Apologies to Green Day.
So I have two media-related stories, both about how little transit matters in the minds of Southern Californians.
First, I just completed a short class project analyzing the salience of a single media topic across two newspapers. I chose public transit, and the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. In the Chronicle, 15% of the articles on state and local news had some mention of public transit over the three days studied. The equivalent measurement in the Times? 3%. And this is from Los Angeles, where there's actually a half-decent transit system.
Then there's the Press-Enterprise. I was looking through the PE's web site the other day, and I saw this on the "breaking news" section:
Two articles about car-related stories, within an hour of each other. And how about transit, you ask? Three stories about transit in the PE in the ENTIRE MONTH OF MAY.
You're probably thinking right now that the papers are simply playing to their audiences, and this is my point precisely. Transit is not a major part of our lives here in southern California (generally speaking... it's a major part of MY life...), and therefore it will not receive the attention it deserves.