How Do You Make the Front Page When You Die?

How does one go about making the front page of the websites of major Internet news sources such as the BBC, CNN, MSNBC and Al-Jazeera when they die? Is there someone I have to call?

I wonder simply because today a suicide bomber killed at least 100 Shiites in Iraq (so far), a building collapsed in Mecca killing at least 23 (so far), and Sharon had another stroke.

I wonder how does one go about prioritizing who gets the #1 headliner spot? Is it based on the most amount of people dead? Or most important death? I know if I die today I won’t be seeing my face on the BBC or CNN website (for other than the obvious reasons of me being dead). But if I were important enough then maybe I could get the spot.

So I either have to be very important in this world or I have to die with at least a dozen people in some horrific tragedy such as a tsunami, a suicide bombing a genocide et cetera.

Is Sharon on the front page because he is important? And in what sense? His political position in Israel? The ruler of Dubai died yesterday and I didn’t see him getting the #1 spot so that can’t be it can it? Is it your history? Do you have to be notorious enough, have a past that is dark enough? Well Sharon does top the cream of the crop there.

This post isn’t really about Sharon, as the man will probably be dead by the time I post this anyways. This is about how the media ranks the most pressing news. Tragedies always dominate the number one spot it seems. Human beings love their tragedies and in a year of hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis we’ve had our full serving. We love to watch people suffer but in a secretive way I suppose, sort of like a bad car crash happening in front of us but we can’t stand to look away. Boy burnt to a crisp in a house fire will always trump senile old man and his natural causes. The worse the better.

But who are we to judge? Heck, it’s the media which tells us what’s important. We don’t even get to pick and choose. Why? Because we are deemed incompetent. Look at Yahoo Popular news, news that is based on what readers think is “important” by ranking and emailing popularity. “The Most Emailed Photos” always have a sexy babe or cute animals and you can guess pretty much the genders of those who sent those emails. The Most Emailed news is always about the wackiest things happening around the world like the discovery of a two headed snake or Lindsey Lohan on drugs.

Anyways, I’ve made a resolution (#89): when I die I want to have the #1 headliner spot on all the major news sources websites. And hours before I die I want my health status to be updated every 5 minutes on all the news channels around the world. Not 10 minutes…5 minutes.

Now all I have to do is help commit at least one major massacre, or die in one.

Jordanian Newspaper Al Ghad did manage to prioritize today’s tragedies at least to my liking so kudos to them. Although I expect they will be reciving more than the usual amount of “big brother” calls today to chastise them on this decision. How dare they snub our “partners in peace”?!


  • The last couple of days were full of aweful news enough to make the most cheerful of us all gloomy and depressed.

    I can not believe how can they put Sharon and peace in once sentence anyway, just how misleading the MSM can be for the average westerner.

  • you guys come on this is a big story. the man has had two strokes in the past few weeks, meaning he might die any time soon. no matter how you feel about the man, his death is going to play a role in the ongoing conflict of the israelis and palestinians. it is not always the actual event that is news worthy, such as the stroke, its the story behind the news that is bigger and makes us think more.

    P.S. what if i dont know what 1+1 is man?

  • SC, sorry, I have a tendency to generalise 😉

    , Hmm, I gotta get me some of that 😀

    , I respect your opinion although like I said I am talking in general here, this is just a more current example to work with

    p.s. then you’re in more trouble than you thought 😀

  • I tend to walk along the lines that Linda outlined in her comment. This is big news because the Israeli conflict in the Middle East has been one of the biggest news stories (if not the biggest one) for over half a century.

    Sharon is also a very controversial figure. On one hand, the guy is probably considered by most Palestinians the way Hitler is considered by the jews. On the other hand, he took major steps for his country. The security barrier (we call it the seggregation wall, but we can’t deny it did improve Israel’s security), and the disengagement from Gaza, and recently he started his own sort of centrist party in Israel. All these three things, were and still are big stories, and now someone has to pick them up and do something with them, and this is what the world is waiting for.

    Already the CNN web site has a different story on the main page (the bloody events of this day in Iraq), so I believe the story of Sharon’s sickness is only gonna come back to the main pages and covers of newspapers in big headlines and big pictures when developments occur.

    Arafat’s sickness and death got the same attention.

  • Good Job Hamzeh, the issue is always about the [story] and not about the [person]. So Nas if your expiration is big story on that day whenever that might be you will be in the front page, and if your death isn’t a big story it wont be in the front page. The print media will always be looking for the big story on any given day, for instance if the big story has to do with entertaining, then they will entertain, if the big story has to do with hyping, then they will hype, and if it has to do with sensationalizing then they will sensationalize, and so on and so forth. There were times when Osama Ben Laden was the big story and there times when Khomini was the big story, heck there was time when Arafat was the big story.

  • Hamzeh, that’s a good view and i do see your point…keep reading below…

    lol, well like i said for the third time this was me talking in general and not specifically just about sharon. but like you said (and i agree) the media will always look for the big story.

    the point is, who says what the big story is? who makes the decision? is it an editor saying this is the one and is he doing it out of his own ideological preferences? point being…are we living in a world where the people decide which news is important to them or is the media deciding for us.

    a question to both of you…

    if the header had been cut in half…on one side “sharon is dying” on the other side “brad pitt and angelina jolie got married”…50-50…..and based on the number of views one column would grow larger and larger until it dominated the front page…which one would it be?

  • I think that what they see on the news wire makes the headline, the front page, or the “In your face story”. They look at

    Associated Press

    And few other main news wires, whatever they see is what drives them to make that final decision. So the editor is just an employee looking at a news wire. As far as the media is concerned, it is also driven by the newsire. You may assume that the newswire is their holy grail.

Your Two Piasters: