There's probably nothing that perturbs me more professionally than when someone insists I should do a big expose article on some scandal.
Mainly because anyone thinking I'd be interested in relating such a thing has obviously never actually read any of my stuff.
Political discord? School administration salaries? Governmental shenanigans? Drugs in the water? Sure, there's plenty there you can probably get steamed over. But that's not my thing -- I see my role as the opposite of the conveyor of the bad news. I want to bring to light the good news as much as possible instead.
There's certainly enough people who excel at reporting the bad news ... the world doesn't need me to do that.
It isn't always easy to be on this mission. Sometimes when I'm looking for stories while laying out the wire service pages in the paper there isn't a lot offered by the Associated Press with anything good to say. Often I have to come up with five or six different ways to say someone is dead just so all of the headlines on a single page have varied terminology if not a varied theme. Many of the pages lately have made me queasy with the abundance of vile news, and if you think the news that is printed is bad, you should read the stuff we don't put in because of our all-ages audience.
Obviously, it is the bad news that attracts people to read any paper. If there's a huge calamity I expect my stuff to be bumped for the hotter news, because I would make that decision to ax my stuff as well. Sales increase when there's a major disaster, and again I'm just as guilty because that's when I'm also more interested in reading the paper, too. It's like driving by the scene of a car crash -- you can't help but look. You probably aren't glad the crash happened, but at the same time find it oddly intriguing. Likewise, if you are reading a novel there's got to be some kind of a conflict or it will be pretty boring.
Luckily, the majority of our local stories are usually good news about good people. But once we get into the wire service accounts of the goings-on in New York City, Washington, and overseas that ratio is invariably skewed towards evil.
So in an effort to compensate for all of that bad news, I strive to relate the good news. That's what I perceive to be my role in the world.
It doesn't matter what you do, whether you write, build bridges, teach school, wait tables, or crunch numbers ... taking some time to define your own role is a great organizer and a great motivator to your own endeavors. Give it a try!