Why do we like dirty laundry?
Turned on the radio before shaving Monday morning and Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” was playing. I’ve listened to that song probably 500 times and it still rings true — most of the evening news is bad news but that’s what a lot of people like to hear about. As Henley put it, “People love it when you lose.”
I watch the evening news and morning news. It came to a point, however, shortly after Donald Trump was inaugurated, with all the controversy surrounding him, that I turned the TV off or turned it to Sportscenter. Enough! Do something about it!
Ever since we started our award-winning websites, I am still somewhat amazed by the number of hits the “bad news” gets versus the other stories. I fully understand why obituaries get a lot of reads — we might know and will miss the people who have died. But, maybe I’m different — If I go to any other Maine newspaper’s website, I will look for and read a “feel good” story before the bad news. Perhaps it’s because I am in the local news business and I am privy to all the news that’s coming in each week – before it’s loaded onto the websites and into the newspapers. But I also think it has to do with people wanting to know who messed up their lives worse than what they have done — something like that. And like I said, I watch the TV news and get my fill of the “bad news” most days.
Last week, for example, the most read stories were about Ken Hatch losing his Lincoln County Sheriff’s job, the Wiscasset woman charged with sex crimes, and the Wiscasset woman charged with murdering the 4-year-old. And any headline with the words “Coulombe,” “CMBG” or “MDOT” have grabbed the readers’ eyes for months now. There were a couple of “feel good” stories that got a lot of reads, the wedding of two local “kids,” Maddy Rideout and Sam Kaler, and a new restaurant in Damariscotta. And, for the life of me, I am not sure why my column from last week got over 1,000 hits – perhaps because I used the word “unlucky” in the headline — people love it when you lose.
Oh well, keep on reading and keep supporting your local businesses, including your hometown newspapers!