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posted: 7/15/2012 5:00 AM

Editorial: The broad picture of life in the suburbs

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Just as there are no communities that are all good, there also are none that are all bad.

Like people, communities are mixtures of good and bad, combinations of virtuous and villainous intent, selfless and self-centered, often smart and occasionally foolish.

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We live in the suburbs, and we love our communities as wonderful places to live, work and raise families, but we also recognize that they are imperfect.

A good newspaper, we think, reflects all of that. Taken in whole, it provides a mirror for the community. In that mirror, you should be able to see freckles but also smiles.

Just as there are not communities that are all good or all bad, a good newspaper should reflect both -- not just the bad news but also the good, not just the things that don't work but also the things that work well.

We try to present the news that way.

That is, we try to reflect the good as well as the bad. Today's front page, for example, is built around a package that in many ways is a salute to suburban artistic talent. There's also a column by Burt Constable that tells the inspiring story of a suburbanite with Angelman syndrome who is learning how to cope with life as an adult with a developmental issue. We publish a weekly column devoted to "Suburban Standouts." We develop "Life Stories" to provide texture beyond obituaries related to notable suburban deaths. We publish good news every day -- as well as the reports on foibles, crime and corruption.

We try to paint a broad picture of life in the suburbs.

Our editor, John Lampinen, raised a question related to all this in last week's Talk with the Editor online column, a digital conversation he writes on dailyherald.com.

Why is it, he asked, that people always say they want more positive news, but then the headlines that lead the list of our "Most Viewed Stories" on dailyherald.com almost always deal with tragedy, scandal or disaster?

One of his readers responded to that question with some eloquence:

"Human nature can't be ignored," this commenter said. "It is human nature to gossip. It is human nature to gawk at an accident site. It is human nature to read 'bad news' stories. I don't have an answer and I am not proud of us humans for being this way.

"I love the good news stories you cover -- i.e., the human interest stories, successes, overcoming adversity, helping others. It gives me hope for mankind and yes, sometimes brings on goose bumps or tears ...

"I pray newspapers maintain a balance. If newspapers are to reflect our lives and report on our lives -- as our lives truly are -- keep up the stories that are positive and negative.

"Such is life."

Wow. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Such is our mission.

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