Thursday, December 14, 2006

Shark attacks are so 2001.

Five years later, the tragedy of people lost in the snow is all the rage. We had James Kim, the CNET editor who set out in the snow after the family car got stuck. Then we had the climbers lost somewhere around Mt. Hood Oregon.

Tragic situations, yes. Worthy of around the clock updates? Probably not.

However, in an age where every headline ends in an exclamation point or a cliff-hanging question mark, it creates plenty of so-called breaking news for the likes of Nancy Grace.

If only South Dakota was Northern California, and Karen Nelson was 30 not 50 when she was lost in the snow. And if only that happened now, not 10 years ago. Her story would have been there too.

We have CNN teaching us how to make a "desperation trench" in the snow. I kid you not. Look at the first video link in the left hand column on this page.

First, I believe this became a story because of James Kim. He works in media, and that propelled his story into the spotlight, when his family turned up missing. The media avalanche began when it was learned his family had survived, while he had died seeking help in the snow.

Then, faintly a week later some guys turn up missing not far away at Mt. Hood, near Portland, Oregon. The reporters fresh off the Kim story had an easy follow-up. Gotta ride the hot story. That's what they're doing now.

I have a feeling the next person to turn up missing in the snowy Pacific northwest will also make headlines.

If it happens in Montana, probably not news. Geography, and population density determine these things. We had a tragic story in Nebraska a couple of years ago about a couple dying in the snow, lost because they were high on meth. There was no national outcry. There was a 20/20 segment months later, but it never broke through the 24 hour news cycle.

Those of us who live in the often arctic midwest know the rules. Dress in layers, pack an emergency kit in your car, don't abandon a vehicle, etc. And I didn't learn that from Anderson Cooper.

1 comment:

colleen said...

But eastern So Dak does not have the majestic snow covered mountains with the blue sky in the background. Sad story but it is amazing to see what the media picks up on as the hot news item of the day.