"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." - Bill Vaughn
That quote has nothing to do with this column. I threw it in because I found it amusing, and seasonally appropriate.
New Year’s does figure into the column, in a roundabout way.
At about this time each year, newspaper staffs review their stories from the past 12 months to find material for the traditional “Year in Review.”
That seems like a mighty task until you get started. Then, it becomes fascinating.
At The Herald-Mail, our reporters - on the city staff, in Tri-State, Lifestyle and Sports - write many local stories a day. So much happens in the course of a year, we cover so many stories and so much territory, that everything tends to blur in the fast pace of the newsroom.
And so, going through our computerized archives to compile information for the Year in Review is like taking a refresher course.
The person searching comes across stories that informed our readers, some that made them laugh, some that perhaps brought a tear to the eye, and a few that might have made people angry at us.
We write meeting stories, crime stories, court stories, sports stories, town page stories, feature stories. We write sad stories, funny stories, human interest stories, in-depth stories, legislative stories, entertainment stories and accident stories.
We tell you which new businesses are coming to the area, which are leaving and where layoffs are expected. We keep track of the unemployment rate.
We write about the weather, taxes, the economy, history and the future.
Newspapers are where community members go to read obituaries, to find out who got engaged, who got married, who had a baby and what events are happening on the weekend.
In a nutshell, day in and day out we chronicle what’s happening in our community, our local governments and the lives of our readers. These days, we also work to get breaking news and other information on our website as fast as we can, and to update those stories as often as new information becomes available.
There are stories we miss, some we aren’t able to get to, even some we don’t recognize for what they are, and therefore don’t give them the weight they deserve (And no, we don’t downplay something to give somebody a break. A mistake is just a mistake.).
You’ll find the review of the year 2010 in the paper later this week. We tried to hit the highlights, but I know we didn’t get them all - a concession to both time and space.
As we move on to 2011, which more likely than not we will be recapping this time next year, I’d like to wish to all a happy and prosperous new year.
And may the coming months find us all feeling more optimism than pessimism.
Linda Duffield is city editor of The Herald-Mail. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.