Want an idea worth stealing? Look no farther than the New York Times.
This week, the newspaper featured “The Real Mayors of New York.” The news peg is the election of New York’s new mayor, but the newspaper of record spun that into inspiring tales of the little people who loom large in their own fiefdoms. From the series, by Emily S. Rueb and Kirk Semple:
Voters elected Bill de Blasio, but New York has always been a city of mayors. Every block has one. So do industries, underworlds and dog parks. The New York Times asked readers for their favorites and got over 200 nominees, including veterans, financiers, pastors, philanthropists, bloggers and a drag queen parade impresario. We chose nine who affect their communities — on the basketball court, among immigrants, in Central Park and beyond.
It’s attractively done and the photos are simple, black-and-white shots that you could emulate. The writing is fantastic, of course. The trick is picking the right folks. I bet you could think of a half-dozen names of prominent citizens in your town. There are many usual suspect who make a difference. But this is different. These are the people you haven’t written about. …
The series is getting a lot of play on social media and folks seem to love it. Here’s one representative comment at the bottom of the series: “Selfless heroes all!! Thanks for reminding us that they are out there….and yes, more please!!” Some readers even suggest this become a weekly series in the Times.
Think that folks in the hinterlands don’t read the New York Times? I already heard from someone at our local senior center who suggested a series on local seniors who were “mayors” of something in their day.
If you put out a call on Facebook for the real mayors of your town, who would you unearth?