Editor's Journal: Reporting the Happy News

Cary, NC – Traditional media has a saying: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Old newspaper hands scoff at the idea that positive news is a viable business model.

Well, I’ve got 100,000 page views that say they’re wrong.

Who’s Telling Our Story?

Since August of last year, CaryCitizen has been a certified Google News Source. That means our stories appear under the news tab in Google search, just like the area’s major media outlets.

A sampling of recent days shows how different news sources tell the story of our region:

Cary News (May 8, 11:50)

From ABC11 Local News Tab (May 8, 2010, 11:54 AM)

  • NC State doesn’t want party repeat – Students want to end the school year on a high note, but police aren’t having any of it.
  • Police: Man touched girl at Cary pool
  • Cosby to speak at Shaw University… 39 min ago
  • NC Marine killed in Afghanistan 33 min ago
  • Man arrested in carjacking, other crimes 1 min ago
  • Men involved in alleged check theft

CaryCitizen (May 8, 11:58 AM)

  • Cary History: Walter Hines Page
  • Cary Student Needs Your Vote to Save the NC Sea Turtles
  • Gospel Music Shouting Out at Sertoma
  • SAS Honored by Women’s Day
  • Coming to Cary: Major League Lacrosse
  • The 2010 Rock Hall Benefit Concert Pt. 2: Rock Royalty Return to Cary

Everyday, I search the Google News tab. Everyday, it’s the same thing. The major media in the region want to paint us as either “beigeville” or a secret hotbed of crime.

Neither of those portraits is true. Or helpful. Or interesting.

The Readers Have Spoken

100,000 page views on our website in less than the first nine months of publication is a significant indicator. Add to that another 50,000+ views of our stories delivered via daily emails and it’s pretty clear we’re on to something.

Also of note: over 80% of our traffic comes from within the town and the nearby surrounding communities. That’s the definition of a hyper-local news source.

Small businesses especially benefit from the low-cost, targeted approach of our ad programs. Time and again, we’ve heard that local stores, community organizations and professionals felt “priced out” of ad options in the regional newspapers and television.

Anyway, who wants to run an ad next to a story of man arrested for carjacking?

The Strategic Importance of Telling Our Own Story

When people are considering moving to the area or relocating a business, they search for information about the town.

Search engine results are based, in part, on frequency. Publish more stories than your competitors and you control the news stream about an area or topic. We call that the “info space.”

So who do you want to control Cary’s info space?

What Do You Think?

Do you think our brand of “happy news” is useful to the community?

  1. Cindy Sinkez
    Cindy Sinkez says:

    I enjoy Cary Citizen. It is full of useful information. Positive stories warm the heart. It is nice to read about the great happenings in our community.

  2. Hal Goodtree
    Hal Goodtree says:

    Thanks Brent! Thanks Michele!
    Happy to have you both as contributors.

  3. Brent
    Brent says:

    Happy or sad or whatever, I am thrilled that we have CaryCitizen.com to report interesting local news that other media outlets often don’t report. I think that CaryCitizen.com has become the #1 news outlet for citizens of Cary over the past few months. My thanks and congratulations to those who have given us this wonderful resource.

  4. Michele McKinley
    Michele McKinley says:

    Love the happy news! Definitely useful. You hae such a great capability to share truly local news on a daily basis, which is great!