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Native Negative News: Why so glum?

Joseph Budd, Columnist

Almost every week, you’ll see us report on news stories. For the most part, it looks pretty depressing. Cases of criminal action, violence, even deaths make the headlines. It does seem the more grisly the headline, the more people tune into the cases. Is it intentional?

Sadly, disturbing events do happen in society. Newspapers report these events and when sensationalized they tend to catch the reader’s eye.

Part of the problem is the mindset of people. Take a standard newspaper or online story. If your front page showed a child selling lemonade at a stand by the road, and another story tells about three people murdered, which article grabs your attention first? While the first story might be a warm and fuzzy throwback to the days when you’d pay a quarter for lemonade, you might wonder about the other story more. Was it someone you know that was shot? Was there anyone wounded? Who did the shooting? The mind, out of habit, develops reasons to look at these acts.

One aspect that can be looked at, is the level of crime, versus the overall population base. In a city the size of Denver one crime committed may not raise eyebrows. But take the crime and paint it more for sensationalism, reduce the size of the area, and you’ll find more people focusing on what happened. A person getting shot trying to rob a 7-11, doesn’t have the same pull, as a young man with an AR-15 targeting movie-goers on an opening night in Aurora, the event takes a more local feel. You can sculpt the news to drive up attention, focus it down on a neighborhood, a lot more focus can be made. Then from there, if it’s considering a given class, a race or people…it can be taken either way. But like anything, it can be taken the wrong way. Is crime a major issue on the reservation? How about for the population in North Rapid?

Now, we can look for good article, fun things we do see. Kids selling lemonade at times, or a group of four young adults helping to push a car that’s died onto a safe side street. Helping a total stranger, might not be the same level of journalistic excitement, but, it’s a feel-good story. A few years back while I was a flu bug had me in a bad spot. I needed medication and in my condition I had locked my keys in my car. Thankfully, an older fellow, maybe in his 60s, came to my aid. Using a tool I’d never seen, he managed to wedge the door open, pop the lock and get me back in. I offered him a 10 for his troubles, he politely declined, just asked if I see someone in need, to give them a hand, too.

Coming full circle at the paper, I do remember my original passion, and that was sports. There’s nothing like pure high school sports, watching kids go out, run like there’s no tomorrow, letting a football fly. The rest of the school year, in similar fashion, you’d see volleyball, cross country, basketball, track, in a simple but fun year. And likewise, parents would enjoy opening the paper and seeing this athlete run it into the end zone, of that player catching a pass in coverage, it was those fun games I’d enjoy. If you’d compare a newspaper to a meal, that sports section was a good side, giving a full meal for a hungry audience. And of course, your editorial pieces, columnists and the comics, add a dash of flavor to the paper.

Enjoy the paper, we try to bring out stories and news to fill in the blanks on your day, every week. If you know of something you feel should be included, you’re always welcome to write. We still take letters to the editor too.

(Contact Joe Budd at


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