In my position as managing editor, it’s my job to assign stories for nwfdailynews.com and the newspaper.
They come to me in a variety of ways. Folks email or call. We hear about events on the police scanner. We find them on Facebook. We scour agendas for local government meetings and send reporters. We look at booking mugs and request arrest reports.
I’ve been doing this a long time and much about this business has changed.
Ten years ago, if this area made a “Top 10” list, it was front page news. There weren’t many of them and that made them, by definition, pretty exclusive. Lately though, we get as many as one or two per week. They’re light reading and minimally researched. It can be hard to decipher which one is a big honor and which is a little mention.
But they’re oddly compelling. They appeal to the part of us that wants to believe the place we choose to call home is somehow superior than other peoples’ homes. These rankings, in small way, validate our choices and give us one more reason to be happy to call the Emerald Coast home.
That said, each time the area makes a new list, the newsroom staff spends a little bit less time on it. We may place it inside the paper, which is a far stretch of real estate from the front page. We may only put it online.
In the last few months, two such studies have deemed the Fort Walton Beach area to be an affordable place to live. We have also been deemed an affordable place to vacation, as well as a top destination for a variety of metrics.
Oddly, we were also named one of the most lustful places in the nation, after a site studied tweets with key words in them. We were puzzled by this, since our area is more closely associated with the Bible Belt than Sin City. But then Online Editor Del Stone offered a likely explanation, guessing that the computerized search engine likely caught on FWB, assuming it meant Friends with Benefits, not Fort Walton Beach.
So we may not actually be that lustful, but don’t tell anyone.
As for the rest of it, they can keep saying it and we’ll keep printing it.
Northwest Florida does have the most beautiful beaches, bountiful accommodations, pockets of affordable living and plenty of fun things to do.
Managing Editor Wendy Victora can be reached at 315-4478 or firstname.lastname@example.org