What's News . . . Or Not

I got to thinking the other day that, judging from news media reports recently, St. Thomas is in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the world, the state and the community. Very good shape.

According to the New York Times, the government of Syria is killing its own citizens by the dozens as rebels call for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

The Star Tribune reports Gov. Mark Dayton called the Republicans “unfit to govern” after they rejected one of his appointments to a regulatory commission.

And the Pioneer Press reveals that restoration of the Capitol in St. Paul will cost a whopping $241 million.

During the same time, TommieMedia.com tells its viewers and readers that students have found mice in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (AARC).

They reveal that some commuter students – despite the spacious hangout areas in the Anderson Student Center – miss the couches in the old Commuter Center.

And if that isn’t enough, TommieMedia shows a student’s $200,000 Lamborghini being towed by St. Paul authorities who discovered it was parked illegally.

I’m neither mocking nor poking fun of TommieMedia. For 26 years as a reporter in the Twin Cities, I made a living chasing mostly bad news whenever and wherever I could find it.

And I suspect I stretched the string a lot tighter or pushed the envelope a lot further than TommieMedia did. All three of the stories are legitimate. But they do indicate that trouble and turmoil are relative.

“Our job at TommieMedia is to report on things that we think will matter to the students and the community,” says director Ryan Shaver. “Judging by the hits that both the mice and couch stories received, it’s obvious that there was a genuine interest in both topics.”

“We also make it a point to write harder-hitting stories when we can,” he continues. “For example, we ran stories like gaming the system, flooding and same-sex marriage.”

I’ll also admit that the Lamborghini tow was a story in any newspaper or online summary. The picture and cutline have drawn more than 5,000 views and a couple of edgy comments:

“The 1 percent are suffering too, people.”

“Hey. My bike was ‘towed’ last week.”

So, we DO have our sense of humor. Hey, when I was adviser to The Aquin, we displayed a banner, front-page headline about the increase in the parking permit fee for a year – all the way up to $125.