From Our Minister's Work Station
From Our Minister's Workstation
Recent copies of the minsters letters from our Minister Brian. ...more

23/01/11 Why are some stories more newsworthy

Perhaps it is not news but I have been rather aware in the last couple of weeks that some stories carry more currency than others. In this I am speaking of the media rather than local gossip. I am well aware that some stories are pushed by editors while other events go without mention. I often hear the same story reported three days on the trot as if it had just occurred. Why do some story’s stay around for ages while often more serious events are gone in an instant?

I discussed this point with the Ottery House Group last week and some had never noticed the trend. The recent flooding and shootings brought this point home very clearly in the first weeks of 2011. The story of Australia and Brazil had huge disparity in their coverage. One had flooding over a huge area; the other had a dreadful body count after severe rainfall. One had wealthy people much like us, the other had poor communities that were more distant somehow from our experience. Around this same time two assignation attempts were made, one was ‘successful’ the other failed but left the victim critically injured.

It is safe to say that the news was awash with the attempt to kill American congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It was an awful story where others died and the political temperature went off the scale. The President led the thoughts of a nation and the Sarah Palin effect made its mark also. So as a news item it just kept giving.

However, just before this took place Salman Taseer was shot dead by one of his own security detail. Mr Taseer was the governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab. Now this was a big story, a nuclear- armed state struggling with insurgents should have stayed on the radar. Yet it’s coverage was lacking after initial reports. The police officer who killed Mr Taseer was not an insurgent placed in deep cover. He was enraged by Taseer’s decision to seek clemency for an impoverished mother of five who is on death row for violating Pakistan's blasphemy laws. The mother came from a Christian Family. There is more to this story than someone standing up for a Christian. It’s about extremism, the caste system, justice and courage. Salman Taseer was well aware of the risks in challenging those baying for his blood in the name of religion. The fact he paid such a heavy price should not waft out of the nearest window just because a better story blows in from our valued neighbours. Sadly it happens all the time.

In the media and in life we cannot focus our attention on everything that happens. We need to be careful we don’t miss something just because others are making a great noise over one particular issue. But are we just interested in our friends, do we notice these subtle agendas of the media.

We hear much in the bible about caring for the poor and needy. James chapter 2 delivers a challenge for attitudes towards rich and poor. It has sharp words about favoritism. Not good news then for those who are solely concerned with the ‘in crowd’. Very good news though for all who have been forgotten.

I take it you did now that the word news comes from North, East, West, South

Best wishes

Brian