My new perspective on bus plunge stories 2

LONGSHAN, HUNAN — No, I was not in a bus plunge accident, but I was in a bus, on a mountain road, in the rain last week. The experience was oddly enough one of the highlights of the last three weeks. A time-honored half-inch filler in many newspapers has traditionally been the proverbial “bus plunge” story, which goes something like, GENERICA, HOONOHSISTAN — Nearly 100 people died last week when their overloaded bus skidded off a snowy mountain road and into a ravine 100 feet below. Rescuers were unable to reach the scene until weather conditions improved yesterday. Despite the morbid subject matter, among newspaper people, bus plunge stories are somewhat of a running joke, since they are basically boilerplate copy. You just change the date, the number of casualties and the location and leave everything else basically the same. For years, I half wondered if the Associated Press was pulling our legs and just making these stories up. Some intern was sitting at a desk somewhere manufacturing half-inch bus plunge stories for release at random times. Of course, such accidents really do happen, and they’re no joke. All this was running through my mind as my bus ambled from ...
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