Yes, Friday’s front page led with the story about a Bass Pro Shops coming to town.
One of our editors quipped that “only here in Hooterville” would that be such big news. Part of the sarcasm had to do with how the store will increase our community’s redneck quotient. (As someone who grew up hunting and fishing, I’m OK with that.) But Bass Pro will fill a gaping retail hole along Interstate 5 and add up to 350 jobs to the local economy.
Also on the page was a story about plans for a new YMCA in Sumner, bringing hundreds more jobs.
After so many years of down news through the Great Recession, we aren’t declaring economic victory. But unemployment is inching downward, home prices are inching upward and new businesses are opening. We’re beginning to see positive signs in our local economy.
We report the business news whether it’s positive or negative. But we’re human, too, and we live in this community. We want it to flourish. When we hire reporters, we tell them our goal is to write with an affection for our community, to treat the community as a good friend. We need to point out its shortfalls, but also should celebrate its successes.
It was interesting to watch news staff in recent months, as business reporter Kathleen Cooper pursued the story of State Farm moving into downtown Tacoma. As journalists, we applauded her every success gaining sources and documents in her investigative quest. As people who live here, we were hopeful a deal could result in a large number of jobs for Tacoma.
In the end, Cooper got her scoop, and Tacoma got its deal. It doesn’t get any better than that.
At a morning news meeting a couple of weeks ago, business editor Debbie Cockrell sat pitching stories from her customary seat in the back row. She offered a story about a new business opening, and then came back with one about local real estate picking up. We turned around to look at her. Seriously? Two positive business stories on the same day?
With a smile, Cockrell responded: “You can’t call me ‘Debbie Downer’ anymore.” We hope that’s the case more and more.
Bad news easily finds its way to our front page. It makes news, in part, because it’s out of the ordinary. Our readers also expect us to inform them about what’s going on in the world, good or bad. As much as people say they hate bad news, our stories a week ago about the Boston bombings were among the best-read day in and day out.
We do, however, have a choice about where to play good news when it happens.
Yes, we think it’s OK to lead the paper with the story of Bass Pro coming to Tacoma. It’s big news, right here in Hooterville.
NEW EAST PIERCE BYLINE
Kari Plog has joined the reporting ranks at The News Tribune. Since her graduation from Pacific Lutheran University almost two years ago, Plog has worked as an editor on our copy desk.
The East Pierce County beat is an especially good fit for Plog. She spent her entire childhood living on the same street in Spanaway. She graduated in 2007 from Bethel High School.
“My parents have been loyal TNT subscribers since before I was born, and I feel like I’ve come full circle covering areas surrounding my hometown,” Plog told me. “I am so excited to give back to my community by telling the stories that they care about, and the stories I grew up talking about. I hope my background can add depth to the coverage in that area.”
Plog’s beat includes Puyallup and South Hill, Orting, Parkland, Spanaway, Frederickson, Graham, Eatonville, Roy, Ashford, Elbe, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Milton, Fife, Buckley, Edgewood and the rural areas in between. If you have a story idea from those parts, call her at 253-597-8682. Or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also are pleased that Katie Dorsey has joined our staff as a copy editor. Dorsey comes to us from the Tri-City Herald in Eastern Washington. She worked previously at newspapers in Sacramento and Minneapolis. Dorsey’s move brings her back to Western Washington. She graduated from Monroe High School before heading off to Washington State University.
Karen Peterson: 253-597-8434