One of my favorite local writers, Julia O'Malley, has been notably absent from our newspaper's pages since welcoming a baby. Her profiles captured so much of what makes Anchorage and the USA special.
Vietnamese Refugee camp, Galang Island
I remember a newspaper editor in my past discouraging human interest stories, but there's a layered effect such pieces offer that hard news can never touch, in my opinion. Policy and infrastructure necessarily divide, not to mention boring me into the occasional coma. Reading about strangers makes everyone you meet seem more accessible and heroic.
If your paper doesn't offer much in the way of gritty interviews, reverently reading the obituaries can offer similar comfort and inspiration. (Did I ever tell you about the teacher who kept every class list over the span of her career, and methodically rotated her students' names as she prayed her daily rosary throughout her life? What a testament to our faith.)