This question is about seemingly peripheral stories that get coverage, not about the media's quest for the salacious, or about politicians' efforts to get the media to focus on the mundane
Two specific times in the past week, news stories that seem to me to be unimportant have gotten relatively prominent coverage from a range of news organizations. This sort of thing happens all the time, but it's really jumped out at me in the past week.
Driving into work last Friday, I was surprised to hear Carl Kasell covering the New England Patriots spying scandal in NPR's 5-minute newscast. I stopped to get coffee, and CNN was covering it too.
Then earlier this week NPR gave up precious seconds of its national news summary to a story about a new California law restricting use of cell phones by teenagers while driving... and then CNN was on that
I can easily imagine the California law getting minor play from the LA Times; what the heck was it doing on the national news? Does some guy at the AP decide the order of news stories on the wire, and the rest of the media just follows suit? Is there a wider cabal somewhere? What's the deal?
This is a US-centric question, but the experience and wisdom of foreigners is welcome.