Clearwater — Mercy. 20 new ads have met the deadline. 20The September issue of On Top of the World News has already swelled to over 60 pages, which is huge for this time of year. Snowbird she won’t arrive until November.
If you’ve spent time in Pinellas County, you know On Top of the World. Active over the age of 55 life community and nothing else. 10,000 inhabitants pass the Cerulean Grove sculpture on their way to chalets and castle-like condominiums. Choose from 175 clubs, 4 tennis courts, 2 pools and more.
The community has one newspaper and it’s a good one. No, literally. Zero bad news. Nothing critical, combative, or controversial. It’s not a word that starts with D and ends with TH. Not even a picture of the chicken bones on the buffet table. No corpses!
The monthly miracle unfolded on an August afternoon under a banner reading “Only Good News Since 1968.” A yellow note hung from the front desk through the glass door.
There is currently only one person working in the newsroom. If Doug is on the phone, he will be with you immediately. Please sit down and be patient.
I’m Doug Cates, the editor. He is currently the only paid employee of the On Top of the World Press Association supported by his 80 volunteer reporters. Doug, he’s 55, but he doesn’t live here. He doesn’t have to mix work and pleasure.
He slapped his palms on the printout table and worked his way down the row like a spoke model of a rare car. Two women leaned against sheets with red pens, searching for typos, awkward words, and awkward sentences.
“So Section 1 is all On Top of the World news,” he said. “Section 2 is clubs and groups, travel clubs, clowns, and baby boomers.”
Pet of the month? Mr. Mitten, please come. Memorial to pets? No way. Are you talking about vacations? Only when returning. Newspapers don’t flag empty units for potential thieves. On these pages, certain memorized words have a lighter tone. For example, the “smell” of garbage becomes the “smell” of garbage.
The ad bar is just as tall. No life insurance. No funeral home. No cemetery, no lawyers. no financial advisor Because it makes people think about money: bad. Liquor ads are fine.
“Everyone is ‘supported’ and needs help, so we have advertisers coming to the front counter thinking they’re going to make big bucks here,” says Doug. “Here he can get 30 people to advertise Medicare, but we don’t do that.”
Doug was wary of my visit, not because he didn’t want his volunteers to get the attention they deserve, but because he didn’t have the space or time to submit more submissions. Do not call Doug! Did you take it? I promised to say so. Thank you very much.
I came to Doug’s newsroom because I wanted to know a little bit of the bliss of avoiding destruction by letting go of this modest self-restraint. Ruin! Ruin everywhere! Should I list the reasons? I’m not the only one feeling exhausted by the bad news. According to his 2022 report for the Reuters Institute, people are turning their backs on politics and coverage of the pandemic. Former readers say the news is offensive, burns them out, and leads to arguments.
But what are the alternatives? Could it be willful ignorance that got us into these dire problems in the first place?
I flipped through some of the On Top of the World News issues my colleagues covered.
Bingo is back!
Nearly 400 Shirley Temple dolls need to be sent to good families to be cared for
What is corned beef in the first place?
Farmer’s market. Irish club parade. Blues Brothers Tribute. Giant Mysterious Plant — Zucchini? Halloween pet costume contest. Food truck!paper The most serious comments were a gentle reminder that we weren’t allowed to use the grill on the balcony and an article recommending a scam.
On my second visit, I met retired history teacher Bob Littner, 79. He writes a softball column.
“At first I thought it was condescending,” he said of the good news only rule. has arrived. “We are here to enjoy life,” Bob decided.
No one is forgotten here. They are experienced citizens with a lot of life experience and keen citizens who know the dangers of the world.
Cheer is a lifetime sales position.
One night, the Philosophy Club met next door to Doug’s office. Doug remembered what he had heard.
“Did you know that our newspaper doesn’t carry bad news?” said the woman. Everyone let out a soul-splitting laughter that penetrated Doug’s ears in the next room.
Doug came in.
“Do you have a problem?” he said.
The room became quiet.
“I don’t know why you’re laughing,” he said, repeating his defense. “You can’t go anywhere without bad news. It’s in your car. It’s in every newspaper, every magazine. There’s nothing that doesn’t start with a good story, a worrying story, they’re on the billboards, they’re on the street signs.
“There are no political candidate ads in this paper. You’re not getting bad news You’re not getting disappointing news, sad news You’re not getting news of war You’re not in an accident Who’s injured, who’s dead I don’t know if I did.
“I’m glad my community can pick up the newspaper and realize that it’s just good news,” he said. ”
There’s more to On Top of the World than just the sun and rainbows. A little about the grill? That was the fuss that was picked up here in the Tampa Bay Times, which actually prints a spicy story. Fire hazard. They stood up and waved their poster boards around.
In 2015, a fire (a stove, not a grill) forced 70 people to evacuate the complex. Foreclosures, unpaid bills, family dramas, whatever happens in a community where people live together.
And yes, the d word is real. The most frequent requests Doug receives are obituaries. People want to see if their neighbors have crossed. Go to The Times for that, he says. Go to the funeral home website. Once the obituary appears in On Top of the World News, that’s it. What will happen? Readers skip all the good news. They flip directly to d__th.
For the record, Doug did not invent this mission. Newspaper shop. He has worked for other newspapers and even covered sports for the New York Times. Then, 14 years ago, he had a job interview with Sidney Koren.
Koren launched his post-war housing business at a time when demand was booming. In the 1960s, he acquired his 500-acre orange grove in the highlands of Pinellas County. It was … on top of the world. After that, he advanced to Ocala.
Coren, who died in 2009, established the Good News Policy. His son, Kenneth Coren, is the president of the community and publisher of the newspaper. The archive lives on, bound in a leather book. From 1974: “Anne and Dick Krause enjoyed an eight-day Thanksgiving vacation with her daughter and family.”
Residents have always made paper dough. Once a year he holds a journalism workshop. He teaches new recruits to understand what makes their area special, and avoids recreating the same old meeting minutes. he brings wine
Some volunteers have writing experience, while others are complete beginners. There’s Tara Still, 64, an accountant whose mother charged her 25 cents for grammatical errors, and she knows that her sentences shouldn’t end with prepositions. Her 71-year-old Joanne Cordes has the delicate task of reporting impartially from the Democratic Club. Writers feel the buzz that comes from scooping up information, meeting deadlines, and watching people read articles by the pool.
Maybe this happy newspaper isn’t about avoidance, which we know is futile. Maybe it’s about diving headlong into existence. About age transparency. How, if you walk in enough darkness, it’s time to turn on the light?
I asked Doug why he got the job.
“Would you like a funny story?”
Sidney Coren added Doug’s phone number during the interview. Doug explained that this was the Jewish lucky he number, but he wasn’t quite sure why. Coren told Doug he would make a difference and hired him on the spot.
85-year-old Glenda Greenwald and former language teacher counter.
“Life,” she said. That’s what the numbers mean. Chai. alive.
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