The tragic crash of the Asiana Air flight in San Francisco
last week is big news. And it should be — it is rare for a passenger jetliner to
crash on landing.
On the other hand, thousands of planes take off every day,
flying across vast expanses of land and sea, then touch down safely on the
runway. We don’t hear about all those routine flights, of course.
They aren’t news. It’s like the old journalism school
example: Dog Bites Man — yawn.
But Man Bites Dog? Now, there’s a story!
It’s just like last week, when I left for Harrisburg, Ill.,
to talk to some folks who were sprucing up the facilities of the Saline County
Fair. Just before leaving, I checked the mailbox and found a letter from the
secretary of state’s office.
It was a commendation, a safe driver award. Because I hadn’t
had a moving violation in a long time — actually well more than 20 years — I
could renew my driver’s license online or through the mail.
I didn’t have to come in to the office, take a number, wait
an interminable length of time and then take an exam or whatever else normally
would have been required.
Pleased with my accomplishment, I grabbed my camera and
other gear, got in my car and took off for Harrisburg. And I immediately
received a speeding ticket — the officer apparently wasn’t impressed with my
safe driving commendation.
Anyway, the visit to the fairgrounds in Harrisburg quickly
brought me out of the minor funk I had gotten myself into on the way there. I
was met with the sight of bustling activity.
Several adults and dozens of young people were hard at work,
scraping and putting a fresh coat of paint on rails in the livestock barn,
barrels and other metal structures. It truly was inspiring to see so many rural
residents working together to infuse pride into what for them is a central part
of their community — the county fair.
To major media outlets, of course, that’s not newsworthy,
especially contrasted with the Leap Day tornado that hit the city last year.
Eight people were killed in that disaster, with many more
injured and rendered homeless. Dozens of homes and businesses were
The tornado was major national news, of course, while the
fairground volunteerism likely won’t get a lot of ink outside of local media
outlets and AgriNews.
But it is important. News doesn’t always have to be about