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Celebrity death or hurricane? Hmm...

"Pope loses clone of George Washington in vending machine!"
--Jerz, Newsworthiness

I really appreciated this recording because it lays it out in black and white just what precisely makes something newsworthy. One might think some of this is common sense, but it's still a good idea to come up with a strict definition that you can have in the back of your head as you're brainstorming story ideas or gathering information to construct a story. For example, people sometimes think everything a celebrity or political figure does is important, but Dr. Jerz brought up the good point that a headline like "Mayor Bakes a Pie" isn't all that interesting. I don't particularly remember the "George Bush chokes on a pretzel" story, but in the end, unless it was a truly life-threatening situation, I don't think it would have been that fascinating. However, it is kind of unusual, or am I making it out to be more of an unusual occurrence than it is because it happened to a president? Perhaps. It certainly seems less newsworthy than a major hurricane or earthquake causing destruction. I wonder if certain factors make something more newsworthy than other factors? Like, what would get more coverage if the president choked on a pretzel and almost died and had to be rushed off to the hospital on the same day that a hurricane devastated a city and an extremely famous celebrity died? Wow, that would be an eventful day. It brings up the old subject of Michael Jackson and the controversy that surrounded the amount of coverage of him at the same time that seven soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. You get into all these disturbing ethical questions about how much the death of a celebrity may trump deaths of non-celebrities. At the end of the day, I think it's important that all the newsworthy factors get leveled out so there is about an equal amount of coverage of all the stories with major newsworthy factors.

Comments (1)

Jessie Krehlik:

You make a valid point here. Sometimes it's really hard to identify which news is the most "worthy." Last fall, I remember the comcast news real's three top stories were something off the wall like: The results of the Election, (I forget the second one) and Clay Akien comes out! Isn't it amazing that a celebrity's sexuality *almost* trumps the election of our newest president? But, then again, you have to remember that reporters have to feed their audiences, and apparently a lot of people cared about one of our favorite American Idol stars...

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