The media likes to report on victims of accidents, disasters and crimes, and while it's natural to feel sympathy for unfortunate individuals, the only imaginable benefit this sort of coverage provides to viewers and readers is catharsis, which is better served by the popular arts.

News should inform and enlighten. Due to a series of recent traffic accidents resulting in death, victim coverage has been intense lately. There were two cases in Kyoto Prefecture of motorists losing control and plowing into pedestrians, a similar tragedy in Chiba Prefecture, and then that charter bus crash on the Kanetsu Expressway at the start of the Golden Week holiday. Reporters profiled selected victims, explicating their now unfulfillable dreams as friends and family wept on camera.

It was all very affecting — and beside the point. The press is supposed to find out why these accidents happened, and like victim coverage, explanations of cause centered on individuals. In the first Kyoto accident, the driver was reported to have been suffering from epilepsy, which his employer didn't know about. The second Kyoto crash was caused by a young unlicensed driver. The Kanetsu incident is still being investigated, but we know the driver was hired illegally as a part-timer and fell asleep at the wheel.