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From The Vaults

What Makes A Story “Newsworthy”?

I just had a chance to talk briefly with Lynn Hulsey, the reporter for the Dayton Daily News. On my way home from making copies of the resolution for the Montgomery County Democratic Party Reorganization Meeting, I stopped in at the DDN office in the old NCR building on Main Street, and asked at the desk if I might speak with Ms Hulsey.

I was pleased that within a few minutes Hulsey showed up and greeted me.  I know I’ve met her before in a couple different settings — very professional and very considerate.

Ms Hulsey let me know, gracefully, that she doubted that my resolution was newsworthy and that the DDN is not likely to print any story concerning the inner workings of the MCDP at their Reorganization Meeting.  “Now, if it passes …” she said.  Of course, I told her, I didn’t expect the resolution to pass, but that, to me, it still would seem a good story for the DDN to cover.

Ms Hulsey told me that for political junkies the story would be interesting, but most people just wouldn’t be interested.  But she thanked me for coming in, said she appreciated the information and asked to let her know the outcome.  I told her that I very much appreciated her time.

I’m hoping that the DDN might change its outlook about what makes a story of value, worthy of investigation, worthy of investing time and effort into researching and writing. I would argue that the kind of stories that help explain our world are the stories that interest people. Everyone wants to have some insight into the answers to these questions:  Why do we continually elect such weak leaders?  Why does our political process fail to empower men and women of vision, imagination and conviction?  Why is our democracy becoming a failure?

Just recently, the DDN printed an article about family members in Montgomery County who work for other family members who are elected officials in the county. I’d like to see Ms Hulsey, or some other industrious reporter, do some research about the local Democratic Party.  A good place to start, I believe, would be to research the individuals who show up this evening as voting delegates to the Reorganization Meeting:  How many of these people hold patronage jobs assigned to them by elected Democrats?  How many of these people, themselves, are elected officials?

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