Lazy journalism

A couple of things in the press have irked me slightly over the past few days. The first is by no means restricted to this area, but instead is a blight on local news everywhere. I keep an eye on the News Shopper website to get an idea of what’s happening in the area and this week I read about a fire that was put out at a property in Templar Drive. You can read the full story here (what there is of it). It’s a short story because there’s barely anything to say. A fire occurred in a kitchen. It was put out by the fire brigade. Nobody was injured. But to pad it out the opening sentence runs “FIREFIGHTERS are warning people to take care when cooking…”

Are they? Where are these warnings being given? Did it really take this blaze to initiate these warnings? As far as I’m aware the fire brigade are quite big on education in the ways of avoiding fire. On the whole, most people who use kitchens know they should be careful when they use ovens or chip pans, it’s just that accidents sometimes happen due to lapses in care. I do not believe that as a result of one domestic incident the fire brigage have stepped up their campaign in the area. Along with the stock photo that the paper always uses when reporting on fires, it would seem it’s just fluff to fill space.  I’m sure that after the next robbery that merits a mention the police will warn people to be vigilant and lock their doors, according to these reporters but until I see a leaflet campaign or somebody coming to my door with the essential information about watching my chip pan, I won’t believe it’s based in truth. Perhaps the firemen do actually say that people should take care when asked for a quote, I have no way of telling, but if this is the case then they are prompted for the same pointless quote every time. It’s lazy writing.

Another story in the paper that annoyed me actually sent me some distance out of my way pointlessly. This healine proclaimed “Thamesmead in Sarah Beeny exhibition on ‘classic’ estates“. As the article states, Thamesmead isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I have something of a vested interest, so I went along to look, travelling from Zone 4 to Zone 1 and the RIBA building to see the exhibition. It was a reasonably interesting set of pictures and there were a few wooden and paper models to look at, alongside descriptive text. However, it was rather small, and also pretty crowded. I waited patiently to get to look at the area where new towns were described and find the Thamesmead content. Despite what the article claims (probably taken from a press release), the exhibition made a passing mention of high rise estates, and did not focus on five of them. The only reference to Thamesmead by name or illustration was a single photograph of children playing alongside Southmere Lake. The same picture, in fact, that illustrates the newspaper article. Twice.

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