The new year is almost here. This is typically a time for looking forward and making resolutions. But, it can also be a time to look back and reflect.
I decided to do just that by reviewing the 30 top-viewed news stories on The Daily Reporter website.
Perusing the list, I couldn't help but notice a prevailing theme: the majority of the stories consisted of bad news.
Crime topped the list with eight specific accounts.
Six stories detailed accidents, including four fatalities.
Three articles outlined the financial situation at Clay Central-Everly School District.
One documented the fierce weather that hit the Lakes in July.
Rounding out the list of bad news was a correction that Spencer did not make a "top 100 places to live in 2010" list as had been announced in a press release.
These stories accounted for more than 67,000 of the nearly 96,000 page views that the top 30 stories generated. In addition, 486 of the 589 comments related to the negative stories.
Before negativity takes over this column, here's a look at the positive stories that made the list.
Kris Todd spent a night in the Clay County Jail to see firsthand the deficiencies of the facility. Though it doesn't sound positive, the good news is that a new facility is being designed to possibly replace the decrepit jail, subject to the results of a special election.
Other features highlighted a young man turning his life around, a Spencer native who served with the presidential helicopter squadron, the rescue of Phantom the German shepherd from the wild and the hiring of Clay Central-Everly Interim Superintendent Bob Raymer.
A Clay County record farmland purchase and an appliance rebate program also made the good list, while the four remaining stories were neither explicitly positive or negative.
With that rundown in mind, the question remains, "Why are we more apt to notice or focus on negative aspects of life?"
Though I don't have a real answer, I do have another question.
Is it possible to focus on the positives in 2011?
Negatives will always exist, but the extent that negatives affect us relies largely on our perspective.
Though there are not always positives in negative situations, can we look for them anyway? Or maybe instead of dwelling on the negatives of now, can we express hope for more positives in the future?
That is the challenge for everyone in 2011.