News and bombings

Apologies for having two news media posts in the same week (and I write this on my phone on the way to Grauniad Towers to record a podcast interview) - it's events, dear boy, events.

I was struck by a letter in today's i newspaper moaning about the heavier coverage of the Boston bombings than those in Iraq. 'Are American lives so much more newsworthy than Iraqis?' asks the writer. The simple answer is yes, for two reasons. (Note this is newsworthy, not valuable, a totally different question.)

Firstly it's a matter of the nature of news. The unusual is more newsworthy than the usual. 'Sun does not rise,' would make a better news story than 'Sun rises.' Bombings are relatively rare in the US.

Then there's the matter of closeness. A death in your family is more newsworthy than a death in the UK, which itself is more newsworthy than a death in a remote part of the world. Forget the global village, that's the way it is. And like it or not a bomb in Europe or America is culturally closer to most in the UK than one in Iraq or China.

To expect otherwise is simply naive.


  1. In the same vein, "3 Americans killed by bombs" is more newsworthy than "30 Americans shot to death".


Post a Comment