The man who convinced Channel 9 in Washington in 1985 to take a chance on a radio reporter with no TV experience had some important words of advice for the rookie TV reporter. Mike Buchanan said you can never go wrong with a story about kids, animals or the Washington Redskins. While none of those were necessarily topics I wanted to cover, the advice from one of the best TV journalists in the country was extremely accurate.
The same formula (possibly minus the Redskins) seems to apply to news on the Internet and social media. By now you probably have seen the images in the video above. This clip happens to be from a TV news story, but people in that newsroom most certainly first saw the pictures come across their computer screen or smart phone. How many other stories do you think that TV news operation ran from Santa Rosa de Temuco, Chile in the past five years? My guess is none. Local TV news doesn’t do a lot of stories from South America.
Dogs, especially puppies, are big on the Internet just as they are on TV. If you can apply what we think is a human characteristic to that animal (especially dogs) you will have a winner. How can you not be touched by the story behind the series of images taken on Thursday by photographer J. Monsalve.
A heroic mother dog saved her 10-day-old puppies from a house fire in Santa Rosa de Temuco, Chile on Thursday. Sensing the danger to her babies, she picked the pups up in her mouth and moved them from the burning house to the safety of the nearby fire truck. She then gently placed the pups on the steps of the fire-truck as firefighters fought the blaze.
According to the various news reports about the rescue, one of the puppies later died of burns.
It is hard to deny it’s a beautiful story of a mother’s love. You will get no argument from me.
But would this story go viral in such a big way if it was about a human mother saving her children or a firefighter saving kids? I think not.
First of all, a photographer would have to get the pictures without someone in fire, EMS, law enforcement or the general public blocking the shot because they believe it is an invasion of privacy or a HIPAA violation. Then you would have the outrage by many that the pictures are too graphic.
So, let’s forget pictures of the event for a moment. Just hearing about that story of a dog rescuing all her puppies from a fire is one you will likely remember, tell your friends about and share on Facebook. You likely won’t forget this story.
This little picture of Beth Childers (on the left) is the only one I could find on the Internet. Shouldn’t her image and story be as well known as the dog from Chile?
My question is this, how many people in the general public or in the fire service know the name Beth Childers? If you don’t know the name, how many remember her story from Alabama just a month ago?
In case you forgot (and I admit it took me more than a few seconds to recall her name) here’s the story of firefighter, mother and grandmother Beth Childers.
My goal is not to criticize anyone for liking the images and the story from Chile. I was touched by them too. I just think it would be nice to put the same effort we do in celebrating the human characteristics we find in animals into celebrating the human characteristics we find in some of the extraordinary humans among us. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Beth Childers story went viral too?
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