The Popularity of Patch’s Police Log

Patch offers readers all things local, but by golly, nothing can grab more attention than the coveted Police Log that runs several times throughout the week. Why? Can someone tell me the reason why?

It’s been nearly two years since the Narragansett-South Kingstown Patch site launched our grass roots on-line source for all things local. I was and still am thrilled to be a part of it!

From my very first "Family Tides" column, I've smiled whenever folks in town discuss our Internet presence for all the latest, local happenings. I love to acknowledge the time, effort and journalistic thought that go into making this type of 24-hour news source resonate with our interested and supportive reader base.

As an author and writer, I continually set professional goals for myself and measure them throughout the year. My niche is family-humor based pieces, for which I have no problem putting myself (and sometimes my unsuspecting family!) on that very public front line, where I know accolades as well as criticism are just part of the job.

I’ve written off the cuff, from the heart, when feeling ecstatic, confused, vulnerable, feisty or frustrated, but no matter what personal or community-based subjects I write and share with our readers, I always, always do so from a place of honesty and pleasure — meaning that even if I reach only one, single reader with my thoughts, I’ve spent my time wisely and look forward to my next written piece.

Getting back to those professional goals of mine — when I was a newbie writer more than 15 years ago, when anything I wrote was published, I would wait anxiously for some type of feedback. (Silly me!) Regardless of whether it was positive or negative, if a comment was made, that meant someone was reading my work. Writing for magazines, newspapers and other printed professional venues means there is usually a one-month wait to see if someone, anyone, will chide in about the submitted piece.

Writing for on-line publications such as Patch changes that wait time completely, because readers can chime in with praise or criticism in just seconds. 

And in addition to that, writers can see where their articles rate in the popularity poll, because the five most read pieces are listed for all to see.

I used to joke with my editor, Steve Greenwell, about how some day, one of my stories would beat the coveted Police Log by a landslide. He, being the great guy that he is, assured me it wasn’t my writing style or material that was losing to this weekly report of people who were busted, it was simply the nature of the beast — curiosity as to who did what in our own backyard and got caught doing it. That would probably always would be the draw.


I won’t lie to you — I’ve had a very difficult time coming to terms with this whole Police Log popularity thing. I’ve scoured dozens of other Patch sites and found that this is the case all across the country, not just here in South County. 

That, in some diminutive way, has offered me a tad bit of comfort, but in all honesty, my subconscious and heart tell me I should be bothered by what this says about the state of priorities in our communities and in what we really feel is compelling to follow.

So loyal readers, I’m going out on a limb today by asking you all to take a few quick seconds to respond as to why you feel Police Log is the most popular read on Patch. I promise I won’t be offended if you want to spit on my column or other “local people and business-oriented” articles that I produce — I just want to understand what it is, other than curiosity, that beckons folks to be so enamored with this piece of the Patch puzzle.  

Running While Mommy September 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM
That's kinda funny because I can tell you with full honesty, I have only looked at it on Patch twice! Now, don't get me wrong, the Narragansett Times comes to my house. I don't necessarily read the whole thing but I do peruse it. It is interesting to see, as you said, what is happening in our backyard. I am guessing that is what the attraction is for most people.
rappindan September 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM
The log is popular because people like to know who got in trouble. I like it because it let's me know if a friend is in trouble and needs help or if some idiot I don't like did something stupid. It also gives me a sense of relief to know my name isn't in there. In all honesty people like to be nosey and also need a good laugh now and then. You must admit that some of these records are funny.
Cheryl Butler September 28, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Thank you, Tom, Nicole and rappindan................appreciate your insight and agree! Have a great weekend and stay out of trouble, OK?? ha ha
M. A. Waterbury September 28, 2012 at 01:50 PM
from the beginning it seems, human beings like to punish others and/or feel superior to them by thinking (erroneously) that they are "above" such behavior(s), and therefor so-called "deviant" behavior must be punished (by a willing society). People go berserk when folks like OJ or Casey Anthony are released forgetting that there is a greater judge-no one really gets away with anything as we all answer for our crimes of omission (or commisson) eventually. I don't like the snarky, judgmental tone of the editorializing layered on top of the cop log and I berate myself for reading it. Healthy, happy people don't do the stuff listed in the logs and I thank God that life is NOT fair, for perhaps it could be me doing those unacceptable things. I've had my moments: if the moon had been full, had PMS, just bounced a check, had some wine in my system, and my hubby called me an idiot while I was slicing an avocado, God only knows what could have happened with that knife in my hand....
Lisa herbert September 28, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I can't explain it logically or well.... I really like your columns...but I also like to check the police log...I also read " high brow" type novels...but secretly watch crappy TV shows. Wish I knew what the draw was...can't honestly say...but I must go now and see what the housewives of wherever are doing on Bravo...


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