Human Interest Story

6 09 2007

Wikipedia defines a ‘human interest story’ as:

A human interest story is a news story that discusses a person or persons in an interactive and or emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest or sympathy in the reader.

Human interest stories may be the story behind the story about an event, organization or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during war-time, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, or profile of someone known for a career achievement.

I define a ‘human interest story as’:

A story that interupts news broadcasts which contains absolutely no worthwhile information, is composed primarily of interviews with people you don’t (and shouldn’t) care about, and in which neither the ‘reporter’ or the people being interviewed manage to spit out anything other than cliché after horrible cliché.

Human interest stories depend solely on tradition and sentiment, often trying to make a social or political point through these methods.  They involve asking ‘everyday people’ questions about their lives, which are, inevitably, horendously boring.

  • So today we’re going to talk to Sue, Tom, and their children.  Tom is getting ready to deploy to Iraq next month and we’re going to check in with them to see what they’re doing to prepare.

How fucking enthralling.

  • Then we’ll have a discussion about foods from your childhood.  Please call in and tell us what you remember and why.

I’m begging you, just put a bullett in my head.

  • As we’ll see in this eight part interview, the Jones family from bum-fuck nowhere loves the country, even after their only son was killed in Iraq.

I’m holding my breath.

The point is, I don’t care what everyone thinks of everything.  If I did, perhaps I would just wander the streets talking to people instead of listening to NPR or reading the NYT.  So why the fuck are you interupting the news with these god damn stories?  Nobody gives a shit that joe-neckbone from Missoula respects people who serve in the military because that’s what people around his parts do. 

Shows like Colorado Matters, Oregon Considered, or whatever your local NPR news show is are a waste of time and money.  And don’t even get me started on Talk of the Nation – a show that encourages people to call in and have a ‘discussion’ about such intriguing topics as what they ate for dinner last night and the newest trends in quilting.

I don’t need to see the woman who’s son just got killed in a drive-by sobbing to guess that she might be upset.  I’m a person and I’m capable of imagining people’s reaction to certain events.  And if what I imagine is actually the truth then it’s not news! 

And what the fuck does that mean anyway, ‘human interest story’?  Does that mean that humans are supposed to find it interesting?  Does it mean it is about a human that posseses interest?  Either way, why the fuck should anyone care??

Most of the time these stories just expose Americans for the dumb-fucks they are – and that shouldn’t be something to be proud of.  I guess that is what makes a human interest story though.  If the person you are interviewing can form a complete sentance, has something interesting to say, and is talking about something that actually matters to someone than chances are it is not a human interest story.  However, if the person you are talking to only has less than half of their teeth, has absolutely nothing important to say, and is identified not by their proffession but by the city and state in which they reside, then it is probably a human interest story and not worth the time it takes to hear it.

And don’t buy into that whole ‘it’s about connecting with people’ bullshit.  It’s not about connecting with crap.  First of all, you can’t connect with someone you’ll never meet through an interview.  Second, even if you could, you wouldn’t the fuck want to because you have some sort of aversion to toothless hicks and miscellanous other forms of ignoramuses.

My apologies for the ranting . . . and the cursing. . . but human interest stories, man . . . that’s how they get ya.

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2 responses

19 03 2008
Jewel

Dude, you hit the nail on the head. I love your use of the word “fuck”. It’s one of my favorite words, and fuck anyone who don’t like it.

I believe in truth, which isn’t always tactfully delivered.
Thanks for your refreshing honesty.

20 03 2008
Mitchell

Thank you for reading. It is good to see that I’m not the only one who is still sane.

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