My brother pinged me about this story today: To Infinity and Beyond. It’s about a 12-year-old autistic boy and his father carried out to sea and triumphing over the elements in miraculous ways. It’s a feel-good story. I happened to read it early this morning, before I went to work, and for sure I felt good as I went to work. Why not? It’s a good story. It’s a great story.
I like good news. I like stories that lift my spirit. I like stories about human endeavour and relationship and commitment and character and covenant and faith.
I must thank CNN as well for bothering to carry the story, against the grain as it were.
Talking about news, there were a couple of incidents over the last few weeks that have intrigued and even perplexed me. Most recently, there was the short-term 75% drop in United Airlines’ stock price based on Bloomberg carrying a six-year-old story in error, as reported here in the Washington Post. A few weeks before that, Bloomberg accidentally published an obituary of Steve Jobs, then immediately retracted it.
Why am I intrigued, even perplexed? Simple. Before the web, I’d accepted, at least in part, the universal “truth” that people seemed to prefer bad news to good; I’d rationalised this on the basis that news editors believed this “truth”, and in an MSM world, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy as a result.
I’d also understood, personally as well as anecdotally, that the same thing was true about reputation: Negative stories travelled faster and further than positives. And this I’d rationalised away by thinking it was about human nature and risk aversion, negative stories were calls to action, that sort of thing.
Despite all this, I’d somehow expected something different when it came to the web. I’d expected a Linus’s Law to take effect on news and stories, that given enough eyeballs all “information” bugs would be shallow. For some reason this doesn’t happen; at least, it doesn’t happen as quickly as I would expect it to.
Just something I’m trying to think through. Suggestions? Views? Advice?