There is a way to separate the human interest stuff that’s clogging the air waves from hard news. When four climbers are lost on Mount Hood, for example, if we look at it dispassionately, we’d see that the only people who are affected are the climbers (who died) and their families. If you want to stretch it, other people who climb mountains in inclement weather might also have an interest in that information. But the rest of us are only getting an emotional hit from the story. We project ourselves into the situation, and think how horrible it would be to die that way, or to have a family member or friend die that way. It’s not news, it’s not conveying information that affects us, it’s story-telling.
On the other hand, there is information that is news, that affects all of us, that has almost no story-telling to it. When the Fed raises interest rates, there’s no story, but wide impact. The fact that many Americans don’t understand how it impacts them, is perhaps itself a story.