Our Opinion: The Dart: Times staff adds new community feature

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2008

Eagle-eyed readers noticed The Times trying something a little different in Thursday&8217;s edition of the newspaper. In a story headlined &8220;Alongside the tracks,&8221; managing editor Bobby Mathews stretched his wings a little and explored a stretch of Demopolis that many people don&8217;t even think about &8212; Franklin Street.

That story came about when the news staff at The Times instituted &8220;the dart.&8221; The concept is simple: take a map of the city and throw a dart at it. Where the dart lands, that&8217;s where the story is.

The reasons for doing this are twofold: 1) Let a young reporting staff experiment with different types of storytelling. In Thursday&8217;s piece, Mathews said he kept the writing styles of Pulitzer winners Rick Bragg and Tom Wolfe in mind when he sat down to write. The result was a nuanced piece of writing &8212; something we plan to bring to our audience more often. And 2) To more fully explore and understand Demopolis and the people who make up the city &8212; to seek out stories that are worth telling and share them with our readers.

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The late syndicated columnist Lewis Grizzard once wrote that a community newspaper should be, above all else, a reflection of the community. By using features like &8220;the dart,&8221; we are trying to dig deeper into our city and give an accurate reflection.