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Tallying the news from the past year

The Curry Coastal Pilot continues a New Year’s week tradition in this issue with the publication of the annual “Year in Review” special section. Preparing the section prompted two interesting thoughts.

First, there are dozens of firms that have proudly joined this year’s special section. They are lined up by their length of service to the community, and their advertisements serve as announcements that they plan to continue in business through the coming year. Yes, some firms have fallen by the wayside in the current recession, but others have joined the march in a real sign of optimism about the future.

Their advertisements in the “Year in Review” section provide space for the Pilot to replay the major headlines from front pages of the past 103 issues. The section also gives us a chance to do an actual tally of what type of news makes the most headlines. We often hear accusations that we emphasize bad news, and we know our website visitors flock to “bad news” stories. But have we run more bad news than good? We’ve actually counted the number of good, bad, and neutral stories that ran in 2010. Here are some examples of how we ranked them.

Good: an Azalea Middle School class receives a phone call from a U.S. soldier in Iraq, thanking them for their letters.  Bad: stories about crimes and fatal accidents. Good: work begins on two new projects, a medical clinic and a college campus. But is the story of a rescue bad news – someone got stuck – or good news because they weren’t harmed? The third category, “neutral,” includes political debates, planning decisions, changes in local government and other stories which can be either good or bad depending on the reader’s point of view.

Everyone’s count is going to be different, but here’s our rough score for major headlines from January through November: good news, 39; bad news, 22; and neutral, 37. You can try your own count today.

Another thought prompted by compiling the “Year in Review” is that the Pilot endeavors to present information that is important and interesting to a broad range of readers – good, bad and otherwise. We hope we are doing just that.

We’d like to say a big thank you to our readers and our advertisers. We wouldn’t be here without you. Happy New Year!

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