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posted: 4/24/2014 9:41 AM

Always something different for newspapers to focus on

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Same o', same o'? I don't think so: Say what you will about daily news coverage, it is not monotonous. Reading the newspaper is a different experience every day.

Yes, we've been following the disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner for several weeks, and the tragic search for survivors has been a consistent presence in the news ever since a ferry sank off the coast of South Korea on April 16. And every day brings familiar omens on the situation in Ukraine. But ongoing stories like these are obvious news. The public's natural concern and curiosity demand they be followed.

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As for the enterprise -- that is, the news that reporters and editors generate out of their own curiosity and knowledge of their communities -- consider this recounting of the Daily Herald front-page's dominant, centerpiece stories of the past week:

Friday, April 18: Retrospective and update on the anniversary of flooding that devastated many suburban residents;

Saturday, April 19: Images from Good Friday re-creations of the Passion in the suburbs, including a profile of a Hoffman Estates man who has played the role of Jesus for 12 years;

Sunday, April 20: An Algonquin 13-year-old whose passion for touring national parks has taken her to 163 sites in three years and made her an unofficial spokeswoman for the National Park Service;

Monday, April 21: The efforts of historians and teachers at Conant High School that enabled the preservation of a treasure trove of rare photographs from Schaumburg's early history;

Tuesday, April 22: A look inside a recycling plant in Lake County;

Wednesday, April 23: The high-tech reconstruction by a Bensenville company of a 12,000-year-old human skull;

Today, April 24: The centennial celebration of Wrigley Field.

OK, so you see a lot of history in that mix? Consider, as the late Paul Harvey would have said, the rest of the stories:

a controversy over funding a proposed Barack Obama presidential library; competing analyses of projected state spending and very different perspectives on Illinois' financial prospects; the ups and (mostly) downs of the Hawks and the Bulls in their respective leagues' playoff series; the resurging local environment following a historically hard winter; the resilience of runners at the Boston Marathon; a major court decision on affirmative action; and a wide variety of themes, from tax reductions to murder trials, in individual local suburbs.

Pardon the reference to an Illinois-weather cliché, but ... Don't like the news? Stick around a few minutes -- or better yet, just turn the page -- there's sure to be something different.

And the best part is that you can play a direct role in the constant change. I had a gratifying exchange of emails this week with a reader who was moved to specific action on issues he'd read about in the paper. Another reader called to ask how he could be considered for participation in the On the Table sessions we're coordinating for May 12 to foster citizen involvement in identifying and addressing social and political priorities. (The answer to that one, as Editor John Lampinen explained in a front-page letter Wednesday, is to send an email describing interests and ideas to onthetable@dailyherald.com.)

So, not only do newspapers reflect the constantly changing events and interests of our community and world, but they enable citizens to directly influence the changes that eventually become part of the news.

Sameo', same o'? Not for any of us.

• Jim Slusher, jslusher@dailyherald.com, is an assistant managing editor at the Daily Herald. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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