B.J. DRYE COLUMN: 2019 was full of the good, bad and ugly; let’s make 2020 great

Many things happen in a year.

The newsroom staff and contributing writers for The Stanly News & Press try to make it to as many of these news events as possible. These things include meetings, festivals, pageants, sporting events and activities involving just everyday people and readers like you.

An unofficial tally of stories comes up to around 750 articles published in print during 2019.

Breaking it down, just 750 articles equals around 14 stories per week. At three publication days a week, that amounts to an average of roughly four to five per issue.

That tally just includes news and features and does not reflect the number in our sports section or the many magazines and other special publications we produce.

Many days there are countless other articles contributed from community resources, columns, editorials and community news from our regular correspondents.

With that many articles, it is a little tough breaking down what we believe are the top stories of the year. We selected ones that will continue their influence into this year — such as Pfeiffer building a campus in downtown Albemarle and the battle against opioids, the ones that made an impact during the year — the movers and shakers, and the greatest news draw to the county during 2019 — the North Stanly High School cheerleaders and a Trump banner.

One story that we didn’t get around to this year was the passings of note. I always enjoy watching the In Memoriam segments on “CBS Sunday Morning” or TCM because it shows a look back at some of the stars we lost during the year, and some of the smaller stars we didn’t know we lost.

Stanly County lost Bill Mullinix, Dr. Davis Fort, Terry Blalock, Robert Thompson, Bear Knotts, Troy Alexander and our 109-year-old “Amazing” Grace Comer, along with a couple others I am probably forgetting at the moment.

But now it is all about metrics for many people, meaning how many views each story generated online.

It is no surprise that stories about crime gain clicks. People have always been interested in crime, even though we would love to not have to report on any shootings, stabbings, beatings or killings.

The biggest crime-related story of 2019 according to metrics was the fatal wreck of Norwood resident and Anson County teacher Kim Ingold.

This one hit me personally as I had talked to Kim on more than one occasion about her photography. She contributed some work for publication as well.

We had many other fatal wrecks, beatings and shootings as well in 2019, but not all the news was grim.

People love to eat. The openings of Chick-fil-A, Outfitters, SueJay’s Soul Food and Micah’s Sweet Escape, along with other new businesses, proved beneficial to readers and the county economy as well.

A story I wrote about a family appearing on “Family Feud,” written in February, survived the year to make it into the top 20 subjects in our online views.

Of course, crime is a subject that warrants reporting. New businesses are also a good source for content.

But sometimes some of the best tips for stories come from our print and online readers. It is people who are at the scene, places we may not happen to be, that sometimes supply us with vital information.

So if you think a story is too small, think again. Whether it is online or in print, front page or back page, we usually have just the right spot for news pertaining to Stanly County residents near and far.

To our readers, here’s to a happy and productive 2020.

B.J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Contact him at 704-982-2123, bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.