June 6 Courier cover. (Photo by Don Bodger)

News value not what it used to be

Animal sightings, videos of people doing stupid things prominent

It’s amazing what makes news these days.

Could you imagine Walter Cronkite coming onto the set for his TV newscast and announcing as his lead story, “A whale has been spotted off the California coast.”

(Those of you who don’t know who Walker Cronkite was, go to Google now).

Somehow the sightings of whales, bears, cougars and every other form of wildlife is now considered big news. Well, they’ve been around for a long time, but maybe we’re just starting to pay more attention to them?

There’s also the human encroachment of animal and marine habitat that continues at an alarming rate and might explain a few more sightings than usual.

This genuine concern about wildlife and our own safety when encountering them, in some cases, is featured prominently in daily newspaper stories world-wide and in social media.

It’s the same around here. Everyone who sees a bear, particularly in Crofton around Osborne Bay Road, immediately gets on Facebook to report it.

Some of it is a safety alert, some of it is general interest. But if we leave them alone, they’ll go home.

Saving the animals and marine life is going to take a concerted effort in light of the drastic climate change situation and other factors we’re now facing. That’s more of a story than just seeing the animals and what are we going to do about it now with our oceans littered with plastics and debris from decades of inaction?

When we’re not following the every move of certain animals, some knuckleheads of the YouTube generation keep making news for all the wrong reasons. You too can do something stupid, like jump into a pool of sharks, and ensure someone’s filming it all and become an instant celebrity when the video goes viral.

People keep going out of their way to film something out of the blue to make the news. The more attention they receive, the more we’re going to see them.

There are a lot more important things going on than these concocted stories that generate way more publicity than they deserve. Not on Walter’s watch.

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