Friday, 22 April 2011

The Glad Game - Local News

Local news is crap, isn't it.

Back in February, I wrote a post about The Blairgowrie Advertiser and their coverage of Eric the Ericht Beaver, who was kidnapped and forced into slavery at Edinburgh Zoo. You may remember that at that time, they were about to launch protesting T-Shirts emblazoned with the slogan HANDS OFF OUR BEAVERS. These T-Shirts were produced, and you can purchase them from the Blairgowrie Farm Shop.

Apparently it didn't do a lot of good though, because The Blairie has since reported that on arriving at the zoo, the beaver promptly died of shock.

And that it was a girl, not a boy. They've done the decent thing and posthumously changed its name to Erica, but that feels like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, so to speak.

To add insult to injury, they're still banging on about beavers. It's like nothing else ever bloody happens.

Which brings me to the problem I have with local news - it's a one track record.

Not a vast amount happens in Blairgowrie, but there have been some pretty gruesome assaults and the odd murder over the years. But if you relied on the Blairie for information, chances are you'd never find out about anything other than jumble sales and now apparently beavers.

Despite all this, I still have a certain amount of affection for them. They were the first publication to ever print anything by me, which was an amazing feeling... or at least it was til I read the headline they'd attached to the article.

'Live Show Is A Hit For Korn' didn't really capture the spirit of rock and roll, somehow.

And they're a bit better than the Edinburgh Evening News, which tries very hard to do proper journalism but lets itself down by being peppered with disproportionate levels of scaremongering and repetitive council bashing.

You only need to take a cursory glance over Guardian Edinburgh, The Broughton Spurtle or The Edinburgh Reporter to get a broad view of the range of stuff going on in the city that doesn't correlate to OAPs being savaged or the local authority getting it wrong - some of these sites even allude to the sense of humour and community that make Edinburgh a great place to live. But in the EEN you have to really search for anything positive.

No wonder old people think the young are out to get them.

Still, I'm glad we have local news, for the following reasons:

1) Its total lack of self awareness can make me laugh out loud.
2) Its inaccuracy - generally spotted when I know the other side of the story - is a constant reminder to try to err on the side of balanced reporting rather than rhetoric.
3) The many, many local news stories it leaves out or fails to follow up on, give me things to write about for hyperlocal websites.

Probably won't do anything on beavers, though.


  1. Haha, that's hilarious! The beaver patrol's naivety is kind of sweet - I can't believe no one pointed out to them that the slogan wasn't a great idea, though. Bless.

  2. You have to wonder... someone must have broached it, surely? Maybe the print run had already been paid for.