Univeral Amplifier

Universal Amplifier

Amplifying the topics that power today's PR professional

Boston Marathon: No news is good news

There are times when the best news is the absence of conflict and chaos. Yesterday’s Boston Marathon is a perfect example of an event going exactly the way it should, and America and the news media were able to be happy about it.

The biggest “real” news of the day turned out to be about sports – an American man won the race for the first time since 1983. Very much like the Winter Olympics of a couple of months back, the absence of any kind of violence meant that security issue stories melted away as runners crossed the finish line. And although news stories about the winners outpaced stories mentioning security, only at 3pm Monday and between 2am and 4am ET on Tuesday, the absence of any horrific incident meant that safety threats were not the main story this year.

See how overall global news mentions track against stories mentioning security or the winners for the Boston Marathon of 2014.

Trend line of news media for Boston Marathon 2014

By yesterday afternoon, the number of global news items about Meb Keflezighi taking first place among men stood at 8,061. Good news about an American man being the first winner from the U.S. since 1983… that’s news!

While there have always been news stories about security prior to major events (like the Super Bowl, World Series, presidential visits, etc.) the breadth and depth of that coverage waxes and wanes based on past history. Post 9/11, reporters had to focus on how public official were changing policies and procedures to protect the public. But time means people (and newsrooms) forget and move on. Here’s a safe bet for news stories about next year’s marathon in Boston – there will be a fewer security-focused news items, some focus on whether an American can win the race again, and the lion’s share of coverage will be about how many people are signed up for the race. All media can do is reflect the concerns of the public. For good or bad, barring a new terrorist event, we all go back to standard storylines… and then we exhale. Congratulations Boston!

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