We ran a small story Wednesday about Winona Lake being named “one of the coolest towns in the U.S.”

A reader ran across the story on the internet and tipped us off to it, so we put a small item in the newspaper.

The item appeared on OnlyInYourState.com.

The item notes the town’s outdoor trails and beaches, Beachy the Bison and the former Chicago Boys Club as sites to see.

It says that Winona hosts several festivals and races in the summer, and “Winona Lake has everything you'd want in a town – gorgeous scenery, great local shopping, incredible eateries and a whole lot of character.”

OnlyInYourState.com claims it “takes a fun, informal approach to helping readers discover things to do in each of the 50 states.”

Readers might have thought we should have done more with such a positive story about Winona Lake, so I thought it might be instructional to provide a little more information.

OnlyInYourState.com is what is commonly referred to as a “click bait” site. It has dozens of stories about hundreds of towns in every state in the U.S.

I spent a few minutes searching the site for other local references in lists of superlatives.

Bourbon and Mentone were listed in the top 10 of “Small Towns In Indiana That Offer Nothing But Peace And Quiet.”

Warsaw made the cut a number of times.

Warsaw is No. 7 on the list of “12 Majestic Spots In Indiana That Will Make You Feel Like You’re At The North Pole.”

It was No. 9 out of “10 Amazing Flea Markets In Indiana You Absolutely Have To Visit.”

It’s No. 6 of the “10 Places in Indiana That Look Just Like Christmas Cards in the Wintertime.”

It’s No. 6 on the “9 Best Places To Spot A Ghost In Indiana” and was No. 9 of the “9 Swimming Spots That Have The Clearest, Most Pristine Water In Indiana.”

Warsaw’s “Incredible Salt Cave In Indiana That Completely Relaxes You” is featured. The original salt cave closed, but there’s a scaled-down version in the back room of the Latte Lounge at 108 N. Buffalo.

Noa Noa was in the list of “These 10 Restaurants In Indiana Have The Best Seafood EVER.”

Winona Lake’s Boathouse was also featured in “10 Themed Restaurants That Will Transform Your Indiana Dining Experience.”

Cerulean was No. 9 in “These 12 Unique Restaurants In Indiana Will Give You An Unforgettable Dining Experience” and also made No. 5 of the “10 Restaurants In Indiana You Should Consider Taking Your Dad For Father’s Day.”

Blue Heron Guest House was No. 10 of the “10 Unique Places To Stay In Indiana That Will Give You An Unforgettable Experience.”

Winona Lake also was featured as No. 7 in the list of “18 Rare Photos Taken In Indiana During The Great Depression.”

There was probably more, if I had taken the time to diligently search. Virtually every town in Indiana is mentioned in one way or another as the best at something.

None of this is meant to detract from any of the aforementioned attributes of our area. Of course, Winona Lake and Warsaw have a lot to offer and are wonderful places to live.

I just wanted readers to understand why we didn’t make a big deal out of the “Coolest Town In America” story.

I see websites like this as mildly troublesome. They basically take information from travel guides or chamber of commerce websites and craft these lists to get people to visit the site. Beyond that there is no research. No interviews. No visits.

The more clicks they get, the more they can charge for advertising. It’s not as if it’s “fake news.” The things you read are real, it’s just that they are arbitrary. There’s no real criteria for choosing what is or isn’t the “best” in any given category.

Sites like these dilute more credible “best of” lists compiled by reputable survey firms or magazines.

For example, just this week, Zimmer Biomet was named among Forbes magazines “America’s Best Large Employers of 2017.”

The company was ranked among 500 U.S. employers as well as in the categories of Large Employers and Healthcare Equipment and Services.

Forbes does this every year.

The results are based on anonymous, independent surveys of 30,000 employees across 25 industries. All companies surveyed had 1,000 or more employees. The survey asks how likely employees would be to recommend their employer to someone else. It also asks them to rate other industry employers.

According to Forbes, the employees were contacted anonymously online without the involvement of their employers, and they were unaware the survey was for Forbes.

A story about the survey appears on page 2D.

All-in-all, it’s just positive news about our community. Some of it just carries a little more weight.