It is a popular adage that good news doesn’t sell for the mainstream media where the motto seems to be, “if it bleeds, it leads.” Why then, are we seeing some of their most popular stories trumpeting triumphs of the heart?
Remember the Chilean miners? The media couldn’t get enough of three dozen men trapped underground and rescued in Chile. This week, we saw the pattern repeated, after the story broke of a homeless radio man, Ted Williams, rescued from his life on the streets. The Today Show mentioned his “Golden Voice” in more than 16 Tweets over two days, when normally a guest would receive nary a mention on Twitter.
Two things make the media gravitate toward a story: celebrity is one, the other is conflict. Often overlooked, one inspiring aspect to conflict is when the subject is overcoming adversity. Triumph over adversity feeds the best story lines — in movies and real life.
In Chile, the story was Man vs Nature, or Man vs Time. The juicy morsel in our homeless story this week is, of course, Man vs Addiction, or Man vs Himself.
Conflict normally drives the audience to root for one side over another, and, in these highliy-publicized stories, it’s the same principle. We are rooting for the underdogs to succeed.
Every media producer wants to book Ted Williams now because the happy feelings of “triumph over adversity” have trumped every other news story around.
Who says good news doesn’t sell?