Archived Story

Michael Bennett: State-record catfish May best-read story

Published 11:17pm Wednesday, June 6, 2012

May numbers are in for the top stories read online in Leaderland.

The record-setting catfish caught by a Niles man was the hands-down top story read on our websites. It also caused quite a stir on our Facebook fan pages. And now it is a national story.

On the same day, we wrote about a Niles guardsman who was injured in Afghanistan, and it gained less than half the attention of the giant fish.

We were surprised, although I suppose it is human nature. Have people grown tired and weary of the war?

Certainly readers would be interested in a neighbor who was injured fighting for our freedom?

The catfish story takes us to a lighter world.

It’s a story about records being broken while relaxing on the river. Our lives have been full of stress for too many years now. We all need a break.

For May, the top stories on each of our websites were:

Cassopolis Vigilant

1. Collision injures Purlee

2. Sinclair station restored

3. Old post office a 1926 speakeasy

Dowagiac Daily News

1. Four Winds coming to Dowagiac

2. Dowagiac motorcyclist in critical condition

3. Teen jailed impregnating minor

Edwardsburg Argus

1. Arrests for selling drugs near Edwardsburg school

2. Marathon station records break-in

3. Parade planned Monday

Niles Daily Star

1. State record catfish caught by Niles man

2. Niles woman charged in deaths of four

3. Dowagiac getting casino

By the end of the month, we hope to launch a consolidated news site at

You will be able to go to one website and see all of the news from the area or choose your news by town.

We are unique, although interconnected, communities.

One website bringing them all together should improve area communication. Let me also squash any rumors that last paragraph may start. We will not be consolidating print copies of our newspapers.

In the Daily News, we are trying to bring more stories for people in Cassopolis and Sister Lakes.

In the Star, we are providing more coverage of Buchanan. In all of our papers, our locally written story count is substantially up from what we produced a year ago.

Recently, I have gotten feedback from readers in Dowagiac letting me know how much they miss John Eby and how they want him back. After more than 30 years, John has become a well-respected fixture of the Daily News. Truth be told, he hasn’t gone away.

Every week, John writes stories in the Daily News and he is looking for your questions about Dowagiac in his new weekly column “Dear John.” Bringing his knowledge to the entire newsroom, John is helping us build stronger newspapers and stronger communities.

Aly Gibson joined us recently and quickly integrated herself into the Dowagiac community. On the plus side, I have heard nothing but great feedback on Aly’s work covering the Dowagiac area. We are all lucky to have her join our team. Don’t assume we know everything going on in your community.

If you know of a good story idea, please contact me at (269) 687-7700 or

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