Amen, brother

Freelance writer Thomas Funke has a sensible editorial in the Battle Creek Enquirer called The wrong hikers always get the press.

"…our national media would rather cover oddities such as "Fat Man" or make heroes out of ill-prepared day hikers."

Full disclosure: I work for a local media outlet. Just the same, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Funke.

UPDATE: Tom Mangan read the same piece and came away with a different view.

"Actually, if things get so bad that proper behavior becomes newsworthy, then we'll have problems. News is everything that departs from the norm."

As an editor at the San Jose Mercury News, Tom knows news.

I understand his point and I don't disagree. Safe plane landings aren't news.

When I read Funke's essay, I didn't think he was arguing that the news media should report on safe hiker stories instead of stranded hiker stories, but Tom read it that way. Rereading it now, I can see how Tom came to that conclusion.

My agreement with Funke stems from his comments about the achievements of people like Andrew Skurka and Sue Lockewood. We ought to be able to cover stories that involve noteworthy acts, not just stupid acts.

UPDATE II: I just stumbled on this article. It explains a lot.

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One Response to Amen, brother

  1. tom says:

    I almost mentioned that those “Our HIke” women have garnered media attention all across the country (they’re in Kansas now) without being freaky in any way, then I remembered that the daughter is in remission from a rare blood disorder that almost killed her, so even that story has a sob-sister angle.
    These days any “story” that is somehow inspirational or properly gut-wrenching has an odds-on chance of being deemed “news.”

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