Did the media ignore the Beirut bombings? Or did readers?
It doesn’t matter what art we put with this or if it’s at the top of the homepage,” he said. “Nobody is going to read this.”
He was right. No matter how much we promoted the story, no matter how many times and ways we put it in front of readers, they were not interested.
I refused to believe that the editor had been right, and instead I blamed myself — my story must have been boring or poorly headlined, or the lede was too dry. Or maybe it was just that this was Baghdad, and readers had in the preceding months not come to appreciate the city’s brief calm — another way I might have failed them.
I still hold out hope that it’s possible to get readers interested. And I have been trying over and over in the five years since to get readers engaged with these stories. Incidents of mass violence in the world are, I believe, desperately important for readers to know. Not just so that readers can offer sympathy to the victims, but so that they may better understand what’s happening in the world and thus can better and more actively participate in whatever role they have to play as voters and global citizens. But unless the victims are either children or Christian, I have never really succeeded in getting readers to care about such bombings that happen outside of the Western world.