Lubbock Lights has a vision, and after six months, our readers are validating it

Sally Taylor and Terry Greenberg in Lubbock, Texas.

Sally Taylor and Terry Greenberg, Oct. 2023, at Dirk’s for a story about chicken fried steak and beer.

Six months ago, we relaunched Lubbock Lights. Back then, I wrote we’d focus on two things:

  • Telling stories in depth.
  • Covering more lifestyle stories. Newspapers used to have feature departments with writers to cover people, food, drink, restaurants, health, pets, faith, music and more.

So far, so good, which I’ll explain in more detail below.

Lubbock Lights is different from other local media. We don’t have to publish a story every day. We look for interesting stories we’ve not seen covered.

We generally won’t cover events the newspaper and TV stations cover. We’re not trying to replace other local media – we’re here to add to what they do. And as I wrote six months ago, like the Texas Tribune, we offer our content to local media. So far KLBK/KAMC’s website has picked up a few of our stories.

Half a year in – how’s it going?

Here are headlines of the top stories we’ve done over the past six months by page views:

Y’all drove the power provider stories

The only pattern or agenda I hope you see is these are interesting stories.

If you add up the two stories about picking a power provider, that issue had the most page views. Plus, we did a few more driving that number a bit higher.

And you may be thinking – other media covered that story.

They did, but we jumped on this early and then saw the reaction on our Facebook page. People shared the story on Facebook, sending it to family and friends. That’s the clearest proof a story resonates with people when they pass it on. It told us people were hungry for information on picking a power provider.

It led to a handful of follow-up stories because y’all found it interesting.

A tragic story that set off alarms

The single most-read story was how fentanyl has become an epidemic in Lubbock woven with the tragic story of a young woman – a former salutatorian – trapped by the drug.

The genesis of this story was when Sgt. Tony Williams of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department did a program on fentanyl for the Rotary Club of Lubbock. I’m a member and invited James Clark, our associate editor, who’s written almost all our stories so far, to listen to Williams.

It led to a story that – again – people shared on social media, wanting to educate people how fentanyl can kill.

Stories should tell you what this means to you

Both picking a power provider and fentanyl share something I preached when running newsrooms for a few decades.

Stories – when possible – should let the reader know what does this mean to me?

Almost everyone in the city of Lubbock had to pick a power provider. Everyone in Lubbock and the South Plains could be touched by fentanyl. We provided important informati0n that in one case could save a life and in the other help you make an important financial decision.

These stories were told in depth. And because we don’t have to publish every day, James and I had time to develop these stories.

Now look at the fourth and sixth most-read stories. Cagle Steaks and a piece about Cece McCasland and her husband Grant, Texas Tech’s new men’s basketball coach.

These are examples of stories you would find in a newspaper’s lifestyle section. While James has written almost all our stories, I wrote those two and Texas Tech student Caleb Kostencki, who’s interning with us, has chipped in a few more stories.

As newspapers have lost staff over the years because of a struggling business model, lifestyle staffs disappeared and the remaining staff don’t have the time to do as many in-depth stories as in the past.

One final thought. The stories on Cameron West’s “Dirk’s” restaurant and Brad Ralston’s Red Feather golf course were written a few years ago during our previous iteration. It’s another example of lifestyle stories that resonate.

That’s the vision we set out to do last October. That vision has been validated by the numbers above. There’s a need for what Lubbock Lights is doing and we’ll continue to do.

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Author: Terry Greenberg- Terry Greenberg is editor of Lubbock Lights. He worked in the newspaper industry for almost 40 years, 33 of those as editor of eight newspapers in five states. He was editor of the Avalanche-Journal from 2006-2015. He now runs his own media company, Greenberg Media Management. He's a Los Angeles native who loves living in Lubbock, Texas.