A Monday night fire in a 35-story residential tower in downtown Dallas damaged the building’s power system, plunging part of the adjacent office pavilion where the fire apparently started and the more than 250 residential units in the skyscraper into darkness.
For more than three days there has been no coverage by any of the Dallas news outlets, newspaper or television. More than 300 people were displaced from their homes without notice. There was great potential for an interesting human interest story—how did they learn about the problem? What were they told? How long would they be out of the building? How did they get their necessary possessions down the stairs? No, there was nothing.
True, this was no major earth shattering event—like a car chase on a freeway, or bloody accident on a highway. There were just a mere 300+ people with stories of how they managed to get out of the building, or how they would cope with temporary living accommodations without most of their clothes and other essentials in a building that was sealed off after firefighters left the scene.
As newspapers cut staff and reduce coverage to deal with the financial realities of a shrinking advertising base, there is a gap in news coverage. Television stations with their questionable news judgment of “if we have video it must be news and if we don’t then it must not be important” is a poor substitute.
The legions of citizen journalists who were supposed to fill the information void apparently do not work at night.
We deserve better.
© 2012 John Gregory Self