Folks, this article comes direct from the Sydney Morning Herald, but I think they will forgive me, for it is for a worthy cause - additional exposure for world poverty and such.
This article touched me, and summed up what I've thought for many years....real news and serious issues need more media attention, but for various reasons they can't get too much attention.
The writer of the piece, Mark Scott, and his editor, need applauding.
As many of your know, I'm involved in a number of charities and community groups, and it is a pleasure and privilage to be involved with them. Now, here's the article...
Compassion overload not only affects the public but also the media that keep it informed, writes Mark Scott.
It is the kind of line to prick a newspaper editor's conscience. Early in his new book, The End of Poverty, Professor Jeffrey Sachs comments that every day our newspapers could report "more than 20,000 people perished yesterday of extreme poverty". But it doesn't work that way. The story is too big for the news.
The death of more than 20,000 people on a single day would be one of the most momentous stories of the year - full of heartbreak and horror, particularly as so many of the victims were children.
The headlines would be massive, the news coverage extensive, the analysis compelling and in the days ahead, the letters page would be full of reader feedback.
But because this event happens every day of the year, for complex reasons that are hard to solve, it makes little news.
The problem with worldwide poverty and the unimaginable death toll, is that it is happening everywhere, all the time.
There is no sudden trigger or cause. It is a disaster without a single cataclysmic event. No single site of the tragedy. A mundane horror.
A serious newspaper like the Herald tries not to shy away from presenting difficult but newsworthy stories that may confront and challenge. And we attempt to reveal the issues behind the horrifying statistics of world poverty and disease. But inevitably, a paper is created to engage its readership. Part of that engagement comes from a news agenda that identifies stories readers will find relevant, different and surprising.
A crisis repeating itself daily slowly erodes in terms of news value. There is nothing new to report, just the same horror again. We feel like we have seen the photographs of starving children with distended stomachs so often.
As a result, wonderful stories of lives saved and changed - through malaria nets, micro-credit programs and low-cost drugs - often find it hard to register the impact they should make on the news pages.
In human terms, the millions and millions of lives lost in preventable deaths is the biggest story of any year. In media terms, the challenge is to tell that story in a way that arrests the attention of individuals and governments, and in a way that demands response.
Sachs's book contends that the crisis triggered by poverty and disease can be solved by 2025, and that all is not hopeless. And as a savvy political operator, he has enlisted and educated people such as Bono from U2 to help cut through the media indifference.
In a celebrity-driven world, Bono knows he can get headlines and manipulate them. Two years ago he addressed a world gathering of newspaper editors, urging them to pay more attention to the African crisis, stating he was deliberately using his profile to draw attention to the issue. "Celebrity is a kind of currency. I want to spend mine well," he told them.
Now we are seeing what star power can do. This weekend's series of concerts linked to the "Make Poverty History" campaign is expected to draw a TV audience of 1.5 billion.
In the first Live Aid concert 20 years ago, Bob Geldof colourfully urged the worldwide audience to send their money for Africa. This time, he says the concerts are about raising awareness, with a particular focus on putting pressure on the leaders of the world's biggest economies in the lead-up to next week's G8 meeting.
And the initial move of G8 leaders to forgive some of the Third World debt has triggered a storm of debate on whether that is the right policy - and whether the solutions proposed by Sachs will actually work. Debt forgiveness and G8 handouts will simply provide more "Mercs for jerks" - making corrupt African leaders more wealthy as their citizens continue to die - an article in The Spectator reported last week.
But the debate is healthy, as it is all about finally finding solutions that work to problems that should grip the globe and are the most pressing that the world faces.
There can be little doubt that an unlikely coalition of Bono, Geldof and Sachs, working on an agenda supported by G8 host Tony Blair, has pushed poverty back into the headlines. Thanks to them, editors will find it easier to put a big story about world poverty in their papers that people will read.
For a day, at least, the news of the world's greatest tragedy will be on page one.
Mark Scott is editor-in-chief, Metropolitan, Regional, Community Newspapers for John Fairfax.