Saturday, February 23, 2008


My hometown newspaper - the Christchurch Press - has a reputation for being parochial, especially among my siblings. I would like to point out that over half of my siblings live in cities with infinitely worse newspapers (the Otago Daily Times, and The Worst, oops, West Australian, and Penang's newspaper which basically exists as a government advertisement), and to point out that the World News section in the Press is not bad at all and that the movie reviews are very good.

Today, however, my opinion of the Press has been drastically altered when I saw the front page article: "Who stole this blind boy's bike?"

The article starts, "A near-blind Christchurch albino boy is appealing to thieves to return his bike, which was stolen the first time he took it to school." This article, plus a huge picture of the little boy, takes up about half the front page.

There is something about these type of articles that makes me want to throw up. Yes, it's unfortunate, but hello? It's a bike! And he left it unlocked! As sad as it may be for him to lose it, I think page three or four at best, with maybe a small photo, would be sufficient. It's shameless use of someone's personal problems to generate media points and to sell a newspaper by pity. If that makes sense. It's almost as bad as the Australian current affairs show I saw which featured a "special guest invalid".

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, rioters in Serbia have just set fire to the American Embassy, inflation in Zimbabwe has risen to over 100,580% and floods and landslides in Indonesia have killed eleven and displaced 3500. And a boy in Christchurch who happens to be partially blind has lost his bike.


LEstes65 said...

General madness indeed.

Where I live, the TV news usually spends about 20 minutes of air time on the local college sports. And then they mention some stupid scandal involving someone up for election. And we are kept in the dark about the fact that a whole other world exists outside the borders of our county. Thank goodness I have you to keep me informed!!!

E. said...

Am loving these near-constant updates---every post is a gem!

My favorite news moments are always those hours taken up with the latest Lindsey Lohan with a two-minute tag at the end reminding us about Darfur. Something terribly wrong, indeed.

pilgrimchick said...

I entirely agree about this article. It's as if we don't hear "news" anymore--we hear "human interest stories" that cater to our own sense of self-worth in our own little worlds....which shouldn't be the case at all.

Tavis Xavier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tavis Xavier said...

I agree. But then again, the paper may of been lacking a big story that day.

Hearts and minds always gets people reading.

Who doesn't feel for a little boy who lost his bike?

Who cares if the boy had no sense to lock it up. Selling papers is all about appearing to one's own feelings.

Stacy said...

What kind of mom lets her nearly blind son ride a bike? "Yes, son. The really big blurs, those are cars. We avoid those."

heidikins said...

Amen. Put the local boy and the local missing boy on the front page of the local section, a small blip, in the corner, if you must. Keep the real news up front.


Bonsai said...

wait a minute.. why is a near blind anyone allowed to ride a bike anyway???