A loose steer makes for a great test of local news coverage

Phillipsburg Patrolman Kevin Cyphers attempts to corral the bull Wednesday night after it first got loose. Express-Times File Photo | TIM WYNKOOP
Phillipsburg Patrolman Kevin Cyphers attempts to corral the bull Wednesday night after it first got loose. Express-Times File Photo | TIM WYNKOOP

When local news is at its best, it delivers coverage no one else on the planet it can. So, it’s important to take it seriously.

A friend revisited with me a story from northeastern Pennsylvania earlier this year that exemplified it wonderfully: a steer gets loose from a pen the night before a high school agricultural fair. For more than two days it runs wild. The local press, highlighted by the Easton Express-Times and then the Morning Call when it got particularly ridiculous, chased the high school teachers — friends of mine — and the students and administrators as they chased the steer.

It made great, fun, well-followed news. If lessons can be made from when news outlets make mistakes, they can certainly be made from their triumphs. And, livestock or not, this was a triumph. Follow the news feed from that magical May week and what seemed to work.

Reports from the Express- Times in chronological order, as they made this their story:

That’s coverage.

It’s important to note that while it may seem like silly coverage, taking seriously the reporting of news that can entertain, enlighten and inform your readership is vital. In all of its forms, this is a story and the Express-Times owned it, nudging out coverage by the bigger, mightier, though wounded Morning Call.

Tip of the hat, EET.

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