If it bleeds, it leads

And, here are today’s lead stories:

– In another sign of the horrific economy, some 25,000 Californians waited on line for hours to apply for only 2,000 part-time jobs at a local amusement park.

  • The average American’s food costs rose a staggering $126 from the same period last year.
  • And, in yet another sign of global climate change, the high temperature today will be a balmy 52 degrees!

Today’s headlines? Not quite. Those were the lead stories of January 29, 1976. And, they were read over the airwaves by this blogger.

At the time, I was an intrepid 21-year-old Northeastern co-op student. My job was to research, write and read five daily news, sports and weather reports (as well as to host one-hour monthly talk shows). My employer was WGCH Radio in Greenwich, Ct.

I recently stumbled across some of those original recordings (which made me feel a bit like Indiana Jones discovering the Temple of Doom).

You can listen to the above-mentioned newscast by clicking here:

Some say I sound SO much younger. Me? I don’t notice any difference at all.

Nor do I notice much of a difference in the news of the day.

I was taught by Bill Kirtz, my N.U. journalism professor that, if it bleeds, it leads.

Bad news sold then. And, it sells now.

Oh, and by the way, all of the horrible jobs news and cost-of-living increases I reported that day occurred during the term of Gerald R. Ford, a Republican. Bad times are apolitical.

Footnote: Northeastern also arranged co-op assignments for me at The New York Times and CBS Newsradio in Boston. In combination with WGCH, the three journalism gigs were the equivalent of two, full years of work experience. When I graduated, they’d helped me:

  • Beat competitors from Yale, Harvard and Stanford to land my first job at Hill & Knowlton.
  • Learn how to write clear, concise copy under deadline pressure.
  • Realize I didn’t want to pursue a career in journalism precisely because it’s all bad news all the time. As a result, journalism tends to attract jaded, cynical, world weary types. That wasn’t me.

So, the next time you sigh with disgust after hearing, reading or seeing the depressing news of the day, keep in mind it’s nothing new. If it bleeds, it leads.

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