A quick rant on journalism…

But first…
Dulltown, UK/Europe: Today’s carefully selected colours are: mouse mauve, porcupine pink, giraffe green, ox orange, tiger turquoise, yak yellow, and kangaroo, er… blue.

So, what’s up with journalists?
I’m talking about not just TV and radio journalists, but the poor lost souls who are stuck still working on those pompous ad-infested old-fashioned things, paper newspapers. You’d think that journalists would be up to speed with stuff, wouldn’t you? I mean, they supposedly deal with ‘new’ things, things that are just coming to the boil – that’s what ‘news’ is – fresh events, up-to-the-minute items, that sort of thing. But even on TV, Radio, and online, which we presume have their coffee-stained fingers on the world’s pulse, they seem to be desperately hanging on to the conventions of the past – from the age of the great rolling thundering presses of Fleet Street, and scruffy chaps standing in the rain on busy street corners shouting the news, grabbing pennies, and pushing their papers at passers-by.
Journalists seem to be members of a great big smug club, they like to be seen as so clever and well-informed, and impartial, they happily hobnob, chit chat, and are on first name terms with all the famous, powerful, jumped-up, smart-arse people in our lovely society. But also they…
‘Hang on Dave, what has provoked all this?…’
Oh, well – it came to me when someone famous died, a few weeks ago.
Yes, I heard on my radio alarm early in the morning that a famous chap had died the night before.
‘Alright, so what was it that…?’
Well, all that day, right up until midnight, the rolling on-screen headlines, and the newsreaders, were saying, ‘Mr So-and-so dies at the age of…’
So, what’s wrong with that?’
How about, ‘Mr So-and-so has died, at the age of…’? The poor bugger had been dead since the previous night, but the media, by using the word ‘dies’, were dragging it out all day, as if he was still at it. I looked up the grammar of the word ‘dies’ – it is the third person present –  present! They just couldn’t let him go – he had to hang on and be ‘hot breaking news’ for as long as possible – poor sod!
It probably goes back to the days of that chap standing on the corner with his newspapers; next to him would be handwritten sign behind wire mesh with that day’s up-to-the-minute headline on it. The press are obsessed with being first with the news. Someone who ‘has died’ sounds too much like old news, someone who is still in the process of dying sounds a lot more gripping and exiting, doesn’t it? You feel like phoning up the BBC and asking, ‘Has he gone yet?…’
‘Does it matter?’
Not really, it’s just a bit odd though, don’t you think? It’s like breaking news. God, it seems to be ‘breaking’ for hours and hours and…
‘I’ve had enough of this!’
Right ho…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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3 Responses to A quick rant on journalism…

  1. Dana Doran says:

    Have you ever read the “ticker” that runs across the bottom of the screen? I think perhaps it lives there, constantly rolling, so one can never pay too close attention to the news spiel.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Oh, is it called a ticker? I didn’t know that – it must be from ticker-tape machines they had in the ‘olden days’.
      I see, according to the Palace, my mate Prince Andrew has decided to keep quiet for a bit… Ha!…

  2. David Manley says:

    Journalists don’t get me started! As a lad I worked at a modern art gallery and the bastards were always slagging us off!

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