Saturday, July 31, 2010

Big and Small Stories

Our topic this week has been murder online. I thought about it from a reporting standpoint.

I took a journalism class at a community college when computers were still using the DOS operating system. I remember the instructor gave a list of what made something newsworthy. One of the points was proximity. In other words only nearby murders were really newsworthy or if somebody local was murdered somewhere else.

But the Internet has changed all that. Now a murder anywhere is news everywhere. TV news has gone along with it and even the local news isn’t really local anymore.

Were it not for the Internet unless we lived in Oregon would be know that Kyron Hormin’s stepmother tried to get the landscape guy to kill her husband? And if we weren’t in the Chicago area would we know all about Drew Petersen and his disappearing wife?

The bad part is that since every weirdo story from everywhere gets reported, it makes the world seem scarier than before. It’s easy to lose perspective and forget that out of the billions of people living around the world, most of them aren’t going to kill their kids or chose murder over alimony when it comes to their wife.

Information is a good thing, but maybe too much information about things that really don’t affect you, isn’t.

On a completely local front, and a story that would never make the Internet, there is a lizard loose in my house. We adopted a couple of adult cats two years ago. We’re pretty sure they were completely indoor cats before they came to live with us, but we started letting them out in our yard during the day. The twelve year, Spago, (the name she came with perhaps because she is a definite foodie. Eat something and she’s next to you patting you with her paw until she gets her taste.) may have spent ten years of her life without hunting anything more than a fly, but her skills weren’t lost. I found her with this lizard about a week ago. Really, what found was a wriggling tail and Spago standing over the lizard. I think losing their tails is no big thing or at least it wasn’t for this one. I put the cat in the other room and when I came back, the lizard had disappeared – I think behind a pile of books.

And so it went. Spago would find the lizard and I would find both of them. I moved her and the lizard took off. Then several days went by with no lizard sightings. Until today. The lizard has moved across the house and is now lost somewhere in the den. We left doors open to the outside and the cats shut away, hoping it would make its move and leave. Is it possible that it likes being inside? I am really hoping this story ends happy with the lizard running free into my flower bed, instead of it ending with a murder.


Camille Minichino said...

You're so kind, Betty! Lucky lizard. Many would resort to lizicide.

I do like your point about TMI and how everything is local these days. I never thought about the effect of making things seem more likely (or scary).

Betty Hechtman said...

Camille, the other thing I've noticed is that the news has all turned into what I think of as tabloid journalism. It's all about a tease and the stories hardly ever deliver.

Plus, I don't consider a story about an entertainment show on the samee station that is doing the story, newsworthy -- it's just advertising in sheep's clothing.

Betty Hechtman said...

Happy ending! My son managed to corral the lizard with a a waste basket and took it outside. Free at last. Free at last.

Crochet Goddess said...

So cute the lizaard story. I am happy to be of service to you. One afternoon while I was sitting on my deck and the moth viisted my petunia's. It was so funny looking I just had to try and find out what it was and looked it up on the internet. They are very fast and hard to get a picture.