As someone who has spent the majority of her adult life working at weekly newspapers, I tend to get overly excited during the annual whittling down of that year’s “top 10” stories.
The process varies from paper to paper, but typically involves a glance back at every front page, along with story counts and online data gathering.
With one reporter on vacation and another reporter position open, we’re operating with a skeleton crew at The Post-Record this month, so reporter Dawn Feldhaus and I sat down a few days before the Christmas holiday and came up with the “top 10” list published on pages A1 and A5 in today’s paper.
There were several stories I had hoped to throw into an “honorable mention” section, but lack of space stymied my plans (sorry, tree preservation and rock quarry stories). I jokingly told Dawn I felt bad for “our babies” that didn’t make the list, but there is some truth to that. To me, everything we write is important. Every article, photo and opinion column helps paint a more complete picture of life in this place, at this time — exactly what the “newspaper of record” should do.
The stories that affect more people, like this year’s No. 1 story about staffing levels at the local fire department, or garner more eyes online — teenagers walking out of school after a national school shooting — tend to make the “top 10,” but that doesn’t mean they’re more important than feature articles about children filling a school bus with donated food or breaking news stories about toxic algae in our lakes. All stories matter in this business, and we work hard to help our readers see their community from a variety of perspectives.