The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and...Ah!

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It says a lot for our modern-day news that a vehicle, likely transporting at least a small group of people, taking a plunge off a cliff is actually considered "filler."  I have to agree with Greta on this, though, I've never actually seen a headline dealing with a bus plunge (though I know now it's just used as a term to describe any accident that can be covered briefly yet thoroughly).  Regardless, I can already anticipate the reaction this piece's dark humor will motivate from many of its readers:

Reporters are jerks.

However, this is not the impression I was left with.  There's nothing disrespectful or flippant about the coverage of the event.  Reporters can't help it if "bus" and "plunge" fit nicely on a page.  Allowing the reporters some gallows humor to help them through the destruction and crime they routinely deal with is, in my opinion, not an unreasonable request.  Logically thinking, if each time a reporter wrote of an accident, he/she spent hours crying over the mishap, little would ever get written, and all that did, would be smeared with tears and useless sentimentality.

 

Dr. Jerz's Blog on this subject

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5 Comments

Derek Tickle said:

I really never thought about the bus plunge stories as being a part of our modern news. I can agree with you that the stories are nothing that you want to be happy about, but they are short enough so they can "fill" some space. It is better when the reporter is not emotionally involved with the scene or event. This way the article will not have the writer's bias, but simply the quotes and facts from the event.

Jeanine O'Neal said:

1. I wanted to lt you know that I commented back on the comments you left on my "bus plunge" blogs.

2. Don't you think a bettr alternative to having a break from all the crime stories they report is not more death, but something happier like kittens and rainbows? I think most psychologists would agree with me there.

3. What did you really mean by saying "Reporters are jerks"?

Greta Carroll said:

I agree with your, Josie, I think that one’s automatic reaction might be to consider reporters as jerks for capitalizing on and making into a joke “bus plunges.” However, as you pointed out, there really isn’t anything crude about what they are doing. They write their articles in somber and respectful ways. They are just doing the best they can to fill spaces. Making “bus plunges” as a sort of news writing joke, as you pointed out, is just their way of dealing with the otherwise depressing topics of news writing. Your point though on how much depressing stuff that reporters would have to sort through kind of makes me wonder, would you get desensitized to all the tragedies or human existence if day in and day out you wrote about them as simple facts without putting any emotion into the writing of it? Wouldn’t being a reporter be a rather depressing job?

Josie Rush said:

Jeanine, More psychologically pleasing, yes. Widely accepted by the readers, probably not. I don't know that it's an exaggeration to say that many people actually look for the "shocking" articles in a paper. You know what they say, people love dirty laundry. Though, I do think you had an interesting point in your blog; it would be a relief to come across some quotes or something if they needed a space-filler.
And when I said "reporters are jerks" that wasn't actually my personal opinion. Rather it was what I'm speculating a lot of ppl probably think when they find out that the "bus plunge" story is a type of subgenre of newswriting.
And, Greta, yeah, I think being a reporter has the potential to be a little depressing.

Jennifer Prex said:

My friends and I actually had a similar conversation at dinner. My one friend is a forensics major and was talking about how there is a lot of dark humor in her field. It is a coping mechanism. If forensic scientists, or reporters as in this case, lets their assignments get to them too much emotionally, they will not be able to do their job. Dark humor is just one way of detaching oneself from the situation enough to be able to deal with the assignment, I guess.

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