Lots to feel good about

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 3, 2008

A newspaper expends a lot of time, space and energy on what’s not working in its community.

Our core obligation — to report the news — means telling you when crime happens, when politicians misbehave, when schools fail, when tragedy strikes and when taxes go up. We will never shy away from those stories.

But what about what is working? Though we devote space in every issue to the people and organizations who make our community successful, it’s true that the “bad” sometimes overshadows the “good.” We can’t control when news occurs, and “bad” news, it seems, happens in waves, dominating the headlines of certain editions.

An oft-heard request from readers is, “Why can’t you put more good news in the paper?”

I used to resent the question. But no longer. At least once a year — and what better time than the approach of spring — it’s entirely appropriate that we take a step back from the daily grind of news reporting and devote some space and resources to what’s right about our community.

Today — and in each subsequent weekend edition during March — we offer Progress 2008, our annual report card to the community on the people, places and institutions that make our region great.

And make no mistake: Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County are great places to live, work, play, worship and raise a family. Perfect? No community is. But in this mobile modern economy — when people are changing jobs and moving to new towns at unprecedented rates — there are many good reasons we choose to live in Western Tidewater.

The pages of our Progress edition will bring many of those reasons to light.

We used to publish the Progress edition in one big package on the last weekend of March. It became so successful — thanks to the support of our loyal advertisers — that it was too much for a reader to digest in one sitting.

Last year, we opted to publish Progress as a series of special sections throughout March. Readers told us they liked getting it in small bites, so we’ll do it the same way this year.

Our staff — and many contributors from the community — have been working hard on the Progress edition since November. It’s great to see their efforts come to fruition. We hope you enjoy it.

Steve Stewart is publisher of The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is steve.stewart@tidewaternews.com.