Gutter Journalism

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Most of the country by now knows about the tragedy that Bethlehem College has had to deal with these past weeks. It has been an horrific, sad, terrible thing for the school community to be coping with. But - as is often usual, the better side of human nature is displayed in the support and practical help a community offers as it does its best to help those most closely impacted. I could say that this has shown us how blessed we feel to be part of the BC family as we have watched and heard of the care and love shown to these families affected by this tragedy, but I know that this is duplicated time and time again in all places all over  New Zealand when these events occur.

Generally, we are too busy as a family to sit down and watch the 6 o'clock news, but last night just before I went to bed,  I clicked on two online news clips from our two main tv stations. And I was disgusted at the inflammatory use of the English languge that was used on one particular tv station in reporting on events at Bethlehem College.

The opening statement:  "There's been a new twist today in the cover up over who was driving the bus that crashed in Kenya..." (my emphasis added).

If I was a journalist I would be ashamed to use that sensational language. It puts bias on the story, making it sound as though Bethlehem College has been involved in some kind of conspiracy.
The tv station has included a clip from the African man - but they have not given the entire clip, or the context in which he was talking. Extremely misleading and bias. In other words, Bad, bad journalism.

They also show a reporter walking up to the house of the poor young man who has this burden to carry for the rest of his life. Nobody deliberately caused this accident. It was an accident. A mistake. One with terrible consequences; but the way that this particular news station is reporting on it, and the use of slant in their language, they are leaning heavily in the direction of trying to scrape up a scandal.
The other objection I have to it is that they show this young man's family home on the news, and point out that it is for sale (as it has been for awhile now). So now, everyone in Tauranga knows where this boy lives, and can even go and look at pictures of the inside of his house. Is this a breach of privacy? Comes pretty close to it, I should say.

Gutter, gutter journalism. I will not ever be watching this tv station again.

And then I watched TVOne's coverage of the story, and when you compare the two, there is no comparison. Much, much better. More informative, more accurate, and completely neutral - which is what a journalist and news report should be. Well, that's what I was taught anyway.

And then there's the school statement from our Principal. You watch. You read. You judge for yourself.

The unprofessional coverage here.

The real news here.

The school media release statement here.

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