LA CROSSE, WIS — In news media, getting people to read articles on a daily basis is not an easy task. You have to balance the actual events of the day with what people are actually interested in, and many times those things just don’t line up even a little bit.
For years, just stating the most pertinent reason or daily happening was enough: “DNR at Odds with GOP Over Restarting Wolf Hunting” or “Mississippi Valley Conservancy Holds Online Presentation Concerning Gray Wolves in Wisconsin”.
But answering the question “Why are we reporting this today?” just isn’t enough to reel people in anymore. Be honest… would you give a shit if someone told you MVC was talking to people about wolves online one day? No. But we guarantee if you’re someone who’s spent time in the woods, the thought may have come across your mind: “What would I do if I saw an animal in person that could potentially hurt and/or kill me if it wanted to?”
That’s where the genius comes in. Instead of immediately answering the fundamental question of why a particular piece of content enters the local news landscape in the first place and boring everyone to death, why not just skip to that question most people are thinking of or would talk about at the water cooler?
Long story short, we saw the article “What you should do if you see a wolf”, were blown away by how seemingly random it was on the surface level, and now we can’t stop thinking of alternatives that also could have caught the eye – and the clicks – of readers:
- What you should do if you see a wolf and you owe him like 15 or 20 dollars
- What you should do if you see a wolf and he’s offering you to try marijuana for the first time
- What you should do if you see a wolf but he doesn’t “feel seen”
- What you should do if you see a wolf committing tax fraud
- What you should do if you see a wolf NOT committing tax fraud
- What you should do if you see a wolf and he’s just eaten your grandmother, and you’re Red Riding Hood
- What you should do if you see The Wolf of Wall Street on your child’s “recently watched” list
- What you should do if you see a wolf and he’s trying to talk you into life insurance
- What you should do if you’re in Soviet Russia where wolf sees you!
- What you should do if you see a wolf and he wants to play monopoly
The answer to all of those, coincidentally just like in the real article, could be “Stay calm and you’ll be alright.” Then, we realized this really could be branched out into anything…
- What you should do if you see a white guy with a mullet who isn’t ashamed
- What you should do if you’ve hijacked a Boeing 727 and are now flying over the Pacific Northwest in 1971 with a parachute and $200,000 cash
- What kind of bank account you should open if you accidentally ingest 700 pennies
- What you should do if you accidentally chat someone up on the bus who won’t shut up
- What blunt instrument you should use if your co-worker asks if you’re “working hard or hardly working”
- What you should do if you can’t tell if you’re Dermot Mulroney or Dylan McDermott
- What type of lighter fluid you should use if someone offers you Ted Nugent concert tickets
- What you should do if your parents eat your edibles
- What you should do if the squirrels in your elf-owned cookie business housed in a cartoon tree start unionizing
Listen – you know us – if it’s now totally cool to throw out random headlines barely tied to a news hook, we are ALL for that. It’s kind of our bread and butter. And honestly, we’ll take solving the puzzle of where a random headline came from over constantly writing about COVID-19 or bad politicians any day.
Anyway Local News Media, what should we do if we see a wolf and it’s asking us to join its multi-level marketing scheme?
La Crosse Times Staff contributed to this article.