I haven't seen the print edition of The Joplin Globe this morning, but judging from the prominent coverage the story was given on the Globe website, the death of Karen "Granny" Shaffer was handled properly.
The newspaper put one of its best feature writers, Jeremiah Tucker, on the assignment. He struck just the right tone, beginning with the lead, "Everyone knew Karen Shaffer simply as Granny."
Tucker maintained that tone throughout, allowing people who knew Ms. Shaffer in person or from her television appearances to see the person they knew and allowing those who never had the opportunity to meet her a chance to find out about a woman who made a powerful impact in the area.
This is what small-town journalism is all about. I hope this is a portent of coverage of future prominent deaths in the Globe's pages.
UPDATE: Now that I have looked at the print edition of The Globe, I was heartened to see the page-one exposure given to the Granny Shaffer feature...unfortunately, that positive step by Globe editors was negated by the placement of a tabloid-style article on a man whose finger was found in a pint of frozen chocolate custard in North Carolina. My rule of thumb (pardon the pun) when I was editing was...If the story is in your backyard, then thoroughly cover it and give it prominent play. That is just good old-fashioned journalism, but leave the sensational news from outside the area off page one or out of the paper altogether.
If you want to give the Globe credit and say well, maybe there wasn't anything else worthwhile to put on page one, then take a look at page 8A on the wasted page with the "News to Go" feature on it. In the World briefs, only two paragraphs are devoted to: Determined Iran tells U. N. it will press on with nuclear technology.
And you can't even use the excuse that the frozen custard story might sell a few extra papers. It is on the bottom of page one so it cannot be seen from any newsstand. You can't see it unless you have already picked up the paper.