Local news, national issue
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We were taken to task by a number of readers this week for the subject of our Monday Profile and, more specifically, that our headline said, "A 'normal' family" in describing Alicia Terrizzi, an Elysburg native, and her same-sex partner.
We welcome reader input even when it's critical of our decisions, headlines or story subjects. I think of that old saying, "the customer is always right."
But we felt it was worth pointing out a few things as a matter of information, not necessarily in an attempt to change anyone's mind.
First, there's a reason quote marks were used around the word "normal" in the headline. It was Terrizzi's word, not ours, and it had developed as the central theme from our interview with her. Back on July 25, we had a headline that said, "Gilberton meeting postponed over 'irate calls' over videos." We didn't say the callers were irate; it was the borough secretary. On Aug. 1, a front-page story was headlined, "Abuse of pain killers 'breaks communities.'" That wasn't our determination; we were quoting a Pennsylvania Medical Society official.
As for choosing to do a Monday Profile related to the controversial decision of the Montgomery County register and recorder issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the reasoning was simple: A local native is directly tied to a major state and national story, the threads of which weave together subjects ranging from sexual choice to religion to state law to the constitution. Why ignore all that?
We understand most of our Monday Profiles aren't linked to such a controversial subject, but that shouldn't stop us from further exploring the lives of interesting "local" people. And we didn't approach the story with any pre-conceived thoughts as to whether Alicia Terrizzi's life was "normal" - or strange, for that matter.
Our bottom line is local news, and when we can relate it to a larger issue, all the better. That, simply, is why we tracked down Alicia Terrizzi.
To the point that readers themselves are drawn to controversial subjects, the "most commented on" recent story at newsitem.com at midday Friday was "Legal guns will be allowed at Bloomsburg Fair." It was a story from our Thursday edition, so it was outpacing the Northumber-land County salary cuts, a firefighter's home burning in Coal Township and other major, fresher stories even more than 30 hours after it had first posted.
Flood of 2011
Could it be that the completion of the razing of houses on South Rock Street in Shamokin because of the extensive damage from the Flood of 2011 (page 10 of Friday's issue) has come essentially two years to the day of when the flooding began? The timing is ironic, and it leads us to appreciate the pleasant, if cooler, weather that we're enjoying this weekend.
(Andy Heintzelman, editor of The News-Item, writes "The Week In News" for each Sunday edition.)