Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Two things wrong

The New Zealand Herald’s front-page lead story today
begins with the words ‘A woman cyclist killed after being
struck by a train is believed to have been distracted
listening to an iPod-style music player.’ From a
journalistic point of view, there are two things badly
wrong with that statement. First, why a woman cyclist?
Think about it. Would the reporter say ‘a man cyclist’?
Of course not. This is soft sexism, perpetuating the
antiquated (but clearly persistent) notion that women are
not as fully human as men. Then there’s that ubiquitous
word ‘after,’ often used lazily by journalists to give a
heightened sense of chronological narrative to a story.
Think about this too. She was killed after being struck by
the train? I don’t think so. If that was the case, who or
what killed her and how? Obviously she was killed when
struck by the train, but in today's media ‘when’ is
increasingly being driven out of reportage by ‘after.’ Such
an awful accident deserved better reporting than this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thought you had lost the plot and began repeating yourself on Radio NZ when the subject of a dead cyclist who was a women came up in your last Media slot. But no, no Deno, 'twas not Déjà vu all over again, rather the use of other media to cover this topic. Must remember, I saw it here first.