While it’s great that so many normal Vancouverites showed up today to clean up after the douche canoes that rioted, my concern is that the international damage to the city’s reputation is done.

News outlets like outrage and violence and fire and death. They like it for a maximum of 24 hours, then they need to go find newer outrage and violence and fire and death. They like it because that’s what their audience has demonstrated a preference for. That’s not speculation on my part. That is a quantifiable fact. Ask any newspaper editor or TV station manager or media professor at any college/university on Earth. Ask the guys who doctor compile the Nielson ratings.

It’s not uncommon to hear somebody wonder out loud why there’s rarely any “good news”. Here’s the answer in point form:

  1. Viewership/readership drops off rapidly and sharply if news outlets spend too much time talking about rainbows and unicorns.
  2. Smaller audience equals decreased desire by advertisers to spend their money at your station/paper.
  3. Advertising is the biggest source of revenue for media. Less revenue = less profit = fewer jobs = smaller bonuses for the execs = etc.
  4. Geddit?


Devoting 45 seconds at the end of the local news to talk about a dog who narrowly escaped death by steamroller and now gets around on bionic wheels that are radio controlled by a 10 year old orphan with compulsive sneezing syndrome is fine. A whole hour of that? People won’t watch. Not even in the southern states where the average IQ is 30 points lower. They want school shootings. They want plane crashes.

Picture J. Jonah Jameson screaming “GOD DAMMIT! DIDN’T ANYBODY GET RAPED TODAY?” at Peter Parker and you’ll get the idea of how newsrooms all over the world operate on a daily basis.

So while the locals are all rightfully pleased about the response from “The Real Face of Vancouver” this morning, in my opinion that little slice of Skittles and ice cream isn’t going any further than a 30 second story on The National. There’s no way the local news in Vegas or Melbourne than ran extended footage of the riot is putting any time into the happy follow-up story.

The damage is done.