Every morning I get online and go mining for news, mostly Batavia news, because thats why I'm here: to inform Batavians. I plug in keywords in search fields. I read through the news briefs at WBTA's timely-kept Web site. I scan the digital newspapers in the area for anything (geographically) of interest to our readers here in Batavia and, more and more, around other parts of Genesee County as well. Nevertheless, some days, no matter how many information wells I plumb, no news comes up.
That being said, Monday's are almost always a guarantee for news. Something had to happen over the weekend. Someone must have done something worthy of that half-inch bold font headline. A party somewhere must have gone wrong, and now someone — or a few someones are cooling it in the clink.
Today, that wasn't the case. We heard from the county sheriff's deputies and the city police, but they were all about alcohol busts over the weekend. Whether that meant selling it to people who shouldn't have it or driving after drinking too much of it, that was all they reported about the weekend — to us, anyway.
So it got me thinking. What makes the news?
Well, without turning this into a debate about how we the media need to focus more on positive, happy, make-you-feel-good news — because there really is plenty of that; it just doesn't make the front pages all the time and more often than not isn't written well so isn't worth reading — the news I find in my morning searches will fall pretty cleanly into one of a few categories: bad news (car crashes, crime, high profile death), news released by Genesee Community College, finance or sports. But there wasn't much of any of it this morning.
So when Batavia's downtown business director Don Burkel walked into Main Street Coffee this morning and asked me what the scoop was, I told him: no scoop. I told him I searched and searched and couldn't come up with anything. What happened over the weekend, I asked him. Didn't stuff happen? Wasn't there news?
For sure, he said. Good news.
Batavia's Public Market opened for the season Saturday morning. Despite the weather threats of hail storms and the like, the market was a raving success. Folks came out to buy from vendors who were eager to sell their wares. And I can understand his elation. Public markets make me feel the same way, and it isn't even my job to get excited about downtown business. Public markets have seen a real resurgence in the past decade or so. For good reason. They're an intersection of culture and finance that harken back to the Greek agora, the public gathering place where everything happened. Whenever I get the chance to visit the market in Rochester, I get giddy. They've got good cheap eats. Fresh produce. You can typically hear at least three languages spoken. And somehow the otherwise avaricious act of purchasing for a small moment in time turns cultural. Unlike, say, big box retail shops, that mostly smell of plastic and make me feel more neurotic than usual and sometimes even hostile towards my people.
So there was that. But also...
Jackson Square hosted its second Friday night concert of the season. The Ghostriders played, the square filled, people danced. And the whole evening seemed a foreshadowing of the weekend to come — Ramble Music and Arts Fest.
Downtown was good cheer, straight up and down, this weekend. And Don told me all about it with a beaming smile. Because it really was a good weekend for Batavia. And that was the news. Summer arrived, and Batavians got out and took advantage. They stayed close to home, and close to home proved worthy of sticking around for.
All this to say, sometimes good news is exactly that and deserves its place in the cycle of crime, death, finance, sports. Not that all good news is real news. I bought a pair of sneakers recently, and they're comfortable, and that's good news for me. But I doubt anyone else would care, and they shouldn't.
There are so many ways a community gets out and acts like one, and when it does it so blatantly and in a way that blots out the bad that gets the front page most every other day, it's worthy of shining a light on.
So, if you've got a keyboard and an Internet connection, and you know that your town, village, city, neighborhood, hamlet got out and manufactured some good news that just doesn't seem to get the credit it deserves — blog about it. Write a post. Write it in a way that you think is interesting. Put yourself in the story. We're not journalism teachers. We won't call you out for that. Just tell the story. Because sometimes the news cycle lets us down, and we could all do with a good story told well of folks doing good things.