Monday 20 December 2010

What makes a story?

There are some great examples of what makes a story in the media today. Flicking through the national newspapers is a revelation in how our lives and priorities are defined by the reporting of world events - or events that affect us directly.

Admittedly, I think most people have had enough of the Wikileaks story however, there is still a lot of interesting material seeping out. Today is no exception; this is by far a much bigger story than the thoughts of US diplomats about Gordon Brown or David Cameron that caused such a storm a couple of weeks ago. Arguably The Guardian should have published this story long ago as it points to genuine security concerns for us all.

Today's story is a warning that materials which could be used to build a nuclear or dirty bomb are available on the black market if you know where to go. As The Guardian reports:

"The leaked cables tell hair-raising tales of casks of uranium found in wicker baskets in Burundi, a retired Russian general offering to sell "uranium plates" in Portugal, and a radioactive Armenian car on the Georgian border.

"As part of what the US government calls its "second line of defence", it is America's diplomatic corps who are called out in the middle of the night when radiation detectors goes off on a border crossing or smugglers turn up with fissile or radioactive materials in his pocket. Each time that happens, and UN data suggests it has happened about 500 times in the past 15 years, it means the "first line of defence" has already been breached."

We're talking about a real threat to millions here, not a few inches of snow causing chaos that is being inaccurately described as 'like a war zone', so how is this prioritised by today's Guardian?

Page 1: Snow chaos
Page 10: Nuclear bomb threat

Have any other news outlets followed up on this story? Very few.

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