Archived Story

Michael Bennett: What do you want to see in your neighborly paper?

Published 11:17pm Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What do you want to read in your local newspaper? We really want to know.

Ultra-local community content that you can get nowhere else is our starting point. Through modern technology we know what you are reading in our online versions of our newspaper when we look at reports from Google Analytics. It is a tool that shows us how many times a story is read.

In the last 30 days the obituary pages are the most read in all of our newspapers. That has been a constant. Accidents, fires and crime stories are usually well read.

We find readers are drawn to stories about business openings or closings. High-profile news such as the current Niles schools’ teacher contract negotiations is also high on the list. People also enjoy good community interest stories about people.

The top read story in each newspaper were:

• Edwardsburg Argus — “Band Rallies Around White,” an education story about the community coming out in support of saving co-director Spencer White’s job, which was at risk due to expense cuts.

• Cassopolis Vigilant — “Jury convicts Cassopolis man,” a courts story about Lawrence Litherland who was convicted on a variety of charges.

• Dowagiac Daily News — “Lakeside Parlor opens,” a business story about the new ice cream parlor in the Diamond Lake Golf Course clubhouse.

• Niles Daily Star — “Manufacturer coming to Niles Twp.,” a business story about Pratt Industries coming to town.

In Dowagiac we have added some new features.

“Ask John” is a column that allows the reader to make a story assignment for John Eby. So far we have not gotten many questions for John. We thought this would be a fun popular column but if you don’t have any questions relating to Dowagiac it will not work. We have also started a couple of Q&A’s — “Coffee Talk,” a profile of an area resident, and “Bizline,” for local businesses. We are considering the same kinds of features for our other newspapers.

Last week, we received a nice note from a reader who thought our new format was much more “neighborly.”

Based on that feedback I was thinking of providing a new feature called “neighborly.”

The idea would be to provide a page that we would print your pictures of your special life events.

It could be a birthday, anniversary, block party, graduation, wedding, engagement or anything that celebrates our collective community lives.

I’d like to know what your think. Email or call me with your ideas or thoughts.

I can be reached at or (269) 687-7700.

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