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Sometimes, the story really is ‘good’

The majority of a reporter’s work consists of reporting on the daily news beats in the community – government meetings, development, crime, court proceedings and so on and so forth.

These make up the bulk of a journalist’s work because they’re the important everyday things that the community needs to know about.

But every once in a while, you happen upon an unexpected story that grips you and you get the honor to share that with the community.

That was the case with the story of Troy University professor Joey Arnold and student Ben Barnett.

The first introduction to their story came in September when Barnett organized a fundraiser to help Arnold, who is blind, get a new device that would help him see more clearly. Arnold lost the device in a house fire. Barnett helped bring attention to the event by participating in a 24-hour bike ride on the same bike he had travelled across America on that summer to raise awareness and money for people with disabilities.

That’s a good story as it is, but that seemed to be the end of it. But it wasn’t. Arnold and his mother Nell recently raised funds to get Barnett a new bike after his was stolen the very night after the fundraiser.

Weaving together these two stories of highs and lows was a bit of a challenge, but a very rewarding one.

It’s rare to get to write a story so deeply resonating and hopeful about the human condition. Being able to share such a touching story with the community is a sobering privilege.

It’s important for us as reporters to remember that these stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in our community are important to feature alongside our coverage of the traditional news items.

It’s important for reporters to remember that our job is not just to update our communities on what’s going on politically, but to remind them what everyday citizens in the community are doing for good as well.

Sometimes it’s the little people that make the biggest and best stories, and with the help of news coverage, a little bit of kindness can go a long way.