We’re a newspaper — the key word being news.

By Todd Franko

We’re a newspaper — the key word being news.

For some folks, the word means we report only the serious issues and incidents.

So it’s hard for some people who have that perception to understand when there are items in the paper that are anything but serious.

For example, a few weeks ago, we featured a Poland couple who had just returned to their home after it was leveled by a tree a year ago.

“That’s not news,” one caller yelled.

To us, it’s important to be multifaceted and a part of the daily conversation. I especially enjoy the challenge to be informative as well as to be offbeat and entertaining.

It’s always best when we can do that and bring readers into the mix.

A month or so ago, we launched a romance writing contest.

We started the story about the fictional Leigh Roberts waiting at Cleveland Hopkins Airport for Jeffrey Webster’s arrival and offered readers the opportunity to finish it.

It was timed for Valentine’s Day — and our hearts were filled when 142 readers entered the first-time contest.

Taking first place was Henry Miller. Megan Anderson earned second, and Lynette Arroyo came in third.

We rolled out an Oscars contest about the same time, and it was popular, as usual.

We pulled in thousands of phone calls for folks interested in winning Kelly Pavlik tickets.

In a more patriotic act, last fall, we asked military families to send us names and addresses of loved ones serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in order for readers to share with them some holiday joy.

We had 45 families participate. What we could not measure was how many of you participated in sending those 45 soldiers cards and care packages for the holidays. There were hundreds of you, at least — maybe more than 1,000 of you when the classrooms and the workplaces are added up.

We’re in the midst of two more fun events at The Vindicator.

Currently, we’re set to give away an American Girl doll.

The American Girl doll craze is beyond measure in terms of popularity with little girls.

And in two weeks, the Angels of Easter Seals’ American Girl Doll Fashion Show will take place March 28-29 at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman.

As part of that, The Vindicator is offering Kit Kittredge, one of American Girl’s historical dolls that depicts the life of a 9-year-old girl who is an aspiring reporter growing up during the Great Depression.

Girls are encouraged to write a news story, and we expect we’ll receive hundreds of entries by the time the contest ends in two weeks.

Watch our newspaper or go online for more info.

And this Monday, we launch “Take on Todor” to put a little extra fun in your annual March Madness bracketing.

Fill out our bracket in the Vindy and turn it into us. If your bracket bests the prognostications of sports editor Rob Todor, you might win a $100 gift certificate from Brier Hill Pizza.

Pizza? Dolls? Oscars? Romance writing?

It’s not news, I grant you. We’re just giving you even more reasons to keep turning to The Vindicator — other than for the best news you can find in the Valley.

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