Look sweetie, news we can use!

September 23, 2010

CUBA/

We journalists are trying really hard these days to give people content that really makes a difference to them.

The very technical news media name for it is “news you can use.” A good example is an actual story from Mexico this week…

snakes plane 220“Honey, I’ll have a little more coffee, please. Look, it says here in the paper that 280 crocodiles have escaped from a refuge up the road, and they’re roaming around loose!”

“Well, I’ll be, Lamar! I guess I’d better go bring the kids inside, if we have any kids left!”

“Right. And here’s a tip, hon. It says here these things are up to 10 feet long, and we shouldn’t try to capture them. So you can just put away that roach spray and ball-peen hammer.”

This simulated conversation shows why such news is important to regular readers such as yourself. If entire towns have been turned into buffet dinners for crocodiles, you can probably make money from that.

Here’s another example. A couple of weeks ago a guy in Malaysia was arrested after they found nearly 100 live reptiles in his luggage. I know, you’re saying, “Bob, who cares?” Well, this is why people who travel might want to know about it:

  • the smuggler was about to board a plane in Penang, a luxury tourist resort island.
  • the guy only got a six-month sentence for this. he’ll be back soon.
  • most of the reptiles were boa constrictors.
  • the way they found him was, HIS BAG BROKE ON THE CONVEYOR BELT!

snake news crop 240In other words, the Samuel L. Jackson movie, “Snakes on a Plane” was a few minutes from becoming more than just in-flight entertainment.

You know, the media pundits might call it “news you can use,” but I think of it as something more. As a proud news blogger, I like to believe we’re busy creating agoraphobics, just as fast as we possibly can!

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Top: A crocodile waits for food at a breeding center at “La Boca” in the Zapata Swamp Biosphere Reserve Park south of the Matanzas province in central Cuba, September 17, 2009. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

Left: An officer from Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks carries a luggage bag used by a Malaysian man who attempted to smuggle reptiles out of the country last month, at a courthouse in Sepang outside Kuala Lumpur September 6, 2010. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

Right: A copy of an undated court document released to media organizations September 6, 2010, shows a rhinoceros viper, one of the reptiles a Malaysian man tried to smuggle out of the country last month. REUTERS/Handout/Sepang Sessions Court

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11 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Look at those choppers!!!

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

I quite agree, BG, that Samuel L.Jackson’s movie would have been repeated… just wondering if it could have a better ending…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Oh man…you know how much I love Samuel L. Jackson…

“I’m tired of these (expletive) snakes on this (expletive) plane!”

You know…there are some people I just wouldn’t want to be on a flight with. If you find yourself on a plane with Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, or Harrison Ford, and YOU’RE not famous…you’re likely going to be one of the dead ones.

Posted by justK | Report as abusive

@justK, yeah, it’s the “red shirt” rule. :p

“Most” of the snakes were boa constrictors. It’s those vipers in the picture that I would be most worried about. And yes I do mean that as a plural. While the caption read “a” rhinoceros viper there are clearly two.

“Basler Air, promising no *expletive* snakes on our *expletive* planes!”

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Ifly, our ad slogan used to be, “Fly Basler Air, it beats walking!” But we had to drop it when the FAA ordered us to prove the claim.

True story.

http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/20 10/05/11/flying-high-with-my-secret-care er/

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

@ifly – could be a two-headed, two tailed snake…. Just sayin’.

We have saw-scaled vipers here. Nasty little buggers. Maybe they ate all the Tim Horton’s donuts!

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

JustK, that’s good advice for us all. And especially for me. Face it, I have Dumpy Smart-Ass Wisecracking Goofy Sidekick written all over me.

Sure, Samuel L., let’s go back there together, just us two, and fight the snakes!

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Hey, today this blog really is a croc.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

Mr. B. yeah the FAA is a pain in the bum huh? Oh and don’t wear a red shirt if you fight crime with Samuel L. Jackson!

@Spin, I wouldn’t worry about it because I would have Samuel L. Jackson and Mr. B. fighting the snakes. Oh Mr. B. what do you want your tombstone to say?

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Slithering to new heights. Those air sick bags could be used on the floor to lure the snakes in. Then they could be collected and sent for a free fall. Just don’t mistake one for a sack lunch.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

One… that is a good one… for the ones in the plane ofcourse.. not so good for those on the ground whose head those bags splat on…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

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