Why I believe the Steve Jobs story is local (last of a series)

[A follow-up to my earlier Steve Jobs-related posts on Saturday, Sunday and earlier today)]

If you’re just now entering this multi-post thread, I suggest you click on one of those links above to catch up. On second thought, it’s probably not worth it. Just go ahead and skip this post completely.

However, if you may have caught one of those items, this is my swan-song post on my weekend rants suggesting that Steve Jobs having a liver transplant in Tennessee is a local story deserving some “reporting” by somebody, anybody who works for a news organization in the state — a belief obviously not shared by the states’ local news outlets.

I’ll pass along one fact I’ve learned today: I can confirm that the surgery took place in Memphis, not Nashville. Rather than say “according to sources close to the situation,” I’ll choose to do it the Wall Street Journal way and just leave it there. 

Also, I’d like to address another issue before moving on to topics I actually find of interest — ranting is not why I blog.

Today, I’ve been accused of being interested in the Tennessee-connection “because Steve Jobs is a celebrity.” I’ve also been told via  Twitter that very few people in Tennessee think this is a local story because they aren’t into technology as much as the geeks (like me) who seem to be obsessed over anything related to Jobs.

So let me set the record straight:

I don’t care that Steve Jobs, the celebrity, had a liver transplant in Tennessee. It’s not at all unusual for major celebrities to have major medical procedures in Tennessee. (Or, come to think of it, minor ones having large procedures.) I agree that a celebrity getting a liver transplant in Tennessee may be of interest — and any such procedure is, to me, miraculous, but it’s not stop-the-presses, or even slow-them-down  worthy. 

However, this liver transplant story is a big deal.

First off, it’s an incredible story with all sorts of drama that, if I were a reporter, would love to write — and you’d love to read: Mystery, intrigue, power, media manipulation, and starring someone who has become perhaps the most powerful person in an industry that Tennessee — both Nashville and Memphis — is known for worldwide — music. So don’t tell me this isn’t a local story, or that it’s just about gawking at a celebrity.

It’s a local story because a person who is the Thomas Edison or Walt Disney of his generation (or if you don’t like those comparisons, a real-life Charles Foster Cane or contemporary Howard Hughes)  — someone who lives within a few miles of arguably the best transplant center in the world — would come to Tennessee to have the procedure. Does it not seem like a local story to ask, what about the practices related to liver donations are different in Tennessee than California — an issue that is probably of interest to many people who await a transplant? Is it not a story to look for the local angle on how such an amazing bit of secrecy was enabled by someone in Memphis?

I am also curious about whether or not “residency” requirements related to ones place in line would lead someone to purchase a home (as Jobs is rumored to have done) and never move into it (another rumor).

I could go on, but like I said, the weekend is over and I’m checking out of this thread.

But not without saying one last thing: 

I can’t tell you how much I hope Steve Jobs recovers and lives a long and healthy life. I can directly credit the technology he’s led in developing with giving me the opportunity to start and grow my business — and for this, I’m personally indebted to him. He will forever be one of my heroes (even on those occasions when I disagree with some of the ways he runs his company).

And I hope some part of the rest of his life will be dedicated to creating an insanely great way to cure cancer.

Bonus link: How Apple played the media and market like an iPod playlist (although ZDNet doesn’t say it that way).

  • Blair

    Let’s face it, Tennessee has never been known for its journalists, especially their coverage of technology and business (excluding music – Nashville still has a Billboard office). I’m still disappointed but not surprised.

  • Rex, I agree that it is indeed a “Local” story that should have been pounced on by the media. Like Blair, I am not surprised but disappointed…not in just the media, but in our citizens these days. So much important news is happening that will effect the average Joe, and yet, everyone seems to be on a mental vacation lately. For Tennessee this non-coverage bodes ill, for it confirms to the rest of the US that we are not serious about technology; thus further hampering any major tech-industry boom in Tennessee. But…what do I know, maybe there’s a backstory of hide-and-seek that will prove us all wrong.

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  • My comments were not terribly serious but I did hope to provide some context because a) I’m a native Memphian and b) I have several friends who work for both the CA and the Flyer.

    Both publications are staffed mostly by natives or, at least, native Tennesseans. And certainly by a fair number of people who’ve been in the city for a while. Also, both publications are stretched pretty thin in the newsroom. Also, people come to Memphis from all over the world on a daily basis for medical care. So I can see why there weren’t a lot of resources dedicated to this story…and why an editor wouldn’t necessarily think this is huge news. Though I do agree with you in part and think that the decision not to dedicate more resources was a bit shortsighted. Though I don’t think it was particularly irresponsible or a glaring example of poor local coverage. I rely on Nashville’s TV news and sad daily newspaper for examples of poor local coverage.

  • Hudge