By Katie Nix, ONA Intern
For the last year and a half, the Toledo Blade has been running a feature in its Tuesday edition known as the “Most Wanted” page, where suspects are printed in the paper in coordination with county sheriffs’ departments.
“We’ve been credited with aiding in the arrests of about 750 people,” said the Blade’s finance director, Bill Southern. “So I think it does pretty well.”
Southern said the reason he thinks it does so much good is because of the paper’s high household penetration rate of 79% that makes them fifth in the nation.
“We’re everywhere,” Southern said.
Using household penetration as a gauge, such a page should do well in any community that has a paper reaching a healthy percentage of residents, Southern said.
However, the idea did not come from the staffers of the Blade.
“We actually stole this idea from another paper on the east coast,” Southern said. “We thought it was just such a great idea and then took it to the sheriffs’ departments, and they did, too.”
The departments provide new information and pictures each week for the Blade, so their page designers have time to format the information along with the independent ads that run on the page. This new information will usually also share who from previous issues has been caught.
“I think it’s a good feature because if you look at studies that have been done, people are really interested in what other people are doing,” Southern said. “They want to know how much their neighbor’s house sold for, the police blotters, obituaries and things like that. We just want to make sure our readers are getting good, useful information.”