The 9pm news update last night featured the United Nations-backed bombing of Libya, and the death of a polar bear in in a German zoo. It's easy to agree that one of these items is an occasion that will enter the history books, and one of them isn't.
Yet the media often doesn't make the distinction. The cover of the Sunday Star Times featured an acquittal under the 'anti-smacking law' and an article about the dilution of the All Black brand through over-marketing. It's completely possible that the item from the weekend's news that will end up being most important was buried on page 18 of the business insert.
I would love to be able to flick back through a newspaper's online archive and be able to view each week's most important articles - not the most blogged, not the most emailed, not the most inflammatory, but the ones that turned out to report events and occasions that signalled the start of a change, or the end of an era, or the moment beyond which a path was set.
While I'm waiting, I'm reading James Fallow's lengthy and fascinating Atlantic article, 'Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media'.