10 Stories
June 2, 2006 10:21 AM   Subscribe


"The media and the UN share an interest in getting information about what is happening in our world to the public," says Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. "But journalists are often inundated with stories, all competing for their -- and the public's -- attention. Our aim is to make it easier for them to see that important issues do not fade from the headlines."
Holy uphill battle, Batman.
posted by chicobangs at 10:29 AM on June 2, 2006

11) Fireman saves cat from tree.
posted by kcalder at 10:39 AM on June 2, 2006

12) The gays are getting married!!111!!
posted by ND¢ at 10:42 AM on June 2, 2006

Nice to see there's at one positive news story at #9.
posted by GuyZero at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2006

The trouble is that 'bad stuff happening in Africa' news is, at this point, just a bit... well, boring. A harsh thing to say, sure -- but I think, if we're honest, we've all skipped over it in our newspapers occasionally, or even often. It just ends up feeling somehow hackneyed and repetitive; like endless stories about climate change or whatever other Big Important Issues, there's just not really anything new happening to sustain anyone's interest. No matter how huge a story might be, do you really want to read about it every day?
posted by reklaw at 10:44 AM on June 2, 2006

13) Woman Murdered, White
posted by I Foody at 10:44 AM on June 2, 2006

I wish there was a little more than 2 paragraphs behind each link. I was expecting a bit more information. Oh well, at least it's letting me know, I guess.
posted by dead_ at 10:45 AM on June 2, 2006

Amen, I Foody, the US media can't seem to get over Natalie Holloway. It's been a year and I see at least a story a week about her disappearance. Meanwhile, here in Baltimore, the death toll stands at 105. Sucks to be a black man.
posted by OmieWise at 10:49 AM on June 2, 2006

There sure is a lot shit going on that you do not hear about. But you cann't really stop people wanting to read tabloid newspapers full of trivia about so called celebs.
posted by wildster at 10:50 AM on June 2, 2006

OmieWise, that link is unbelievable! That deserves a front page post, the cumulative reading is like a black genocide in Baltimore.
posted by jonson at 11:34 AM on June 2, 2006

No matter how huge a story might be, do you really want to read about it every day?

The major news media rehashes the same stories day after day, anyway, whether they're important or not - do I really need to read about OJ Simpson (or Gary Condit, or Michael Jackson) every day during their trial? Does it really need to be on the front page? A cute blonde co-ed goes missing in Yosemite and it's all over the big five networks at 6 and 11, but a thousand people die per day in another country and at best it's on PBS.

Frankly, I'd rather see a rehash of a report on the status of [HIV|global warming|ozone hole|famine in Africa|genocide|any other issue where lives are at stake] than a story on some overblown yellow journalistic scandal regarding some washed-up celebrity who I otherwise haven't thought about in ten years.
posted by Feral at 11:39 AM on June 2, 2006

14) Crystal Mangum
posted by mischief at 12:13 PM on June 2, 2006

I think Bush should be told.
posted by econous at 12:30 PM on June 2, 2006

jonson, I followed your suggestion.
posted by OmieWise at 12:56 PM on June 2, 2006

The problem with these stories is not that they aren't important, it's that they aren't new.

Take this: Famous person gets cancer: Day 1 it's news, Day 74 it isn't. When Kylie Minogue got it, there was a flurry at the start, big silence, a "I'm a bit better" in the middle and then "hurrah!" at the end.

The stories talked about here are long-running, intractable problems. Without high-profile developments, they're going to get very little coverage.

This isn't the whole picture -- the middle east gets coverage despite meeting these criteria -- but it's a crucial part. Plus editors are dicks.
posted by bonaldi at 1:10 PM on June 2, 2006

Yeah, exactly, bonaldi. The trouble with what some people wants news to be is that they want it to value what is 'important' over what's new, when that simply isn't what it's for. News has to be new.
posted by reklaw at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2006

Yes, and that's new, not important, news. Your post is not-new, important news.
posted by bonaldi at 1:55 PM on June 2, 2006

If it is happening currently, how is it not new?
posted by ND¢ at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2006

News has to be new.

Apparently, the newspapers that had daily front-page coverage of the Michael Jackson trial from arrest to acquittal didn't get the memo.
posted by Feral at 2:21 PM on June 2, 2006

If it is happening currently, how is it not new?
Because it's nothing new. Think of it like this: 50 people died in hospitals yesterday of heart attacks. 50 people died in them today. 50 people will die in them tomorrow. That's happening currently, but it's not news.

If, tomorrow, 3000 people died in hospitals because of heart attacks -- hey, suddenly that's news. See the difference?

Apparently, the newspapers that had daily front-page coverage of the Michael Jackson trial from arrest to acquittal didn't get the memo
Two things:
1. Trials by their nature have new things every day.
2. I guess that's only in the US. In the UK market, there's much more competition, and a drive for the newest news. Follow up stories, like Jackson day four, go inside. Here he only got on the front when something big happened.
posted by bonaldi at 2:51 PM on June 2, 2006

The basic premise of new news makes sense in itself, but doesn't wholly explain what I see on the networks. The perennial killer bee updates (since the '70s) and two-years-late technology news suggest that the rules can be flexible. If an issue is important, by all means, let's catch up with it in progress if need be.

If they can follow a VW going 25MPH during a police pursuit, live, lord knows there's room for actual stories.
posted by evil holiday magic at 3:39 PM on June 2, 2006

Yes, though now you're facing the problem of distance. If you don't have new news, you use filler. And you always choose local filler over far-away filler.

The trick that needs to be done to get these stories back on the agenda is to have events come out of them. I suspect this list is one such -- there's a story, albeit a pretty dull one that's a step above filler, in the very list itself.

Here's what I mean: take #1 on the list. That will never, ever make a story anywhere. But find an aid worker who hails from your target newspaper's market, sell her to that paper as a case study, sell just it when something interesting is happening there -- a last-minute appeal drive, the first classrooms reopening, anything -- and it'll get play somewhere.
posted by bonaldi at 3:49 PM on June 2, 2006

If it is happening currently, how is it not new?

Like breathing?

I'm not condoning the sentiment, but the man is right about the pattern.
posted by dreamsign at 5:43 PM on June 2, 2006

bonaldi nails it. If you want new things, read news. If you want important things, go to a library.

But holy crap, I had no idea the death toll in the Congo was that high.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 11:50 AM on June 3, 2006

1) Liberia's struggle to rebuild after a savage, 14-year civil war left it near anarchy.

This weekend I had the privilege to be visiting Robben Island at Cape Town, South Africa, with the Liberian Truth and Rights Commission. (Robben Island is a former prison, which held many political prisoners including Nelson Mandela and some of the other founders of South African democracy. Many of the guides at the Island are former political prisoners.)

The purpose of their visit to this and other sites in the country was to understand what S. Africa has done, to use it as a model of how they could acknowledge and educate about Liberia's recent past...
posted by whatzit at 4:31 AM on June 9, 2006

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