I was reading a column this week by Roger Simon which struck me as incredibly true: events on the East Coast get much more hype than those out here on the West.
Simon argues it’s based on population, which is likely the first idea to which most of us jump. After all, with cities as populous as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando and Miami, it’s easy to think population is the main reason behind stealing headlines. After all, what do we have? Portland? Seattle? Los Angeles?
With more people come more stories. Stories about disasters, human-caused events, sports, conflicts and the occasional celebrity mishap are more common than in less populated areas.
Instead, I think that it’s because there are more local stations out in that directions. Sure, it can be argued that more news stations come with larger populations, but when you have more bodies running around town, there are bound to be more headlines.
Toss in the occasional blogger and you’ve got a good recipe for spreading the word about something.
So, while the East Coast revels in its 100 percent coverage of Hurricane Irene and the earthquake, we’re left to wonder what sort of natural disaster will direct some of that attention our way. We’re not asking for much, just the occasional acknowledgement.
Heck, even look at the only team in the region to win a national football championship – Eastern Washington University. Where was the coverage with that, ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS? ESPN and other dedicated sports outlets jumped on the story, but it was left out of the mainstream media coverage.
Personally, those profiles and little local snippets featured on ABC when Peter Jennings sat behind the desk were half of the reason why I watched World News Tonight as a child. That and KXLY had (and still has) an excellent news program with Richard Brown at the helm, which led me into the program.
Either that, or I was too busy eating dinner to get up and change the channel.
Regardless, it’s no wonder why some media outlets are failing – they’re not focusing in on the local people buying their subscriptions. Some marching orders come from the top, and work their way down. Those marching orders usually focus on the larger stories, which, as discussed earlier, tend to happen on the East Coast.
So, instead, it seems that instead of asking the East Coast news outlets to change, the West Coast outlets can step up their coverage of local stories. I’ll be able to hear about the hurricane or earthquake from some other source. Instead, let the local events guide the coverage and we’ll be able to narrow the gap between West and East coast headlines.
While that’s being done, it might just save a regional news outlet or two.