From the Newsroom Why does a story go viral

first_imgCraig Brown is The Columbian’s editor. His column will appear in this space periodically. Contact him at 360-735-4514 or One of the biggest news stories in the world this month occurred right here in Clark County.A teenage girl pushed another teenage girl off the tall footbridge at Moulton Falls as the girl was pondering whether to jump. She hit the water awkwardly and sustained five broken ribs and punctured lungs.It was a serious situation, to be sure. The girl who was pushed ended up in the hospital. The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced Friday it would purse reckless endangerment charges against the girl who did the pushing.But in my opinion the worldwide media reaction was way overblown to what, as a parent, I would place in the “teenagers being dumb” file.After the hubbub died down a little, I consulted Google to gauge the dimension of this story. All of the major U.S. television networks — ABC, CBS, NBC — covered it. The story was on U.S. cable news. The Washington Post reported it. All of those newslike websites ate it up. I even saw it on some sort of Hollywood insider site, though no one involved had previously been famous.And, yes, it went worldwide. The BBC had a report. The British tabloids ate it up, breathlessly reporting the girl accused of doing the pushing was seen, only days later, unrepentantly “partying” at the Clark County Fair. The story was on Australian TV, and in the New Zealand Herald. In fact, I got 594,000 hits when I did a news search for the words “Moulton Falls.”last_img

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