Growing up in the newspaper business, I have a special place in my heart for the smell of ink, the sound of a printing press and the people who put local news first

Growing up in the newspaper business, I have a special place in my heart for the smell of ink, the sound of a printing press and the people who put local news first. In my opinion, people want to see the local news, youth sports, obituaries, weddings, comics, puzzles and who has the best deal on ground beef more than national news in their local newspapers.

I once owned a little newspaper that printed nothing but trivia and funny stories. It was hard work and I made very little money – then I sold it. It was a relief. After starting and running the little paper for a couple of years, it took the folks who bought it from me less than three months to quit. Because it was hard work with little reward.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

He was referring to the type of news that I think local newspapers should stay away from. Not the good stuff like pictures of the biggest amberjack caught or the winning touchdowns, the national news and politics. Understanding that I can’t change the world, I just wonder what Thomas Jefferson would say about television and the internet.

I’m pretty sure he would say, “The man who stays away from television and the internet is better educated than the man who sits in front of his television or computer all the time.”

Bad news… We get tired of it. That’s why we want to see the picture of the lady who hauled in the monster flounder… She’s smiling, she looks tired, but she’s happy. We don’t want to see pictures of smiling political sharks, we want to see the local high school’s “Sharks” winning one on the field against their rivals. We want to see the story about the boy who bagged groceries at the Piggly Wiggly getting a college scholarship.

Being a math guy, I’m drawn to numbers and graphs and such. Someone once said that 95 percent of news is negative. You know, that is believable. We see the reports on wars, potential wars, natural disasters, murders and all kinds of suffering. I understand that we need to know some of this stuff, but can’t we try to average it out with good things?

Just reading or hearing all this negative stuff has to be harmful to your health. What it comes down to is being able to ignore the bad stuff. I know that can be harmful also. So, if you are having the symptoms of a heart attack, don’t ignore that. However, you can ignore all the yelling, screaming and name-calling that it seems many have resorted to participating in. The “Boy who cried wolf” comes to mind. You hear so much, that you just believe nothing.

Don’t stop taking the local newspaper… That is the wrong answer… As a matter of fact, keep taking it. Call them, write them, get on your computer and send them stuff.

Good stuff.

Send them pictures of your grandchild who just made the Dean’s List, you and your prize winning coconut cake, the school teacher who is out buying supplies for her class with her own money and the police officer who takes groceries to the couple who are sick. I still believe you can fight bad with good (and just plain ignoring those who seemingly live a 95 percent bad life).

Sports – I grew up loving football, baseball and basketball. I still love sports. However, I am partial to the little fellows and the high school athletes. They play because they want to play. They worry about things like the after game snack and who they are taking to the homecoming dance.

My favorite athlete is my 7 year-old nephew. He plays football – the real kind, rather than flag football. He has been suffering through a tough season, his team not being able to score at all – until last weekend. Evidently, they came up against a team that they could compete with… The little fellow across the line from my nephew at some point during the game asked him, “Could you take it easy on me?”

My nephew is big, very big for his age… His response, “What if I were take it down to 50 percent?” I love that because I’m a math guy and I know he understands percentages. Evidently, the little fellow across from him understood percentages also and countered with, “How about 10 percent?”

You won’t hear about stories like that in your newspaper. Or, again, maybe you will…

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