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Where’s the weird?

Sensationalism has been popular for a long time. The book “Communities of Jouralism? starts out with a story of the monstrous birth of a deformed stillborn child by Mary Dyer, who was a supporter of the heretic Anne Hutchinson. This was in 1637. The story was huge. It went on to appear in the “Chronological Table of some few memorable occurrences,? an early almanac in New England.

People love that stuff. I’m not asking why it’s not on front pages all the time, but when I pick up a newspaper, I rarely see something truly weird.

Is this a possible reason why people are so turned on by the internet? Or why so many Americans say they get a majority of their news from The Daily Show and Saturday Night live and maybe even farce papers like The Onion? “The Obscure Store and Reading Room? that is linked from the Romenesko site run headlines like “Man arrested for stopping at dry cleaners with out pants? and “Soccer mom abandons daughter after lousy performance.? Even major newspaper Web sites have a “most popular? section with links to most-read stories; they are almost never breaking-news stories, but rather, human interest stories that cause a smile or a cringe.

One of the news stories that have stuck out in my mind from the past year were the kids from, I think, Iowa. That detail isn’t important. Anyway, these kids were working the night shift at their local ice rink. It was a slow night, and since no one was around, they decided to drive their Zambonis through the Burger King drive-through. They got caught, but the story went national.

I don’t think newspapers should turn sensational, it might ruin credibility. But where is the news of the weird? People love that stuff.

Comments

I think that these stories add a lot to the paper just because they draw in more readers. These stories are very interesting and I can definielty admit to reading them before other more "newsworthy" stories.

I don't think it's got a big place in the newspaper -- I don't think the sensational stuff should be more prominent than the REAL news: the what's happening today that's going to change the world as we know it.

However, I am one of those who like to read the "weird but true" stories, like those on AOL News. I think stories such as these would work well advertised on the front page but then should run on an inside section (like Local). It will cause interest and get some people to pick up the paper and open it up. And for those who are subscribed or are regular readers, it will be further entertainment.

I love hearing about weird stories, perhaps because I'm a bit odd myself, but I really don't think they go in newspapers like The New York Post. I think that stories like that are more suited for The Onion and other more entertaining publications. In my opinion stories that are sometimes just silly aren't even really newsworthy.

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