and instead comes away looking childish.

Let's be honest. If you are publishing articles like this one, your paper is garbage - and you know it.

freespeech1

Well Joe 10 stories on the front page of the online paper are drugs drunks rapists or corruption. Almost 50%

Shannon2

I think Joe is only talking about the newspaper front page, not this website. And I'm very happy with the Reflector. I get it delivered to my home every day, and there are always enjoyable stories and pictures on the front page. You get what you pay for, and I'm happy to spend money on this nice community newspaper. This website does have a lot of drugs, drunks, rapists and corruption, but again you get what you pay for. That's all over the news, web, TV, radio, papers, ect. It's the lowerclass stuff of society, but I guess that's what a lot of people like. But the only way to keep up with the new businesses and positive happenings in Norwalk is to read the paper you pay for, not the free website. Keep up the good work, Joe!

freespeech1

What you don't realize is possible businesses read the online version. So if you were a prospective business would you be interested by what you see online? If it were me I would be turned off very quickly.

Shannon2

I think it comes down to money. If the Reflector gave away all their stories, especially the ones people are willing to pay for, they wouldn't be in business very long. The newspaper is a business, not a public utility.

freespeech1

Actually the paper has a responsibility to the community, and report with no agenda. but journalists today have lost that ability. Now its how much dirty laundry they can print to become nothing more than a tabloid birdcage liner.

Shannon2

I agree with you on this comment 100 percent … when it comes to the Sandusky Register. That whole Sheriff Howard witch hunt is tabloid at its worst. They never even bothered to print a story about how he was cleared of any wrongdoing by an independent outside investigation. As a paying customer of the Norwalk Reflector, I feel the Reflector reporters and editors are not bias. The local stories seem to be written in a fair and balanced way. I think this newspaper fulfills its job when it comes to the community. But, at the end of the day, they're still a business and they can't afford to give away their product. It's the old cow-milk thing … why buy the cow if you get all the milk for free?

beernsmokes2's picture
beernsmokes2

Lets face it. NEWS is nothing but Death, Destruction, Pain and Grief...And Weather and Sports...Nothing more.

shovelhead

Don't break an ankle jumping off of you're private soap box.

Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?

canadianplastic

Everything you say CANNOT be wrong, how unprofessional is it to bash middle schoolers? Doing this editorial is just plain immature. Come on. Show some self-pride and leave people alone for once. Oh, and go ahead and delete my comment if you don't like it - I took a screenshot of it to prove that there's nothing wrong with it if you don't like what I have to say and DO decide to delete it. See the screenshot in the link below. :) #DAEMONIACUS

http://goo.gl/u2Faak

observer1

All out of towners see is the free online edition, which is heavily slanted towards the worst aspects of our county. The print version is more balanced, but businesses and folks from out of town who are checking out Norwalk never see the good stuff. I don't know why the Reflector doesn't understand this.

Shannon2

I think they understand it. The free online edition is after pageviews; the more pageviews, the more they can charge people for their online ads. Out of towners probably don't care about honor rolls, local cook features, junior high volleyball, feel-good stories about a swan being saved or even local city councils and school boards, so they won't click on those stories. You can tell by the comments that people are clicking on the stories about the worst aspects of this county. Like it or not, it actually makes a lot of sense from a business standpoint. I totally agree with you about the print version being more balanced. That's why I'm willing to pay for it, and I'm very satisfied. As a Norwalk citizen, if I didn't already get the paper sent to my home and I was at a grocery store, I'd much rather pay 50 cents for the Norwalk Reflector than 75 cents for the Sandusky Register or the other out of town newspapers.

observer1

Great points.

notdanielholida

Hey big guy, Don't let those middle schoolers bully you. You can plaster the front page with heroin addicts if you want. That'll teach them to speak their minds in the future!

boothmachine69

Sig semper tyrannis

Whoopball

Hey kids, never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.

ThomasJefferson

Congratulations Mr. Centers! You used your position to attack a group of middle school kids who are in a group that promotes leadership, and the value of community service. A new low even for this rag!

Chef Julio

hit the road jack,

Here, you can put your fears to rest - quit believing the nanny state scientist activists about the big bad GMO revolution...

http://townhall.com/columnists/j...

hit the road jack

Show me 1 study done by monsanto that was longer than 90 days,I've seen studies by the french that rats ate GMO and had tumors so big the rats couldn't walk and had a high death rate. Why is it that 3rd world countries won't eat this $hit but the "intelligent" idiots from the US eat it up like candy? Japan just rejected 3 boat loads of GMO grain,China and Russia will not allow it in their countries,now tell me another story!

hambone

A very poor response to fair criticism.

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