A Miner Complaint

“Good news judgment”.   It’s something intangible that anyone in the news game must have; the ability to judge how much weight to put on a story, its importance or lack thereof and the tone in which to deliver it. 

If not outright captivated, the world is certainly interested in the rescue of 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped underground for more than two months.  In fact, if not for the attention paid by the international media and the speed with which news travels around the world, I suspect the Chilean government might have been tempted to just seal up the mine and walk away whistling, with an innocent look on their faces.  As I write this, several of the miners have reached the surface and it’s a beautiful sight.  One young man somehow had the energy to lead the gathered crowd in some sort of Chilean cheer, complete with fist-pumps and leaps! 

But how deep is our interest here in Canada? This is what I wondered when I awoke to an in-box full of  News Alerts from a radio station in our region.   They sent an email alert each time a miner was freed complete with his full name!   680 News, CNN, etc had it right.  They sent out one alert when the first miner surfaced. That’s all we needed to know: the rescue was underway.   It’s not as if the cast of Seinfeld was down there and we were waiting for Costanza to be brought up.  We do not, nor will we ever, know their names.   They are a group of 33 men about whom we wonder but what this radio station did was total overkill and showed a lack of judgment about the depth, breadth and importance (or lack) of specific details in the story to its listeners.   And quite frankly, it was annoying – scratch that – it IS annoying because these alerts continue to arrive.   I’ve received 9…and counting.

4 thoughts on “A Miner Complaint”

  1. Actually, we will and do know more than you realize at the time of your post. We are being informed as to the names of every miner, age, family status, reason they were in the mine, occupation and a complete bio. Hey, TV has to fill in the air time while were all waiting for the next miner to be brought to the surface, hell we even know the order the miners will be arriving on the surface in advance. Clearly this is a far more captivating story than you may have realized, for the story isn’t over until every miner has been brought up, given that there still is a chance that the shaft could collapse.

    1. I think you may misunderstand this blog, Allan. What’s at issue is news “alerts”. An alert for each and every miner, from a Southern Ontario radio station, is just plain ridiculous. CNN even only sent out one alert to say the ascents were beginning. That’s what alerts are for! Once you yell fire and the fire trucks arrive, you don’t keep yelling fire! At issue isn’t the value of the story. The whole world is watching. The problem is the radio station not understanding what an alert is for, how it’s perceived and when it should and should not be used.

  2. Okay, good point. Likely why I don’t subscribe to alerts or twits or is that tweets. However, given the human interest, I might tolerate 33 alert updates.

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