Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today's readers sound a bit happier

Today certainly started out better with our readers than yesterday did.

Yesterday, several of you took us to task for negative headlines. One criticized stripping a headline on a downtown shooting, saying it would hurt tourism. Another chastised us for focusing on the local home sales going down while the rest of the state improved. Another complaint was lodged about being cute on the very serious news of Boaters' World shutting down.

We look for the bright spots to report on every day. But we also don't want to sugar-coat reality when it needs exposing. We chose the downtown shooting story because it happened in the middle of the day in a well-traveled area. And there was an unexpected outcome, when sheriff's detectives took over the investigation and determined the wound was self-inflicted. In the housing story, we interviewed Realtors who were perplexed as to why Bradenton-Sarasota numbers are down. Our headline could have reflected more hope that the increased traffic seen in Lakewood Ranch would help our numbers soon, too. But rest assured, everyone is looking for solutions -- especially the Herald's reporting staff.

So turn to today. Cowboy Jason McKendree sent a hearty thanks to East Manatee Editor Jim Jones for his story on the Cattlemen’s Rodeo last weekend.

"It is amazing what an article in our counties' leading newspaper will do for something or someone," Mr. McKendree wrote. They had expected 50 or so people to turn out for their comrade's fund-raiser. A hearty 500-plus turned out instead on Saturday.

And Business Editor Jennifer Rich fielded a call on reporter Donna Wright's story this morning about churches struggling to survive. When members of one church in Donna's article, Congregational United Church of Christ, learned that their church's existence was threatened, they banded together and opened a thrift store.

One woman from the church took the time to call in and thank us for the story, and complimented Donna and photographer Grant Jefferies for their professionalism.

We'll strive to be more sensitive in our front-page headlines. And we'll continue to look for stories that can make a difference.


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