What Is News?

I ignored the news story at first. Rick Hansen’s daughter gave birth to a stillborn child. I wondered, why is that news?

Canadians recognize Rick Hansen‘s name. Confined to a wheelchair after an accident when he was 15, he rolled across Canada (and 33 other countries, more than 40,000 kilometres) from 1985-87, to raise money for spinal cord research.

I didn’t know he had a daughter, who is now an adult. Turns out she is a model and skin care advocate. Not something I would ordinarily consider newsworthy. I am a news junkie, but I still have questions as to why the children of celebrities should be put in the spotlight by the media. But I had read the other news of that day, so I clicked on the link. First I read the story, and then I clicked further to read the entire blog post Emma Hansen wrote after the death of her son, Reid.

You can read it by clicking the link at the end of this post. But before you click I should warn you: I was an emotional wreck for about an hour after reading it. It is a very sad story, compellingly told. No happy ending.

I at times laugh when I see some of the things people post on Facebook for the world to see. Do even your close friends care if today you got a large coffee instead of a small one? Why do people feel the need to share such trivia?

In addition to the trivial you can find on social media there is also the personal, and Emma Hansen’s post definitely falls into that category. There are times when I wonder if too much information is being shared in such a fashion, that people really didn’t need to know.

In this case though, I get it. It is intensely personal, and somehow beautiful. By making this story public in this fashion Emma and her husband Aaron only need to tell the story once. No need to relive it time and time again as well-meaning people ask for the details. Plus, she had blogged about her pregnancy – her readers had been with her on the journey and would want to know the outcome.

I can only imagine how difficult it was to write those words. Yet in the story of loss there is love, faith and hope. My heart aches for Emma and Aaron, two people I have never met.

This was not a news story in the traditional sense, not a war, a murder and economic or ecological crisis. It is a very human tale though, and that is what news is really all about.



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