Someone asked the other day if numbers, specifically page views of stories placed online, drive the news coverage for The Daily Journal.
In short, the answer was no. Though the numbers are paid attention to — it can be interesting to follow what stories are read frequently, those that are not and ponder the reasons of both — staff here generally are assign a news value to each news item, staff written or submitted, and we treat it accordingly.
Sometimes the numbers can be disappointing. At last check, a December story about a 2-year-old boy being struck and killed by a motorcycle while crossing the street with his father had been viewed more than 16,400 times. Sometimes staff members are unsure what that says about the reading public.
Please don’t misunderstand: anyone who works for a newspaper should be grateful for each reader we have. By and large, we are. Sometimes, though, the story causes us to be more grateful than other times. Today is one of those days.
Late Monday evening, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office notified The Daily Journal about Kayla Joan Butler. Kayla was reported missing by a family member to local authorities on Saturday. Police said they don’t believe the 16-year-old has been abducted.
Still, there are an awful lot of dynamics at play here. One of the few definitive statements that can be made at this time is that it’s best if the teen is located by police so they can check on her welfare.
Sixteen hours after posting the story on www.yourdailyjournal.com, the story had been viewed 24,299 times. We’re confident this article, both in print and online, continued to be a topic of discussion throughout Tuesday. One of the best ways this young lady can be located is by people sharing the story as well as the phone numbers to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (910-895-3232) or the Crime Stoppers of Richmond County (910-997-5454).
Though the circumstances are less than pleasant, this is an example of the need of a strong working relationship between local law enforcement agencies, local newspapers and readers.
To our readers who already have shared this story, we thank you for doing your duty as a fellow Richmond County residents. Fallon Brewington, of Communities in Schools of Richmond County, wrote in her first column in Tuesday’s print edition that “it takes a village.” She’s absolutely right.