The amazing story in yesterday’s Boston Globe that said “thousands” attended the annual Boston Pops July 4 concert and fireworks was short-lived. A story today, July 6, follows the original Law of Crowd Estimating, reporting that a Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) spokesperson says the show “drew roughly 4000,000 visitors to the Esplanade.” The story adds the reporter’s comment, as a fact: “That’s on the smaller side for the event, which has routinely attracted around half a million people to the banks of the Charles River to see the fireworks accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’.”
No reporter or editor of the Globe has ever considered that the banks of the Charles where crowds gather are two miles long on each side, or roughly 20,000 feet total.. If people packed the entire length, shoulder to shoulder, ten rows deep, each person taking up one square foot, that would mean 200,000. How the banks could accommodate 400,000 or half a million is a myth, faithfully repeated by Boston media.
File under: Don’t let a bit of math kill a story.
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