Last week I tried an experiment. I don’t do many experiments since I had to clean up our kitchen after an experiment with Mentos and Diet Coke went awry. (I learned that experiment really needs to be done outside.) I also learned something from my experiment last week and, like my Mentos misfire, I now have to clean up the mess.
I had two stories I wanted to share. Sometimes I put these on Facebook just to see what happens. One story was written by our student reporter Alex Nelson about the Bible Club at the Brookville Area High School. In an age of heightened political correctness it is unusual for a public school to countenance a religious based club even if it is not sanctioned by the school. The story had 106 views on Facebook.
I also posted an odd story about a local man who attempted to pass a urine test at the Jefferson County Adult Probation Department through the use of a device called a “Whizzenator.” First of all, I did not know such a device existed and, secondly, I was amazed at the extent some people will go to circumvent the law.
I though the “Whizzenator” story might get a few views. It got more than a few views. Barely 48 hours after it had been posted 4,078 people had viewed that story. I was simply stunned. That is far more than any other story we have posted.
The story also spawned a series of comments about the incident. We welcome opinions but when those opinions degenerate into the use of certain profanities, we have to draw the line. Such comments will not be posted in the future. Simply put, if you want to make a comment, keep it clean.
The contrast in the number of views between a feel-good story and an admittedly sensational story underscored what the media has known for some time. People thrive on bad news. I am no psychologist and cannot tell you why this is so but it is. The good news story, the kids and the Bible Club, was almost ignored. The attempt at dodging parole conditions, was the talk of the Facebook crowd.
This does not mean that we will abandon good news. We believe that there are still far more good folks in our community who provide the backbone of our society. We will continue to tell you about the good things our kids are doing through our classroom connection page. We will show you the fine work of the various volunteer organizations who do so much for others and ask so little in return. We will highlight those individuals who are the leaders in our community who we have entrusted with our future.
This does not mean we will not cover the negative side of our society. The drug users and criminals need to be exposed. Those in office who betray our trust need to be brought to justice and we will also cover the tragedies. These are the things this newspaper has done for 175 years.
Yes, we will tell you about the “Whizzenators” but we will also tell you about the kids in the Bible Club. That is what we do.