For a while now there has been an endless stream of big news stories breaking around the world, with some stories taking centre stage, making a point or illuminating some issue or event before finally fading away, eclipsed by the next new news story.
However, and as we have seen most recently with turmoil in Syria and Iraq, ISIS and its Caliphate, Iran-P5 + 1 nuclear talks, Crimea, Russian separatists in Ukraine, the disappearance of MH370, Boko Haram kidnapping 200 school girls, the conflict in Gaza, MH17, intensified clashes in Libya and now another two plane crashes in as many days, huge news stories have continued to be broken concurrently, forcing editors to give more time and space to one story over another when ordinarily the second place story would lead.
An editor having to choose one story over another isn’t anything new, it happens daily, but when two or more stories break at the same time and are equally newsworthy, what story gets the front page?
Perhaps it’s just the way it goes – one story leads – or maybe there’s something inherently unfair in the way media organisations cover and present the news.
I think it’s fair to say that the closer news is to home the greater its worth is to the domestic audience.
Here are a couple of sayings that better explain what I’m trying to get across.
“One Englishman is a story. Ten Frenchmen is a story. One hundred Germans is a story. And nothing ever happens in Chile.”
“A dogfight in Brooklyn is bigger than a revolution in China.”
Both sayings are reasonably funny – stuff certainly does happen in Chile and I dare say a revolution in China is much more important than a dogfight in Brooklyn.
What they’re saying is that news and information must be relevant to the audience they’re selling the information and ad space to.
It’s pretty simple stuff.
A cabby in Sydney would probably prefer to read a story on the government’s proposed fuel hike rather than a piece about Libyan rebels fighting it out in Benghazi, unless of course s/he’s from Libya.
Also, the first saying comes from a former British press lord and the second comes from an old American newspaper, The Brooklyn Eagle, and this probably says it all – there’s a great need to have a diversified press so that different ideas can bubble up.
To finish, these are some of the top stories (in no particular order) that have broken over the last little bit. You can decide for yourself what’s more interesting or relevant to your situation.
There’s Boko Haram who over the weekend killed 40 Nigerians and forced another 15,000 people to flee their homes, causing more embarrassment for President Goodluck Jonathan and his government (there’s an election next year).
The 200 missing Chibok schoolgirls are still missing.
Only a few days ago bloody clashes between ISIS and Syrian government forces left more than 700 people dead, in what activists say were the deadliest 48 hours of fighting in the conflict to date. The Syrian civil war is now in its third year with reports of 175,000 dead and 11 million people displaced.
Iraq is a mess, having lost huge swathes of territory to The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (now it’s just The Islamic State). Iraq’s American trained and equipped army is in tatters. PM Nouri al-Maliki is fighting hard to hold on to power.
Yesterday Iraqi leaders elected a new president, Fouad Massoum, a moderate, longtime Kurdish politician and former guerilla fighter who took up arms against Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Then you’ve got Gaza where the death toll continues to rise and presently sits at over 800, the majority of whom are civilians. A ceasefire appears unlikely.
Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel without much affect.
And finally, there’s MH17, which continues to eclipse just about all other news stories. 298 people are dead after Russian separatists allegedly shot down the civilian Malaysian Airline carrier using weapons supplied by Russia.
Some people in the media have suggested PM Tony Abbott’s strong leadership over the MH17 disaster has shown the Australian public he’s the right man for the job, others say he’s milking it for all its worth.