chapter  7
Planning for the unforeseen: covering transport accidents, fires, demonstrations and human interest stories
Pages 22

Reports of transport accidents and fires feature regularly in local papers. A surveyby Durrants press cuttings agency found that during 1997 accidents anddisasters secured more newspaper coverage than any other subject. They beat sport into second place, with the economy and crime in third position. Indeed, while journalists stress the ‘newness’ of the news, sociologists often highlight its ‘endless repetitiveness’ (Rock 1988). Yet, in fact, accidents fortunately remain extremely rare. According to an editorial in the Guardian (8 November 2004), between 1992 and 2001 (the latest period for which figures were available) on average there were three deaths a year per billion passenger kilometres involving cars compared with only 0.4 deaths on the railways. Air transport remained by far the safest, with just 0.01 deaths per billion passenger kilometres.