The dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners is the feel-good story of the year, no question. Media attention will now turn to the many "untold stories" of their time underground, particularly the 17 days following the mines collapse before they were discovered alive by the world a mile and a half above them. There already are reports of unspoken worries of cannibalism that finally surfaced as morbid jokes as their rescuers drew near.
But the enduring images will be of the miners, one by one, emerging from the tiny rescue basket, falling to their knees, thanking God to be alive and back with their families. Their collective faith and optimism resonates with a world perhaps tired of cynicsm.
For the Chilean government, investigations will begin in earnest into the what went wrong at the mine. The Miami Herald reports that Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has already begun a thorough review of his country's mining industry.
Pinera is drawing international praise for the bold and decisive way he has handled the mine disaster. That his concern for the individual miners is genuine seems beyond doubt, lending heartfelt legitimacy to his commanding presence at the center of the spotlight.
"'It was an amazing communications effort,'" the Herald quotes Eduard Garnarra, a political science professor at Florida intenational University. "'Every crisis is an opportunity when you are president of a country.'" Somehow that sounds different from when Rahm Emmanuel said nearly the same thing, speaking of a U.S. president and an econimic crisis. Pinera's empathy overwelms any accusations of opportunism by cynical critics.
Question for the next post: how can you hope to keep media attention on the feel-good aspects of your crisis?