Your news matters

Published 9:49 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just when those of us in the media industry think we know what to expect and know what our readers or viewers want, we get taught a hard lesson. That lesson is we don’t make the news, rather we report the news and the news that is important to our customers.

Tuesday, such a valuable lesson was learned once again.

In an era where we work to report the happenings of this area, we learned of one story that captivated a family, a neighborhood, and for that matter, a city.

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Early Tuesday we received a press release about a theft – a kidnapping of sorts – that happened along the 200 block of Katherine Street.

Kidnappings by any measure are very rare, and yes, very newsworthy, but this one had a twist.

It was reported that an Angel was kidnapped … Angel the Pomeranian.

As we updated the information to our Web site, we began to debate whether or not this story was “newsworthy” enough to be on the front page of the following day’s edition.

Yes, we all hoped for the safe return of dear Angel, but was the alleged kidnapping of a dog — a family pet — worthy of the front page?

But as we were debating this issue, and making plans to expand on the topic, we received welcome news that Angel had been returned — the victim of a simple misunderstanding.

In another release, the city reported police had been contacted “by an individual who advised that Angel was given to her teenage daughter yesterday by a co-worker, after Angel was observed walking on Constance Rd. The caller advised that she had observed a photo and story online and immediately contacted police.

Angel was taken to the Suffolk Animal Shelter and her owners were notified.”

Today, we are all relieved that the “8-pound, cream colored, Pomeranian” — as she was described in the initial release — is home safe. Crisis averted.

Some may think of this as overblown on the part of the city to send out multiple press releases and a photo of Angel, but what if it was your beloved Angel, your beloved family member?

And if the response to a missing dog is so dynamic that it is returned in such a short time, imagine the systems in place to return a missing child or person.

I am a dog owner who admittedly spoils my two miniature dachshunds, and yes, I tell people when asked if I have any children that I am the “proud parent of Ebby and Bailey.”

This story was important to us and important enough to those in our city to make it a big deal. We’re just glad such a story had a happy ending.