What Are We Focused On?

by Melissa Brunner

I admit that I don't always go only for hard news. I follow entertainment stories, too, and even click on the royal family headlines from time to time. But a couple recent events have me wondering if, in trying to cater to what we think our viewers, readers and listeners want, we in the media are downplaying stories and situations that perhaps deserve more attention.

Singer Amy Winehouse die the same day as former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili. I have seen articles on Amy Winehouse just about every day since, from photogs staking out the funeral to speculation from family on the cause of death. I saw an article on Gen. Shalikashvili's death the day it happened.

Then today, CNN put out their "most popular" story tracker. On the verge of the debt ceiling deadline, the Casey Anthony story is drawing more interest.

I'm not judging, and this isn't to say all four of those stories have some merit, but if you ever wonder why some stories get more airtime and print space while it seems like others are being "ignored," these are some examples. At the end of the day, television stations and newspapers are a business. Without money, they can't exist. They can't make money without readers and viewers. You can't gain readers and viewers if you don't do stories which are of interest to them.

Such is the balancing act in which we engage every day. On which side do you tip the scales?



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