Jul. 13th, 2007

I don't know why I would expect decent journalism from the Metro. I don't usually pick it up now, but I was running late this morning and didn't have time to buy a paper so I just grabbed one from the stack before I got on the train.

About a third of their front page was taken up by a full-length, black and white photograph of a good-looking woman on a beach, with the headline Her beauty was her undoing, and a short paragraph that only referred to 'her' in terms of whose daughter she was and that a trial had been told 'her beauty was her undoing'.

Yep, that was how the Metro chose to cover the story that William Jaggs yesterday admitted killing Lucy Braham in an incredibly violent attack and was jailed, potentially for the rest of his life.

I'm not surprised that this is headline news. I remember the news reports from when it happened, and it's the kind of story that always gets a lot of press. Private schools, drugs, a beautiful victim; it doesn't reflect particularly well on journalism as a whole that these ingredients guarantee acres of coverage, but I thought the Metro's take was particularly crass.

I did wonder if I was overreacting, but someone had left a copy of the local free paper (the Argus Lite), on the next train I got. The story was on the front page again, but this time it took the form of a colour head-and-shoulders picture with the headline Aspiring designer's killer jailed for life. You see what they did there? Not only is that headline much more informative than the Metro's (which doesn't tell you anything about what happened), it focuses on the victim as a person and still manages to mention the killer.

I'm aware that this has turned into an essay,but I do find it interesting and instructive to look at how the media handles different stories, and how different news outlets cover the same story. Usually it's something that I do occasionally with political stories. It's always interesting to see how the Times, Guardian and Mail (for example) write up the same press release from the Government.

But this story just caught my eye, and the crudity of that headline took me by surprise. Interestingly, their online version of the story uses completely different copy, along with a new headline and picture.

And because I am a geek, I looked up how other papers had reported the story. And you know what, Metro writers? When The Sun, the the Telegraph and even the Daily fucking Mail cover a story about a murder case with reports that are much better-written, humane and dignified than your flung together copy, you should feel ashamed to call yourselves journalists.
wow! I have just seen the coolest thing!

Heard lots of noise - chanting, whistles, drums - outside, so being bored inquisitive I went out to have a look and see what was going on. I got to the end of the street just before a huge parade started. Mostly children - different groups, in absolutely amazing costumes and with great accessories.

One group in circus gear; another dressed as animals and carrying a giant papier-mache lion; there were groups dressed as pirates, flowers, musical instruments and even ipods, carrying giant papier-mache cars, skulls, guitars and shoes, waving brightly coloured flags and banners. It's easily one of the best parades I've ever seen.

I couldn't work out what the common theme was so I asked a local shopkeeper what the parade was for (everyone had come out of the shops and pubs to watch), and apparently every year on the last of term all the schools in the area dress up and march through Lewes - it's the 'Moving On' parade.

Isn't that a great idea? I bet it means they spend most of the last few weeks of school making stuff for the parade rather than doing any real work, too. I'd be jealous on behalf of my younger self if it hadn't been so much fun to watch.



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