Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A different view

One of the cool things about being a journalist is that you generally get to start your day by reading all the newspapers. All supplied and paid for by your company of course. After a while it becomes a kind of daily routine that you don't really think about. It's an interesting exercise, seeing how different publications cover the same unfolding news events of the day. What is important to one title, may not even make it into another - assuming of course that the story was left out by choice and not just accidentally missed. Like for example, today's Daily Sun took a story that nobody else had or perhaps wanted as their front page scorcher.
This little tabloid has a view on the world that often completely escapes me. But a helluva lot of people certainly click with the paper as it has more readers than any other daily paper in the country.
So today's Daily Sun scoop was a suicide story. My paper generally doesn't ever cover suicides, so I know that we would not have been interested in this piece even if it had been syndicated on the wires. Daily Sun, however, managed to take the story and see the link to the ongoing transport strike and scaled down rail services.
Anyway - here is their story. I have copied it exactly - down to the last capital letter and exclamation mark:
"Mpumelelo Stulo (47) wanted to die so he went to sit on a railway line...
But there is a rail strike on. And not many trains were running...
People said Mpumelelo covered his face with his hands just before being run over by the wheels of steel.
It happened yesterday on the line between Wellington and Cape Town.
Poor Mpumelelo had been there from 11 in the morning to 4.30 in the afternoon."
Ah - but the story does not end there. They continue with quotes from an unnamed witness who describes how they shouted at Mpumelelo to get off the tracks, and how even the train driver tooted his whistle - with Mpumelelo sitting firm until he was hit and killed.
Then you turn the page and continue reading under this headline: THE BIG PAGE 1 STORY CONTINUES
"The dead guy's brother, Thembilizwe, said: "I could not believe it. I do not know what got into my big brother:"
"He was a very nice person who did not talk too much," his sad brother said.
Ah. So tragic. Not sure I would have written the story in this same way myself, but it's certainly creative.

1 comment:

  1. They used the caps and everything!? Sheesh... I need to read them more often.