Monday, February 2, 2009

As long as they have their priorities straight....

Mrs. RWP and I were out and about today paying some bills. When we turned on the car radio to hear the news at noon, the first three stories, which one supposes the station would broadcast in descending order of importance, were:

1. Consumer spending levels are lower than at any time in the last 47 years, blah, blah, blah....

2. Georgia's own groundhog, General Beauregard Lee at Stone Mountain, didn't see his shadow today, so we can expect an early spring. However, Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania (the granddaddy of groundhogs, as it were) did see his shadow, so the folks up North can expect six more weeks of winter.

3. A seven-year-old boy was killed this morning in the crosswalk in front of his elementary school. The child, a second-grader, was crossing the road in front of his school at 7:30 a.m. when he was struck by a sport utility vehicle. A crossing guard was on duty and had carried a stop sign into the street, and other vehicles had stopped. For reasons unknown, the SUV driver did not stop. The boy was pronounced dead on the way to a hospital.

I was appalled, not only by this needless tragedy but also by its apparent unimportance as a news story.

Am I being too hard on the station's news department?


  1. I am very sorry about the child. What a tragedy! Walking where it should be safe, and it was not.

    As to the radio station: I don't think you're too hard on them, but the fault lies with whomever prepared the news items. The announcer very likely just read them in the order in which they were given to him/her. We can only hope that future broadcasts put things in proper perspective.

  2. In my capacity as unofficial spokesblogperson for Iowa, I say that our state will secede to the South just for today so we can share in the shorter remaining winter weeks as reported by your General Beauregard groundhog. I am getting really tired of winter.

    As far as whether you were too hard on the radio news department: I heard that story about consumer spending this morning, too, as I was scraping the barn. So that obviously was a story reported across the whole nation. The second story was for your state. Was the final,
    and very sad, story from your local area? Maybe in some ways it is better to relate a story like this will stay in peoples' minds longer, perhaps, hopefully prompting prayers and thoughts of keeping kids safe.

    Don't you wish this comment would end. Ok, its done.

  3. Well, when I studied journalism, we learned that national news trumps local. So the first story seems appropriately placed. But the groundhog is "human interest" so it should have come after the accident. However, so many stations are all about ratings now, and I'm afraid they probably thought more people would want to hear about the groundhog.

  4. I don't know what technically is correct but personally I think the importance of this little boys life should have been first. If nothing else to teach a lesson to careless people.

  5. I live and learn about broadcast journalism.