Unusual news

With so many things going on around campus, you might ask how the Torch decides on its content every week. What exactly makes a story newsworthy?

Many factors contribute to a story’s newsworthiness, including timing, significance, proximity, prominence and human interest.

Along these same lines, the Torch staff likes to say: if it’s unusual, it’s news.

When deciding if a story is newsworthy, the Torch takes into consideration the frequency with which similar events occur on campus.

In the last month, the Torch has given significant coverage—both online and in print—to the Feb. 1 Venlo shooting and the stabbing in Brophy Hall on Feb. 23.

Some readers have asked why we’ve “made such a big deal” out of events that occur frequently in other parts of the state. In cities like Flint and Detroit, shootings and stabbings may not even make the news let alone front page headlines.

So, why have these violent acts dominated our content this month? Simply put, folks, this isn’t Flint.

Readers, we attend Ferris State University in Big Rapids. Up until a few weeks ago, the most violent thing happening around here was someone accidently slamming his/her tray down at the dining hall.

Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but all in all, we’re fortunate to go to school in a safe community. We’re fortunate to live in a place where shootings and stabbings aren’t the norm.

Based on the safety standards set by our community and university, law enforcement and media responded to these incidents appropriately.

If this type of violence was more common, perhaps the response would have been different. For the sake of this community and my fellow students, though, I hope we never have to find out.

I hope when violence occurs at Ferris it always makes headlines because that means it’s unusual.