prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Global Feel-Good Story May Take Turn for the Worse

Posted by prof e on October 15, 2010

The rescue of 33 Chilean miners, who had spent 70 days under more than 2000 feet of solid rock, was the feel-good story of the month…perhaps of the year. It was a tremendous feat of engineering and a testimony to the power of human endurance. The world gathered around TV sets (audiences were estimated at 1 billion) and watched in awe as the miners were hoisted to the surface and into the arms of their waiting families, friends, and, in one awkward case, a mistress. It was worthy of the celebration that ensued…and the national festivities that followed.

But there may be a dark side to this story…one that is coming to light as the media executives and attorneys sweep in to fight over the goldmine that is not in the ground, but in the story. News reports tell us that the miners made a pact while underground that they would act together to sell their story, and share the revenue equally. So far so good. Rumors are that each miner could stand to make tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars for their stories…quite a bit more than their average annual salaries that range from $4,000 – $19,000 US.

According to, the media attention was anticipated.

Chilean authorities gave the men some media training before their rescue, conducting classes over phone lines. They have been invited to make appearances in Spain, England and Greece, and mining entrepreneur Leonardo Farkas gave each 5 million pesos ($10,400).

A book deal is already in the works with an early 2011 publication date. TV rights could bring in tens of thousands of dollars and movie rights could easily bring in hundreds of thousands. Oh, and Steve Jobs reportedly sent each miner the latest iPod! According to one report the miners are quoted as saying, “If we do this properly we won’t have to work for the rest of our lives.”

No one would argue that the miners deserve to share in the revenue that others will make by marketing this wonderful story to the world. But before we get too excited we might consider the sad stories of instant millionaires, lottery winners mostly, who come to realize that money often brings as much pain and suffering as it does happiness.

And speaking of pain and suffering, personal injury lawyers are no-doubt looking for ways to parlay the miners’ 70 days underground into something that they can take to the bank.

What started out as a heart-warming story of hope, faith, courage, endurance, and, finally, deliverance, may now turn into a story of greed and exploitation. Some might argue that’s what happens when the TV/film cameras focus their attention on people who start out with good intentions.


13 Responses to “Global Feel-Good Story May Take Turn for the Worse”

  1. AJ Dome said

    Here’s the problem with a good story… there’s always someone out there working to make money off of every single angle possible, good or bad. I understand TV appearances and rights, I understand interviews and free stuff because they survived, but a book deal? Come on, it will surely be an inspirational read, even if it’s not necessary.

    The world and its events are all marketable, in some form or another, whether we like it or not.

  2. Jishirll Clifton said

    I think that it is awesome that they made it out of there alive. I also think that it is absolutely fine that they sell there storyies of being underground for 70 days. This shouldn’t even be an issue, if somthing this intense happened to me I would want to make money for my struggles. I mean really 70 days is a ridiculous amount of time to be underground and no one is able to get you out, and they only make 4,000-19,000 a year doing such a high risk job. Give them a break!

  3. Dallan Whistance said

    Wow almost 70 days and they survived! That is truly amazing, yet of course someone is trying to make a quick buck. I think that its okay for them to want to make money, but maybe they should have waited a while. This inst uncommon though. lots of people with amazing stories sell them and make money, so I cant blame them for the idea. All in all I just think it was to soon to start thinking about books, movies and more but I guess that’s just the way of the world.

  4. Amy Delaney said

    I think the fact that the minors survived for 70 days is incredible,and they should be commended for the hard work they do every day, regardless of the fact they were trapped down in the mine for that long. It shouldn’t have taken them that long to become appreciated; their salaries, 4,000-19,000 annually were not worth the price of giving their lives for their work. However, by immediately exploiting their tale of survival, the story of hope and faith is diminished, tarnished, and packaged into consumeristic by-products for which to make thousands of dollars. I understand that the miners should recieve compensation for their hardships; this is fair. They were stuck underground for what must have seemed like an eternity. This does not take away from the fact that now, they are using their story to make more money than what may seem plausible. Their tales should be told, but not in artificial packaging; a news special, or one complete book written by all of the miners, would seem sufficient.

  5. Corey Caves said

    this is a very interesting story. i think that the world has turned very materialistic. to me many things are materials so you have to be grateful for every thing in your life that cant be replaced. for example money, is a very materialistic item. people need money in this world to fuunction. i dont like basing my world on this but since the world is sucked into this money is a huge issue. that is why these miners are trying to get as much money as they possibly can, because they arent getting paid very good to do a very dangerous job, and they are getting money thrown at them. so for them ot o take as much money as they can and try to collect as much as people will give them

  6. Chance Warren said

    Indeed, this is a very interesting and mindblowing story. I do agree with Corey that money includes materialism, but its effects on human life cannot be escaped unless by hermitage. However, I also agree with Dallan and Amy that it is sad that the story of the Chilean miners has instantly becoming a mass-marketed media event, turning a story of hope and faith into an ugly story of greed. It is right that the miners are getting their compensation–like Jishirll said, $4,000-$19,000 is piddly in terms of weekly salary. I would be certainly ready to get some more money in my pocket! However, there is that division point where rightful compensation becomes mindless greed, from which forth ensue even more negative consequences.
    I was personally rather shocked by discovering through this blog entry that the media were already training the miners what to say, even before they were rescued! It’s outrageous that innocent people have to be used as puppets by the media for the sake of media sensation. This is because media has become a driving force in the way people in industrialized countries live their lives!! There is so much media coverage, so much sensationalization, that it seems that not only everyone is getting their 15 minutes of fame, but so much to the point of catharsis. 40 years ago, the media brought stories to people without preinterpretation. Now every story must be blown up to exponential importance. The Chilean miners’ story is remarkable. But the news and film industry doesn’t have to squabble to glorify it. I think that once the Internet becomes more organized and set (if it ever will be) that perhaps these events won’t be given attention on such a grandiose scale.

  7. Manuel Crespin said

    We all know right off the bat, that good intentions and miracles had come from these brave miners. It’s hard to believe that they started their rescue with a thought in the back of their minds’ saying that in the end they would be famous. Risking one’s life to save another doesn’t start out that way. They had a plan to save innocent people, but like all the other people that commented said, money includes materialism. From the quick media coverage, greed and lust for money had definately given these heroes an extra consolation. All of a sudden a warm and motivation story of the love of the human soul had became a mass media event. Just like Chance, i was very shocked to find out that the miners were trained what to say to the media. They even said if all worked out they would not have to work again for the rest of their lives’. I understand they don’t make much, but even millionaires have to put in their work daily. Especially the everyday heroes who also save lives such as doctors and firemen. Sure, give them their well deserved applause and love for what they did. They are heroes no matter what we say, because they saved innocent people before anyone else even acted upon the situation. Although i feel it’s sad to see this event had turned heroes into media fed puppets.

  8. Joni James said

    Without a doubt, this story was worthy of publicity. It screamed human interest and novelty, and media outlets around the world knew it. What is unfortunate in my mind, however, is that now there is almost more buzz over the mass amounts of attention the story got from the media than there is over the actual story. Some of the people I’ve talked to even regard the entire incident as a “hoax” by newspapers and television. Furthermore, now that the miners are also making out well, more and more people are losing sympathy for them as well. What was originally a powerful and moving story has lost so much of its value just because of how it was treated in the media.

    Like many of my classmates, I also feel the movie and book deals are premature. After all, the story of the miners isn’t completely over; how they are reacting to all their fame and glory is also very interesting.

  9. Annessa Martinez said

    First off this is a incredible and heart warming story that these individuals all survived. They were very lucky and it is so great that they all got out safely and now get to spend the holidays with their families (which at first wasn’t sure if that was going to happen) safe and sound.

    Every day this individuals set out to go off to work, they were taking a huge risk. They knew what the consequences could end up being but like a lot of people believe, O it will never happen to me. They weren’t paid much to take this risk but they were taking a risky job because they had families to care for and keep a roof over their head and make sure there is food on the table. It is sad that they are just now getting appreciated for the work that they need after nearly losing their lives.

    Book deals, movies, interviews, etc. are all ways for these men to have money coming in and able to live off of that for years to come, but only if they are smart about it. You hear so many stories where people win all this money but are fullish with they way they spend it that it is really gone before it even hit their bank account. Financial consultants should be given to make sure that this doesn’t happen to these men. The fame, glamour, and money may be nice at first but it could all be over very quickly and the last thing those families would want if for their husband, son, brother to have to go back and work in those mines and risk their life all over again just to make ends meet.

  10. Daisy Mendoza said

    I was very happy as I watched the recue on the Chilean miners and I believe that this is perhaps one of the best stories of the year. I do believe that these miners deserve to get money for sharing their stories, even if it may seem a little greedy for them to do so. These miners don’t make a lot of money to begin with, and I’m sure that many of them have families to take care of. So why not sell their stories for as much as they can get. If people are willing to pay them for their stories, then that’s great. I also believe that those who suffered an injury while being trapped underground also deserve some sort of compensation.

  11. Beau Martin said

    I believe that these miners should make money off of their situation, but at the same time, im sure that someone will end up being upset in the end, because of the competitiveness in making money. If all of the miners settled on a way, or a few ways to make the money thru a movie, tv, book, etc. and were distributed the money equally, then I think that would be great, but I don’t think that will happen, and there will be arguments. That is why i think this situation could take a turn for the worse.

  12. Alex Miller said

    I think that the miners didn’t plan to make money off their situation. Anyone fighting for their life wouldn’t be making financial waivers. If these miners were truly in distress burried under thousands of feet of gravel, than they probably weren’t thinking about making it out and selling their story. I do think that selling their stories would make them money and help increase their popularity, but I just don’t think that they would have the time or patients to sit down and come up with a financial scam. The situation could make a turn for the worse because of the natural human nature.

  13. Isaac Davidson said

    If this is true, then it really is a blow to one of the greatest feel good stories i have ever seen. It’s actually ridiculous the lengths some will go to make a quick fortune.

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