Media Musings

I’m no genius. I’ve made mistakes and will likely make a few more.  But there are a few fundamentals about the news business that too often get forgotten in this era of budget restraint and I find it deeply disappointing.   

The other day, some fool tried to rob a bank here in London.   He was unsuccessful.  When a suspect was arrested, police issued the customary news release.  It stated that a 32 year old St. Thomas man was in custody.  Police believe he is the guy who tried to rob the bank and then took off in a taxi, which he didn’t pay for.  Among his charges was threatening with a dangerous weapon. 

Nowhere in the release was a weapon mentioned, other than the actual charge.  I read it a second and third time.  No weapon. I got in touch with the media relations officer and asked, why the weapon charge?  He replied that the robber had claimed to have a knife but he actually threatened the bank employees with a pen.  The weapon was a pen!  What an awesome detail to the story.  This loser goes into a bank armed with a writing instrument and tries to bluff that he has a knife.  The employees see through his ruse, aren’t frightened by the pen and he gets away empty-handed, but not before ripping off a cabbie.  He was caught pretty quickly.  Beautiful.

I checked the updated stories by other media the next morning and not one of them had the knife/pen detail.  To me, it’s a natural question: if there is a weapon charge, what was the weapon?  If you live anywhere near the bank you’d want to know if the guy took off through your neighbourhood with a loaded gun…or a pen.  One of the fundamentals of being a journalist is to be inquisitive and to question things, like obviously missing details.  I only wish I could have gone on the air that day.

3 thoughts on “Media Musings”

  1. Finally! A worthy rebuttal to the statement that the “pen is mightier than the sword”. Not! Your point is well made, Lisa (better than the thief’s, for sure). A “small” detail like what weapon was used in a weapon’s charge is overlooked, but you can be sure that if Kim Kardashian were to throw up, we’d be treated to a detailed list of her stomach contents. Repeatedly.

  2. Too funny Erin! and YUCK to the latter part of your comment.

    How true Lisa. It sure would be nice to know. Thank you for finding out for me 🙂

Comments are closed.