Kindness and civility have become frequent topics in the news, and even more so in social media.
While crime stories receive wide readership, typically reaching 20,000 to 25,000 people on our Facebook page, we find that more and more “feel good” stories and more positive news reach the biggest audience.
A couple of examples just this past week bear this out. The most widely read story of the past week was about Eric and Wayne Schmautz, a father and son duo from Mandan who each got an elk within a two-hour span on a bow hunting trip to Montana.
The story reached 52,516 people over a seven-day period via our Facebook page with 13% of those engaging with the story, meaning they liked, commented or shared it.
More impressive is the story of Sanford’s plan to build a heart hospital adjacent to the health system's present facility in downtown Bismarck. That story reached 33,033 people in the first 24 hours the story was available. The engagement rate was an impressive 29.8%. It was the most-shared local story of the week, although not the most commented on.
Another good example of positive news winning the day was the announcement of Judge David Reich being named the first GameChanger for his extraordinary effort with the RADD (Runners Against Destructive Decisions) running club.
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After the announcement was made at the GameChanger Ideas Festival, the story reached 17,956 people via our Facebook page.
I mention these local examples because nationally one of the more widely read and shared stories of the week was that of Ellen Degeneres and former President George W. Bush chatting at a Dallas Cowboys game when both ended up as guests in the suite of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Degeneres mentioned on her television talk show that she and the former president are friends in spite of having very different political views.
People are not just talking or wishing for more civil discussions and positive stories that we can all appreciate and cheer about, they are actually reading and sharing them within their own social networks.
Not every story we publish will be sunny and bright, but I’m pleased to see that those that are find a receptive audience.