The Popcorn Stand: O.J. dusts off a great story

What is news?

Even though I consider myself a journalistic professional of nearly 30 years, I’ve never stopped asking that question and it’s a question I asked again on Thursday. Unless you live under a rock or maybe just don’t give a you know what, O.J. Simpson was granted parole on Thursday and will be free in October. The story was of some local interest since the parole board members were in Carson City while they questioned Simpson via teleconference while he was in a state prison in Lovelock.

It was Back to the Future as television couldn’t get enough of O.J. It was the 1990s all over again. Granted, television coverage of O.J. Simpson’s trial in the 1990s was a dramatic presentation of the human condition. I can remember the day when the verdict was announced having sweaty palms waiting for that verdict to come.

But to be honest I was stunned when all the major networks and local television stations were back to televise live Thursday’s parole hearing. I personally didn’t care that much about Thursday’s parole hearing and I certainly didn’t have sweaty palms. Didn’t even watch the hearing.

Joe Santoro wrote in his Fodder that appears in today’s Appeal that only the media care about O.J. and he may be right. But when budgeting today’s edition of the Appeal under the direction of editor Adam Trumble, I went right along with the media. O.J. is plastered prominently on our front page today and I devoted almost another page inside to O.J., including coverage of the media circus.

Meanwhile a story I care more more about and a story I’ve periodically written about in this Popcorn Stand, moon dust collected by Neil Armstrong selling for $1.8 million, I decided to place on page 8 in today’s edition.

The reality was in the end, O.J. was going to dust off that unique story. And I’m sure when O.J. is released in October all of us in the media will be there.

— Charles Whisnand


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