It’s not just all negative news

Published 12:18 pm Saturday, December 20, 2008

For a week now, I’ve been trying to come up with the perfect column for today, the Sunday before Christmas.

The problem I’ve been having though is that for the past month, our staff at the Herald has been working hard covering various holiday events and other topics ranging from seasonal concerts to previews of live nativities, pretty much covering all the bases.

I didn’t want to be redundant and talk about Christmas movies, which we covered in one of our online polls, or Christmas carols, which our newsclerk Dan Massman covered one week as a “Word on the Street,” a regular feature in two of our publications.

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And then, as the result of a conversation with Herald Publisher Kevin True about the importance of including positive news with the negative, I found my topic.

So I’ll focus on positive things in today’s column, instead of doing something else like listing my favorite Christmas movies, even though such a list would include “Holiday Inn,” and “Die Hard.”

One glance at media reports, and it’s hard to ignore the negative. It’s a sea of bailouts, potential budget deficits nationwide and Bristol Palin’s future mother-in-law arrested on drug charges.

But the positive news is out there, a whole lot of it in fact.

Nationally, officials for the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots are once again bringing smiles to the faces of those in need. Sports fans will be in heaven the next few weeks as the college football bowl season is about to get into full swing, and doctors in Cleveland recently performed the first-ever face transplant in the United States.

On a local level, various Austin civic emergency services recently teamed up with Wal-Mart for the “Shopping with a Hero” program, and school officials wrapped up an important week of interviews as they move forward with their search for a new superintendent.

In addition, the Morning Grind coffee shop donated 50 percent of its sales Friday to help the Anne and Mike Bauer family of Rose Creek with growing medical bills following Mike’s recent open-heart surgery.

The positive continues.

Catholic Bishop John Quinn made a visit through Southern Minnesota Wednesday and in the Herald’s annual “Letters to Santa” special section, it seems our younger students are excited for Christmas as they write about wanting such things as a Barbie, a Guitar Hero, a diamond ring and a Jeep.

Negative news is necessary in newspapers when it’s important to the community — plane crashes, fires and crime — in order to get that information out there to the readers.

But it’s just as crucial, and perhaps even more so, to put in the best and most interesting positive stories, which just might make our day a little bit better after reading them.

I wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and a hope that during this season, you’ll take some extra time to focus on the positive.