But it's more than that. "Shots fired!" suggests violence, crime, mayhem. That's not really what this blog entry is all about. It does, however, point to what people want to read, their protestations fo the contrary.
Here it is, early afternoon, and the "Most Popular" story on our Website so far today is about "Shots fired" near Kingston High School last night. The story runs a few paragraphs and it appears in the top left corner of the second page of our print edition. It's several stories down the list on dailyfreeman.com. Yet it's the one that's been most-read on the site.
This story didn't rise to the level of the front page of the newspaper. Certainly not the top of the front page. But reader interest on the Web suggests that had the editors put it on the top of the front page, we would have sold more newspapers today.
My point is, when we do print more serious crimes or other controversial stories "above the fold" on the front page, we get the usual array of calls and letters from people alleging, "You're only interested in selling newspapers."
Fact is, we are interested in selling newspapers and I'll not make any excuses for it. But if we were "only interested in selling newspapers," stories like "Shots fired near KHS" would be spread across the front page every day, even though in this case, at deadline last night, it wasn't conclusive enough to be there.