Old news on today’s front page | Blogads

Old news on today’s front page

by henrycopeland
Thursday, March 13th, 2003

You may have noted the rash of stories about a peanut allergy cure. The Google News service shows 76 news items from publications ranging from the New York Times, Business Week to the PakTribune.

Depending on who you read, the big news is that a) a small company called Tanox has developped a cure for the sometimes deadly problem and/or b) that cure is being blocked by legal wrangling with Genentech and Novartis.

The eruption of stories offer an interesting case study in the manufacture of “news.”

In fact, all this information has been floating around since October, but has made headlines now because Tanox held a news conference this week and is publishing the results of the clinical trials completed last fall.

Hell, I covered it on my other blog in November and tried to get a couple of news organizations excited about the story. No luck. I looked for other bloggers who are interested in the subject and also ran dry.

As a former (and reformed) editor, I can testify to the fact that most editorial “news judgement” is not about judging what will important or interesting to the public, but about covering what other outlets are covering or will soon cover.

Had there been enough bloggers interested in peanut allergies (and had they known about each other) the “news” that is making front pages today would have been widely publicized four months ago.

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