Monday Briefing: Wholesome happenings (mostly) keep websites popping

Despite what most people think, newspaper reporters are not ghouls.

Most of us don’t get a charge out of sad news, like fires, car wrecks, drownings and the like. To many, it’s the worst part of the job.

There’s really no worse night’s sleep for a reporter than the hours before having to cover a morning funeral, especially if a victim or victims’ family has been complaining about coverage — names that were spelled wrong, details not fully provided by police or whomever, etc. — leading up the event.

We do it because our editor told us to. In other words, it’s part of the job.

And things have been busy, so to speak, in the TimesReview Newsgroup’s coverage area over the last few months, especially the weekends.

That’s why this weekend was so welcome. No one was hurt, maimed or worse. We had a few DWI arrests but hope those who were caught end up being all the safer behind the wheel because of it. (There’s a glass-half-full way to look at it.)

The best part of all, business wise — of course, bad news is good for a media group’s bottom lines — is that site traffic was good.

Yep, the websites were humming along all weekend, despite it being beach weather.

For the curiosity seekers, here were our most-read stories that posted Saturday or Sunday, in order:

Shelter Island fireworks called off, twice

Jason Kidd nabbed on DWI in Southampton Town

Video: 1 minute from the all-classes Greenport HS reunion

Guest Spot about on North Fork becoming like the South Fork

3 busted for DWI Saturday night in Riverhead

Arcade store returns to Greenport

Photos from the Mattituck street fair

Seniors feud over financials at Calverton community

It was nice for a change to see people flocking to stories about street fairs, fireworks and high school reunions, as opposed to car crash photos.

• Managing three websites as the lone editor on a weekend can be quite a task, so I’ve mastered the art of scanning press releases to see if they’ll make for potential news items.Or so I thought I mastered the art.

Below is a funny email exchange I had with reporter Paul Squire Sunday afternoon. Squire was referencing a press release he had attached from the Southampton Town Police Department, which I had already “read.”

From Squire: Damn shame this is way outside our coverage area. I think East Hampton Patch had the scoop.
Me: Yeah, drunken Texan flies into the woods. Good [stuff].
Squire: It’s Jason Kidd the basketball player, not just some drunk Texan! 😀
Me: OMG!

I had read the email quickly to find out where it happened, and where the victim/suspect was from. But I overlooked the name!

We ended up posting something short on the Kidd crash to anyway, even though it happened outside the coverage area. I figured there were enough Knicks fans in Riverhead who would want this news. Plus, it happened in Southampton Town, a chunk of which is in our coverage area. (And I had a nice tid-bit from a source that Kidd had just bought a house in Water Mill.)

I didn’t get any complaints.

Michael White is the editor of the Riverhead News-Review. He can be reached at 298-3200, ext. 152., or [email protected].