Saturday, July 18, 2009

An Always Popular Not-News News Story

Some variation on this story pops up every few weeks to months. It is 'news' to people. I'm not sure why.

First World War veteran Henry Allingham, who became the world's oldest man last month, has died at the age of 113.

As tributes poured in, Lord's cricket ground fell silent at the start of play in the Ashes match between England and Australia as a mark of respect for Mr Allingham, who died in his sleep early yesterday morning.

Emphasis mine. This is not a record most people get to hold onto for very long. Each year typically see several oldest living men/women. Yet everytime one passes on, two stories rocket it up the popularity charts: 'World's Oldest Man/Woman Dies' and 'New World's Oldest Man/Woman (Fill in Background Story). That these stories are always popular even though they are typically neither newsworthy nor particularly interesting is kind of a quirk of humanity.

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