weekly reading part 2 — flood edition

There’s been so much good writing on the subject this week that I wanted to give this its own post. First, Newsweek‘s Gaggle blog tackled the topic of why the Nashville flood has received such minor coverage from the national media. I’ve heard a lot of speculation, but Anthony Romano comes at it from a practical media business/culture angle and really hits on some good points:

In a climate where chatter is constant and ubiquitous, newsworthiness now seems to be determined less by what’s most important than by what all those other media outlets are talking about the most. Sheer volume of coverage has become its own qualification for continued coverage.

At its worst, the media is little more than an echo chamber, and I do think that’s partly to blame for what happened here. Romano also notes that the NYC bomb scare and BP oil spill unfolded like “Russian novels” in the days following the main event, with a host of issues the media could chew on. I’d take it a step further and say the fact that there’s really no one to “blame” for the flood made it less attractive fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. You could only gape at the photos for so long; then there was little that experts could argue over, no political issue it could be linked to. (This is similar to the spin around town that we haven’t gotten coverage because we “handled it” ourselves. I’m proud of how we’ve stepped up, but I honestly don’t think it’s that simple.) Anyway, thanks to Newsweek for the attention and thoughtful deconstruction.

Also, two links you may have seen if you follow me on Facebook, but I think they’re worth repeating. Tom Weir, who covers sports for USA Today from Nashville, ventured into a shell-shocked Bellevue and wrote a beautiful story, one that really illustrates not only the scope of the destruction, but also the way residents have risen to the occasion. I was grateful to have his take disseminated to such a wide audience. Tom’s wife, Carrie, a social media maven, took to her blog and articulated much of what I’m feeling about the damage to my adopted hometown.

Sincere thanks to all my readers this week, and especially anyone who helped spread the word about the flood. The good folks of Nashville won’t forget.


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