If there's a gruesome crime today in Florida, Nebraska or even the Yukon I can count on the media to tell me about it before bedtime and again the next morning, and for days on end if the story is good enough. But will I ever hear about the fireman who saved a life, the teacher who helped a troubled child, the farmer who cleared his debts, or the woman who survived breast cancer in those places?
What good is news about people and places we have little notion of, and are not likely to ever meet? Information without intention is only gossip. That was the opinion of Henry David Thoreau nearly 150 years ago:
"If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, we need never read of another. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for the myriad instances and applications?"
Continued at... Read the News Backwards
Out of the Past: Thoreau
Artwork: Farmer 1931