The gulf between journalists and everyone else

Sometimes things you take for granted as a journalist can take you by surprise. Take this clipping from last week’s Metro.

Metro clipping

Now, I read this and I couldn’t see much wrong. But then, I’m a journalist, inured to the way of court-reporting and the structure’s of news writing.

Headline teases with the most interesting bit. Word in quotes to imply it was said by someone other than the paper. Opening sentence continues with that most interesting thing from the court’s proceedings but a bit more information. “An inquest heard yesterday” is code for “a witness said”. Second sentence explains the background to the inquest. Third sentence adds more detailed. Fourth cycles back to the first sentence to give it the context in which it was said.

As a journalist, nothing wrong with that, huh?

I got this yesterday from one of his friends:

“Muppet” repeated three times in two sentences *and* the headline? Talk about playing it for laughs?��Ǩ�� It basically makes out that was the coroner’s verdict. It’s also Malcolm not Martin that they’ve pictured. Unbelievably rude.

His family are distraught.

Now, clearly printing a picture of another member of The Wonder Stuff rather than the deceased himself is bad, bad, bad. But the family are distraught over that nib, in part because they don’t know ‘the code’.

There’s a gulf there, isn’t there?

5 Replies to “The gulf between journalists and everyone else”

  1. There would be nothing wrong with the ‘muppet’ angle – apart from it’s very overplayed – if the guy had, say, broken his leg. But he died, for heaven’s sake. Therein lies the gulf. Journalists don’t take death very seriously.

  2. I think the subbing could have been a little gentler – rather than an ‘inquest heard,’ maybe ‘it was claimed at an inquest.’
    But hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    Great blog. Are you still writing for TV Scoop? (I found my way here from there, somehow!)

  3. Rob, I really admire your media blog, I’ll put a link on to it if I may from my “works” blog. I am writing for corrieblog from home of an evening. I always say it beats the hoovering.

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