Friday, January 11, 2008

Landfill Fires

You wouldn’t know it from all of the hullabaloo last year about the fire at the landfill, but there have been nearly 60,000 landfill fires in communities this decade. An average of more than 8,000 annually. Shoot, there are only 34,000 incorporated places in the U.S., so the odds of having a landfill fire appear to be high.

Why didn’t the news reports contain this information? Or did I just miss something, along with all of the other people who had a lot to say.

Why were people so quick to jump to the conclusion this was a very rare event or to assume someone was an idiot? Or that this just must be “Durham.”

Then again, knowing that news reports about content with which I am very familiar are at best 80-85% accurate (reporters and editors don’t pretend to be infallible) why do I read or listen or view reports on other topics and take them as 100% accurate?


Unknown said...

I've been thinking about this recently - not the fires, but a study on just how slanted the different papers and TV reports are. Has anyone ever tried to document the number of stories to get a little proof of the sloppy reporting and negative spin? Not that Durham residents need the proof, but for those good folks in other parts of the Triangle that have a hard time believing a slant exists? I've been talking with folks recently that just believe what they hear in the news and scoff at the thought of the purported negative slant.

Have you ever seen that kind of report?

Reyn said...

DCVB has conducted informal analysis. We call them "tudes." But nothing has been done formally. TV is very difficult and time consuming and they pick up must of their attitude from the papers. We have three stories though that someone could analyze....lead, landfill fire and drought. It would require clipping the same articles as they show in the Raleigh edition and the Durham edition because the headlines vary. I think it would be a great project. Interested?