But, but ... what about Elvis...?
In Denver, Colorado, there may be some things going on besides a new
football stadium and a few murdered children, but if you were relying
on the local papers, you might never
know about it. I think you could save a lot of trees just by giving all
Denver-area residents a pair of sticky notes, one reading, "Jon Benet is
still dead," and the other, "the Columbine High School students are too."
That way, instead of reading the paper's daily updates on whether or not
they're still dead, you could just glance briefly at those sticky notes
over coffee in the morning and get on with the rest of your life.
In the event that there's a change in either of these situations, new
sticky notes could be issued via bulk mail. Even then, we're still
talking about some major savings in paper usage.
Just to demonstrate, if you go to the Denver Post website
[ http://www.denverpost.com/news/news.htm ], they list
the following news sections:
- JonBenet Ramsey
- National News
- World News
The Rocky Mountain News
[ http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/ ], at least,
is going for a somewhat broader focus. Their list of news sections reads:
- Election 2000
- Homeless murders
- Special reports
- Denver Square
But they are careful to put Columbine and JonBenet at the top, lest readers
baffled by abstract concepts like "alphabetical order" become confused and unable
to get immediate at-a-click access to updates on whether or not they're still
Children who suffer the misfortune of still being alive aren't nearly so
newsworthy. If you're an honor student, you might possibly get one of your
parents to drive around with a "my child in an honor student at..." bumper
sticker, but that's about as far as it goes. Even in that department, living
children are at a big disadvantage with about fifty times as many stickers
proclaiming support for Columbine with all the sincerity and emotional depth
that can be squeezed into a two-inch-square self-adhesive sticker.
It's pretty tough to compete against something like that; doubly so when you
figure in that living children are more expensive and generally want
more attention than it takes to glue something to the back end of your car. I
understand that social services has been known to take a dim view of
attaching kids to your car bumper, so you can see it's a lot more convenient
to be supportive of the dead ones.
Sometimes it's a little frustrating to be involved in a few charitable and nonprofit
efforts to provide assistance to families and children and see the public service
announcements and press releases vanish into the black hole of the media circular
file because they're only about food, shelter, clothing, and that sort of thing--most of
the time, shooting and strangling get left off of their mission statements. There are big charitable
organizations that have the staff and budgets to advertise like a regular business, but
small charities don't have that luxury, especially not if they're busy doing charitable
work--and that means that getting a little press coverage is a big part of how you can
let anyone know that you're out there, whether they're looking for help or to give it.
Some of the best people I'm working with right now are with the Masaba Project, which
operates without government funding of any kind. I'll let you know when they've got
their own website up, but for the moment, I've got some background and contact info at
[ http://www.trygve.com/pr_masaba_20001113.html ]