IIRC Kirk Douglas was an ace reporter down on his luck. he was lucky to get a job in some hick paper out in the midwest somewhere. he got a lucky career break when news reached him about a mantrapped in a cavein in a local mine. He knew a gold mine when he saw it.
By his careful questions and leading commetns, he managed to turn a simple rescue into a week long circuis complete with tourist trappings, a ferris wheel, food booths, etc. as people came from all over to watch the rescue effort continue. Meanwhile KD's star kept on a-rising. he was getting all kinds of offers to come to NYC and write, etc..
The trapped miner? he died of exposure.
The movie is called "The Big Carnival" with an alternate title of "Ace in the Hole."