What to watch: Boston marathon manhunt or peace pact for Kosovo?

by carl on April 19, 2013

I usually ignore the net and the news in my home office from 9 to 5. But Friday, April 19, 2013, was different. When I heard the news of the shooting of one of two suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt for the second, I was glued to the live video coverage.

The Guardian had some videos and CBS Boston had live coverage of Boston, Watertown, Cambridge and other towns in “lockdown” mode, with police advising people not to leave their homes and not to open their doors to anyone other than someone with valid police ID.

They reported that the MBTA transit was shut down and rail service cancelled between Boston and Providence and between Boston and New York. I had a former Swarthmore classmate who lives 10 blocks from the apartment of one of the suspects.

More than an hour later, I unglued myself from the live news coverage.

Before I went back to my daily work – one editing contract and work on finishing my new board game, It Happened in the 60s – I decided to see what the European press had to say about the search for “Suspect No. 2” in Boston.

What I saw surprised me. In Switzerland’s Neue Zuercher Zeitung, there was no front-page coverage of Boston. What they did have was this piece of good news:

“Serbia and Kosovo have reached an agreement on the conflict that’s lasted many years over Kosovo … They did not release details. …. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, ‘What we see here is a step away from the past and a step in the direction of Europe.’ ” (translation mine)

The Swiss newspaper had picked up Deutsche Press Agentur (dpa) coverage of discussions that had just ended, talks moderated by Ashton between Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic und his opposite number from Kosovo Hashim Thaci.

Of course, an agreement can fall apart, and both news stories are very important developments. But I must be careful not to ignore what could be an important historical development just because it doesn’t have as good a video byte as an ongoing crime scene.

As a writer and former journalist, I shouldn’t have fallen for the video byte. Sometimes we have to relearn a lesson or two.

Also, I could read the Kosovo peace story in two minutes while the Boston standoff might continue for days.

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