The next time you feel the need to complain about the media giving us nothing but bad news, ask yourself, "Why are we still talking about a plane accident which (as I write this) happened nearly a month ago...without any casualties?
The answer might be in a song by Anne Murray more than 25 years ago, titled "A Little Good News". That song was a commentary on the belief that "Bad News Sells", or in industry talk, "If It Bleeds, It Leads".
I don't want to say that the forced landing of an airplane in the Hudson River wasn't a great story. The plane's crew, and, particularly the pilot, have been justifiably hailed as heroes. But, one month after it happened, it's still news. Pilot Charles "Sully" Sullenberger III has been given accolades from the City of New York (and how much attention would this have attracted...and for how long...if it had happened in a body of water in the Midwest?) , has been celebrated in his own home town, and, just this past week, interviewed extensively by "60 Minutes".
The reason this is getting so much attention, in my opinion, is that there hasn't been a lot of good news lately. Anyone who watches our newscasts or anyone else's (or follows the news on this or any other website), knows the headlines have been dominated by bad economic news. As Anne Murray's song suggested, even those of us in the media (and we are affected, at least to a point, by the economy) could stand to cover something uplifting.
Again, in my opinion, it might be the reason why the national press a few years ago was quick to report what turned out to be a false report that most of the miners from the Sago disaster had survived. As you probably remember, it turned out all but one died. I attended a seminar on that story a few months after it happened, and one of the participants noted the press was hoping Sago would turn out like a mine accident a few years earlier in Pennsylvania in which the miners were rescued.
The point is, the media likes good news...when it really is good news...and when it's something that would grab the public's attention.
And, while I'm at it...didn't we all want Michael Phelps to be the "All American Boy" he seemed to be at the Olympics?