The old newspaper adage "if it bleeds, it leads," continues to ring true, certainly when it comes to online news coverage.
Many people criticize how negative the news is in this day and age, and question why media outlets put so much focus on covering stories that can be quite grim or dark in nature.
The blunt answer is that, at least in the digital era, those are the stories that people want to read. Look at any news website's Google Analytics and you'll find the vast majority of the most read stories in any given week, month, or year have to do with something that would be considered negative news. Stories about death and tragedy always receive more views than stories that celebrate positive achievement.
Case in point: Our page two story in this week's newspaper about an Airdrie resident whose body was found on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway has been, by considerable distance, our most read story on our website this month. It makes sense this brief story garnered such high readership, as it was a tragic and dramatic incident. We do offer our most sincere condolences to the family members who are grieving such a heartbreaking loss right now.
But what we've noticed is even non-local stories about death, murder, or other negative topics always attract higher readership than more positive, locally focused stories. For instance, a piece on a local Airdronian winning a national award last week garnered approximately two per cent as many views online as a story about a murder charge in a northern Alberta town, far from Airdrie.
As a community newspaper, we will always strive to cover a wide variety of local stories, including good-news pieces, to ensure our pages document and celebrate the positive goings-on of this community.
But if you're ever scrolling Facebook and wonder why the news you're seeing is always so negative, we hope this editorial helps explain why that is the case.