Every once in a while we witness or experience people in our communities going out of their way to do good deeds for others.
Perhaps you see someone carry groceries for a parent whose hands are busy pushing a stroller, or you pull out your wallet to purchase your morning coffee and are told the customer in front of you already paid for it. Maybe a local business person or your child’s coach has gone above and beyond the call of duty, or a stranger boosts your car when it won’t start in the dead of winter.
It’s the little deeds and the people who do them that keep our world turning.
I know just as well as you do that media – mainstream or otherwise – tend to produce more negative stories than positive. I assure you that, for me, it’s not a conscious effort. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking: “I wonder what depressing stories I can tell my readers today?” It just happens. And yes, from greedy corporations, to corrupt politicians, natural disasters, wars, accidents and winter weather predictions, reading the news can sometimes seem like you’re walking down a long, dark tunnel, with no end in sight. Believe me, after spending several hours a day researching and coming up with news stories, they sometimes start to get to me too. But when we are impacted by something – good or bad – the story needs to be told.
Here at The Northern Sun News, we try to strike a balance between community stories and hard news. We strive to utilize the limited pages we have each week to publish content that we think is both relevant and interesting to our readers, who come from many walks of life. (I stress the word limited as we pay for the printing of each page mainly with the revenue we make from the advertisements you see at the bottom of that page. We simply cannot afford to print extra pages if they do not have ads on them – but that’s a whole other story in itself)!
Last week, a few people approached me about setting aside space in our newspaper to feature the people who do good deeds in our community. You know, the ones who carry your groceries, buy your coffee, go above and beyond their responsibilities, and boost your car. I’ve thought about it a lot over the past few days because, like many of you, I see the value in recognizing people who go out of their way to brighten someone else’s day. We need to hear those stories to be reminded that even when the bigger picture seems like a dark and scary one, we are still surrounded by many kind-hearted, generous and caring people and a lot of beauty in our little corner of the globe.
I think the best way to handle these stories is to ask you to send them in. This is not because I’m trying to get out of doing the legwork to produce them, it’s because, in my experience, many of the people who do good deeds shy away from publicity. They often don’t see their “good deed” as anything out of the ordinary and they certainly may not want to talk to a reporter about it.
I also think these stories are more powerful and strike more of a chord when they’re told in the first person.
And as much as I try to stay in the loop, the truth is, I don’t always hear about stories until well after they’ve already happened, and sometimes not at all.
If you have a good deed or pay-it-forward-type story like the one I mentioned above, please send it as a letter to the editor (try to respect the 250 word limit) to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also bring it in person to 200 Howey St. in Red Lake. We’d love to share it.
As always, I’m open to your suggestions. If you come to me with one, I’ll treat it with respect and try to make it work.