Editorial: Valdosta is more than its bad news

| January 19, 2016
downtown valdosta aerial
By Adam Floyd
Editor | ValdostaToday.com
Don’t ignore the good news.

There’s a saying about news media that you may be familiar with: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

The phrase is born out of an indisputable fact of news reporting: If the story is shocking, graphic or negative, people are more likely to read it, view it and click it.

The fact usually leaves the impression news outlets only cover negative stories, and a quick glance at any recent collection of area headlines will support that impression.

In the past two weeks, ValdostaToday.com has shared reports of a grocery store manager who robbed his own store and shot at police, a robber who was caught by a K-9 and suspects arrested for Flakka possesion.

The headlines make life in the Azalea City look bleak, but we also shared other stories: the opening of a new grocery store, a charity event to raise money for local cancer patients, VSU being named among America’s best schools, a donation to local literacy efforts and more.

There are good things happening in Valdosta and in South Georgia and in North Florida, and we should not ignore them.

News media outlets have an obligation to report what is happening. When a drug arrest is made, it is important that we know. But when a high school teacher is named vice president of a tech association, we need to know that, too. If we take one and not the other, then we are getting an incomplete view of our community.

This morning, I was disheartened to learn about KKK flyers being distributed in a Valdosta subdivision over the past few months. After WCTV broke the story, I knew every office water cooler in town would be surrounded by whispers and chatter of the KKK in Valdosta.

Now, we needed to know those flyers were distributed; we need to know when individuals are trying to sow discord. But we also need to know the good stuff, so we can confidently say to anyone who asks, “Our town is not that story.”

Given the small scope of the KKK flyer incident, I believe it is safe to blame it on the actions of a few malcontents creeping through Valdosta neighborhoods under the cover of darkness.

In stark contrast, hundreds of Valdostans gathered yesterday, in the light, for a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A few KKK flyers.

Hundreds gathered in support of equality.

If we take one and not the other, then we do not know what Valdosta is about.



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Filed in: Editorials, Opinion

4 Comments on "Editorial: Valdosta is more than its bad news"

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  1. Fred Higgins says:

    An uplifting commentary that needs to be shared in cities throughout the country.
    It brings to mind a quote by comedian-actor Patton Oswalt: “So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

  2. Patti Bell says:

    I liked your editorial. My dayghter & son-in-law live in Valdosta and attend VSU. I was able to visit your wonderful “Azalea” town a while back. I found it charming, picturesque, and the people, who were helpful, friendly, and went out of their way to be considerate. The quaintness of the whole area was pleasantly surprising. Thanks Valdosta.

    • Mommylissa says:

      How wonderful! We lived there for 4 years and it was like a living heck. Clickish fake slow minded couldn’t wait to leave!

  3. Snoozer says:

    Does it get any more boring then this article?

    Watching grass grow during winter in Minnesota would be more exciting.