Short shot #25: setting a record

Reporters often feel that it’s not enough to just report a story, that they need to set the story in some perspective. So instead of writing that it was very cold locally on December 1, and reporting the temperatures for the day, they’ll add that this was the coldest December 1 since 1997.

That’s a made-up story, but here’s a real one, about a school stampede in China’s Hunan province in which 8 were killed and 26 injured. This sad event was described on this morning’s Morning Edition on NPR as “the deadliest school stampede in China since 2002”.

According to Yahoo! News,

Despite harsh punishments aimed at forcing improvements, deadly stampedes continue to occur repeatedly in China’s schools, usually as students are rushing to exams or charging out of class down tight corridors and narrow stairwells.

This story cautiously described the Monday stampede as “among the deadliest since the crushing deaths of 21 children in a northern China middle school in 2002”.

(Early hits on {“school stampede”} include stories on a September stampede in Delhi, India, and a March 2002 stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Until this morning I hadn’t thought of school stampede as a category of events.)

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