Tuesday, 11 September 2007

How to judge the quality of news media

Start with sensationalism. The use of sensationalism is generally a good way to assess the quality of your news media.

Take this story, announced in the Breaking feeds of both the Courier Mail and the ABC: Victorians under the age of 18 will be banned from getting "intimate" body piercings under proposed new government legislation. At present, piercings need parental consent under the age of 16.

How is this headlined by two major news media organisations in Australia?

Courier Mail: Nipple rings to be banned for under-18s.

ABC News: Govt plans under-18 piercing ban.

Hmmm.... The ABC headline is misleading because non-sexual piercings will be allowed but, let's face it, the Courier Mail headline is, once again, from a newspaper which doesn't have the guts to run a page-3 girl.

Actually, not all nipple rings are piercings, so the Courier Mail headline is doubly misleading. They've forgotten about the nippular equivalent of cock rings.

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