Good Evening. Here is the News.

DONG!big ben

I have already mentioned elsewhere on this blog that I have not yet got around to buying a daily newspaper here in Australia. I did use to read the papers daily back in England even though I found them to contain little news. Papers these days seem to be more about opinion, debate and fashion. Oh, and the tabloids only seem to want to talk about celebrities.

So, I don’t miss the papers.

But I do like to stay in touch with the news. To do that, I usually keep up-to-date online by visiting a small handful of Australian and UK news websites. But occasionally, I do catch the Australian news on television. There are plenty of news programs to choose from each evening from Australian terrestrial television.

Our choices of evening news programmes are:

ABC News at Seven or at 10:45 PM, ABC News: Late Edition. Then there is Seven News at 6 PM on Channel 7 whilst at the same time on Channel 9 there is Nine News or at 11:30 PM, Nightline.

Channel 10 has Ten News at Five (5 PM) and at the same time SBS ONE has The Newshour with Jim Lehrer……..AND World News Australia at 6:30 PM……… AND again World News Australia at 9:30 PM.

So they’ve got the news covered!

But sometimes it seems there’s just not enough news to go round. What happens when not much happens? Well, nobody cancels the news so some “interesting” stories can make it to the very top. Like this the other night.

This was the very top story on the news, in this case Seven News at 6 PM, the day before yesterday. You can see the full video (edit: sorry, it’s now been removed by 7news) of this story over at this Seven News video page, but for those just interested in the story, or in case the video gets removed, here’s what happened.

Before I continue, I do want to emphasise that in the following two examples I understand that real crimes have been committed and that is no laughing matter. But for those of you who live in the UK or the United States, I want you to imagine these news items being the major story on the news program you watch.

The Top Story on Seven News

The crime: an Ipswich (city about 40 km from Brisbane) pensioner fell off of her mobility scooter and a local mother came to her rescue, but she couldn’t resist stealing the pensioner’s purse which had fallen onto the floor. Everything was caught on closed-circuit TV.

The one minute and 38 second news item has:

  • Full CCTV coverage of the incident including some in slow motion replay.
  • Two interview clips with the pensioner’s son.
  • An interview with the Mayor of Ipswich.
  • A live reporter standing on the steps of the court explaining the 18 months probation given to the offender and that she was ordered to pay back the $300 she had stolen.

When the news kicks off with a story like that, you know it’s been a quiet day.

I was reminded of the great muffin scare of 2008. You’ve not heard of the great muffin scare of 2008? Well, let me tell you all about it.

The great muffin scare of 2008.

I’d only been living in Australia about six months when I saw this, another major news story, on the TV. It starts like this, with a very serious looking news presenter with that crazy news story title in the background…

Muffin Scare
The story is about a food contamination scare at a function attended by some Beijing bound Olympians. I think I was already smiling when the newsreader announced “paperclips were found in 15 chocolate chip muffins” but by the time he was informing us “Olympic swimmer Christian Sprenger did not eat any of the muffins, but police have confirmed two other people did although they didn’t swallow the paperclips”, I’m afraid I was laughing.

At some point during the news item, a picture of some paperclips and some chocolate muffins appeared on the screen just in case some of us have not yet grasped the true nature of this heinous crime……

Some paperclips and two chocolate chip muffins

Some paperclips and two chocolate chip muffins

This story hit the news in April 2008, no not April 1st, April 14th. It was a serious news item.

I am often asked how crime compares here in Australia with how it was back in the UK. I think that this post today goes a long way in answering that question. In England, one of the major news programs would always begin with Big Ben in the background and each Dong! of the clock as it hit the top of the hour would be accompanied with a news story headline the programme was about the feature. I’m trying to imagine……

“Good evening, here is the news”.

DONG!

“Pensioner has purse stolen after dropping it on the floor”.

DONG!

“Paperclips found in chocolate chip muffins”.

DONG!

No, sorry, I can’t imagine it.

As they say, no news is good news.

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