Self-aggrandizement in Orlando

I have lived in the Orlando area for about 1 year now. Since moving here, I have nnoticed that when a news story is reported on radio, TV, or newspaper, it seems as if the media looks for any possible way to relate the story or someone in the story to Orlando. Quite often, it is a major reach (along the lines of 6 degrees of separation). I don’t remember this being the case anywhere else I have lived.
Orlando media seems like it feels the need to justify it’s importance by showing that newsworthy people have some connection. Once, the story was reported of a lottery winner in another state. This was followed up by the broadcaster saying “And her mother lives right here in Central Florida.”

Is it just Orlando? Did I not notice this for some reason while living in other states?

Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

I haven’t noticed any area as self-aggrandizing as you’ve described Orlando. But I have noticed that a region’s self-absorption is much more obvious when you first move there, and becomes nearly invisible after you’ve been there for a good while. A friend of mine visited me in Oregon and she said, “The media in this state is so insular! It’s always “Oregon this!” or “Oregon that!”” I realized that it is actually true, but I think it’s true everywhere. I’ve noticed in nearly every city I’ve been in.

But Orlando might have a particularly bad case of it.

Digression: I remember a coworker who was a Polish immigrant who related everything to Poland. So’s to make a connection with her, I noted that my father was born in Silesia (a part of Poland which used to be eastern Germany). She said, “Well you know, Silesia used to be part of Poland”. I was thinking, Uhhh, why did you think I brought it up? She went on to mention that Nietzsche and Copernicus were Poles about a kazillion times.

Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

It’s probably true - I can see how the Orlando muckity-mucks would want to cultivate a sense of local culture or pride, seeing as how 95% of the people who live there have moved there from elsewhere to work in the tourist/service industry and bask in the presence of the Mouse™.
The Orlando area has been totally raped of the kind of rural Florida culture you would have seen 30 years ago. That leaves a void in the public consciousness, which people grapple to fill with something, anything.

3rd rate T-Shirt shops and tourists as far as the eye can see.

I see what you are talking about constantly on Columbus, Ohio local TV news. For example, if a plane crashes anywhere in the world, they will find someone in Columbus who once worked with someone whose second cousin was killed in the crash. There’s always a “local connection” to anything newsworthy that happens.

Gilligan, I was just about to say the same thing about Columbus. I notice especially when local news runs after something like 20/20 they try to “continue the theme.” Sometimes they do this following particular episodes of ER, too.

The media does this wherever you are. Or certainly wherever I’ve been… In NYC, DC and Raleigh, every news program took a local look at nationnal and international issues.

A few examples:

  • Something happens in a remote country, media tracks down the cultural center in their city where expats from that country reside and get opinion. Obstensibly titled, “The situation in __________ hits close to home.”

  • My favorite - They tie in the news with that evening’s network movie event and talk to locals about that. This happens all the time.

It’s pretty natural, really. The local news wants to talk about local stuff, so no better way than to tie in the rest with that locality.

Yer pal,

In journalism it’s called proximity. What has been described here was pretty much part of the SOP when I was a journalism student…a long time ago.

I think this occurs everywhere. The San Diego morning news on KUSI today, after every mention of the Egypt Air crash, reminded us that two couples “believed to be aboard” the plane are from the San Diego area.

That’s not as bad as stories which go out of their way to mention that one of the principals is the grandson of former residents of an only moderately nearby area (for example Riverside or San Bernardino), or something. In those, it’s pretty clear that they’re reaching to get some kind of local connection.

The only local news that is even halfway watchable is Channel 2. 6, 9, 18, 35 and 65 are tabloidish to the nth degree. The Orlando Sentinel has it’s problems too, and there is no other competing local newspaper.
I get The New York Times during the week and The Sentinel on Sundays. If there’s a local story of interest during the week, I go to the Sentinel’s web site.

The economy here isn’t as tied to tourism as you think (like Las Vegas). Healthcare and aerospace are also big here. We’re home to The University of Central Florida and Rollins College. The resorts are all on the southwest side of town. Most of the city looks like any other town in the sunbelt.

A person with a few bucks and some common sense can easily make a very good living here.


Mullinator–it’s everywhere. I can’t tell you how sick I get of our local newscasters struggling to find “the Delaware Valley (i.e. the area around Philly) connection.” I saw the same thing when I lived in Houston, and I noticed it recently while visiting Los Angeles (you’d think they would need any more publicity).

Sometimes it’s legitimate, like when a local is awarded something or breaks a sports record. What I can’t stand is when the reporters try to latch onto a tragedy by finding someone who was friends with a cousin of one of the victims. Or this real example–when Princess Di was killed, one lame-ass station managed to find someone locally to interview who’s sole connection to the late princess was that they had both attended an awards banquet together. Yuk!