There are many reasons why a newspaper might include a quaint story or anecdote as a part of their regular press. It can increase readership. It gives people a pleasant feeling rather than blasting them with the less positive aspect of newsworthy events. It allows for newspapers to address big issues like ‘local color’ and ‘regional pride’. But most of all, it fills space when more ‘hard’ news is lacking.
Take the story of a recent escape of zoo animals in the Netherlands. Sure, I would agree that “It must have been a funny sight, waking up in the morning and looking out the window to see those animals walk through the streets,” just like the police spokesperson said. Still, that doesn’t make it newsworthy. It was a funny sight in the Netherlands. It wasn’t a funny sight in Nebraska, or even in London. I doubt somehow that the escapist giraffe is ever going to affect me. Sure, it’s amusing, but for amusing I normally have other outlets. They’re called books. Sometimes, they aren’t even complete fact, but are still enjoyable. That’s hardly what I expect from the news.
And now I’m using the same story to lengthen my own shrift of blog material. Why? ‘Cause it’s a slow news day.