Ultimately, it’s the question at the heart of any story. Why should my audience care?
Is it a story about taxes and how it will change daily habits? It is a story about gas prices and the global economy? Is it a story about whether a town is going to allow people to plant trees in their yard? The question that should be asked often is, “Why should my audience care?”
I pose this question to the thousands of people in London this week covering the royal wedding. Why should I care? No really, why?
Didn’t our forefathers spend years fighting with the British to separate ourselves from them? Didn’t they come to the new world to start fresh? Didn’t they no longer want to be under rule of the monarchy? So why, in 2011, should I care who is marrying whom in the royal family?
I’m not the only one who doesn’t seem to care. A CBS News/NY Times poll conducted last week indicates that only six percent of Americans are following the royal wedding very closely. Another 22 percent is following it somewhat closely. A combined 72 percent is either following it not very closely or not at all. That number is Great Britain is slightly lower at 70 percent.
I may not have majored in math, and the joke is that journalists aren’t very good at math, but I do know what a majority is, and I know that if a candidate won an election with 72 percent of the vote that’s what the headline would read.
So why are networks spending thousands of dollars on covering this event? And it is certainly thousands.
Not only are the hosts of the morning shows (Today Show, Good Morning America and The Early Show) there, but so are their staffs. Their producers, photographers, makeup/hair people, PAs, editors, you name it, they’re there.
While I have not seen a spreadsheet of how many people from the nets headed over the pond, I know it’s a lot. In fact, Tracie Potts of NBC tweeted, “I’m told royal wedding may be NBC’s biggest story ever (people/preps), including Olympics!”
So with 72 percent of Americans not caring about this, why all the attention?