Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tragedy as news

You may have seen coverage of Mia Diaz's funeral on all three stations recently. WNEP seemed to lead the way in coverage, probably because they had video of Diaz from a previous story. WBRE and WYOU popped up as well, although their coverage wasn't quite as extensive.

Was it newsworthy?

Mia died because she was hit by a minivan while crossing the street on her way to school. Whether this was preventable or not is for the cops to decide. But people die every day. Some die of old age, some die of disease, and some die at the hands of themselves or, in Mia's case, other people. And you rarely see this kind of coverage for the man who died when his car flipped over on the interstate or the woman who died because she had a terminal illness.

I can't say what it was that made Mia Diaz's accident and funeral a rundown-topping event. Maybe it was the show of overwhelming support from her friends and classmates. Maybe it was because she was a young girl who was full of promise, but died before her time. Maybe it was the silver lining in the sadness, that others would live thanks to Mia's donated organs. Or maybe it was because it was a slow news day.


Anonymous Tom Carten said...

I can't say what it was that made Mia Diaz's accident and funeral a rundown-topping event.

It's all those reasons you mentioned in the last paragraph. There is sometimes a magic balance that keeps a story on top; if one or more elements were missing, it would be gone the next day. If another story that was more of a grabber came along, that would capture the top spot and have the legs to stay fresh for days.

The news pixie with the wand hovers over the newsroom and nobody knows upon which story it will sprinkle its magic dust.

Thus has it always been, always will be.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a little George Carlinesque Howard, don't you think? It happens to be a slow news day around here most of the time. That's not why there was such extensive coverage. It was because a young person's tragic death touches more people. And any opportunity for increased contact is the name of the game. "Extra, Extra, read all about it", ya know?

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This same issue came up in Sept. when William Evans of Susquehanna County lost his life fighting in IRAQ. All of the scranton and binghamton stations were there. WNEP did a live shot at noon, and again that evening with WBRE with the announcement of five more deaths in Iraq. His funeral did grab a lot of attention, but the others didn't. Whats going on, I don't honestly know.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Northernman said...

The one thing that was noticebly absent was the details surrounding this tragedy. Was it the girl who darted in front of the minivan? Was it a careless driver? Was a combination? It was a tragedy, but did allow someone else to "prosper" by way of organ donation. At least that piece of the story was newsworthy.

9:00 AM  

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