Is a Duck on a Plane Newsworthy?
A couple of weeks ago, I was watching CNN when I saw a story that did not really seem to fit in with the rest of the news. It was a story about a duck that flew on a plane. It turned out that the duck, Daniel Turducken Stinkerbutt, is a therapy duck that accompanied its owner, who is suffering from post-traumatic stress, on the flight. At first, I thought seeing this on CNN was odd. After all, we were in the middle of a presidential election, a refugee crisis and so on. Why does a news channel like CNN report this? Is this really newsworthy?
Considering news values, it becomes clear that reporting this type of news is certainly uncommon. It does not refer to elite nations or elite persons (except if you know something about that duck that I do not) and is not a particularly predictable or meaningful event. Furthermore, it strongly goes against the notion that news channels mostly report negative news. This story does, however, have a certain news value because it is personalized, and there is a human interest. Nevertheless, in comparison to the other stories reported that day, the news value of this story is relatively low.
Is this story about a duck on a plane important in a broader context? Probably not. However, I still have to admit that I liked seeing this. The fact that I am still thinking about this, even though it happened almost a month ago, demonstrates this. Considering all the bad things that are happening in the world at the moment, these were exactly the news I needed; they were a gleam of hope that there is still something positive and magical in this world. News like this should not be broadcasted all the time because it would mean that more important news would not get the attention they deserve. However, from time to time, a distraction like this is highly necessary.