METROBLOG: Paparazzi by Royal Appointment

So Kate Middleton and Prince William had a baby. Woop de doo. Hooray. Here’s a sticker! All sarcastic barbs aside, congratulations to the happy new parents and since it’s a media talking point at the moment and I do a blog about the way news media is presented in my publication of choice, the free railway station newspaper the Metro: a few thoughts on the way the Royal baby story has unfolded in the press.

Now, the difference between this royal event and the royal wedding between Kate and William is that unlike during the royal wedding where I seemed to be the only person sick of the endless coverage, the main talking point we seem to be hearing about the royal baby is that people are sick of the endless press coverage. That’s literally all I hear about it. Granted this may be due to the type of people I speak to on a daily basis and the media I consume but seriously, it’s not that hard to not give two shits about a certain news story.

When I have seen a link on the internet to a story about the royal baby, I haven’t clicked on it. When its come on the news, I’ve switched the TV off and gone and stared out of the window or made dinner or something. When people have started talking about it, I haven’t listened. When it’s been covered on the first twelve pages of the Metro, I’ve put it down. I’ve overheard approximately one conversation about it. The only reason I know she’s had the baby at all is it’s been on the front pages of newspapers and I had my eyes open while walking past a newsagent. It’s not that hard to be completely oblivious to something if you happen to not care about a story.

Yes, I agree with you that not being able to walk five metres without hearing something about the royal baby is a tad annoying. However there’s no point asking “why is there blanket media coverage of the royal baby?” when it’s kind of blatantly obvious that they’re endlessly covering the royal baby because journalists think that you care about it. If they were convinced you cared about something else, anything else, then they would dedicate thousands and thousands of hours to providing you with press coverage about that. Endless news coverage of stuff they think people care about is what they do and it is a big news story, they could have got their target audience completely wrong, maybe they care about different sorts of things to the royal baby.

carpetright

We all know how and why the press works at proliferating stories to an absurd degree when there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to those stories so just let it go and let them have their fun talking endlessly about the royal baby for the people that care.

At the same time for people that like to be cynical about the way news is presented, it’s been interesting to watch journalists try and make this story seem like it’s a fantastical magical event. I know I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been reiterated a thousand times but the royal family have basically been a tourist attraction for some time now. Now they’re essentially what makes Britain a likable country, they remind people of when we used to be a cute and quaint people that lived in hobbit holes and sent our knights to fight dragons and rescue princesses or something. Problem is it just seems to be the word “royal” that makes people interested. There’s been plenty of people pointing out that this is just the regular everyday miracle of birth here. A woman has a baby, something loads of people go through every day. Good for her. Problem is it’s the paparazzi that’s enthusing this, we should be blaming them for reporting on regular everyday stuff as though its something everyone should care about because they’re royalty who are better than us just because they are. Kate and William are probably nice enough people which is reason enough for someone to take an interest, but its the paparazzi that are to blame for their annoying ever presence in the media, not William and Kate themselves. Take this example from the Metro this morning for instance:

scan0001

…wow, baby sits in car seat and people on twitter say some stuff, WELL WORTH THE MASSIVE BOLD HEADLINE! I know you’re meant to go “aww” because its a baby but…is this a bit of news? Page four in a newspaper is generally meant to be for news stories. Its worth the massive bold headline because its assumedly a royal car seat. Paid for by a royal credit card at a branch of mothercare whose shop assistants are supposedly by royal appointment…ooh aren’t I clever and funny? Yeah I know I’m not the only one pointing this out and the endless people pointing out how ordinary and everyday current royal activities are and the silly over-exaggeration of it by the press is rather ridiculous. I however find it entertaining from a journalistic criticism standpoint because royal press coverage seems to just use simple buzzwords like the word royal to make you interested in the fact this is a story you’re meant to care about rather than what’s actually happening in the story. A man has done a thing, a child has done a thing, its not interesting just because you say it is, you don’t know these people, there is no human element to this vicarious interest in the daily lives of the royals.

royal banana

Wow, I’m so interested because the word royal appeared in an article more than twice.

So yeah. Royal Kate Middleton had a royal baby in a royal hospital….I literally can’t muster up any sort of opinion because I don’t know her and will never meet her. Good for her I guess and I wish her and her son well…but I would say the same to anyone that’s just had a baby whether I knew them and had a cause to like them as a person or not…so yeah…you can go back to doing whatever you were doing now…no seriously I don’t know what else I can say on the subject…and I can’t think of a closing sentence…

….bye…see you next entry I guess.

Advertisements

The Morning News: Spidercrabs, anyone?

So this morning I actually actively picked up a copy of the Metro. I didn’t just absent-mindedly grab it from someone’s seat on the Tube and start flicking through, no  , I actually picked it up from the stack they have in the station. I opened it to a random page because the pages were stuck together. I arrive at this image.

004

gahh! Fuck! What the hell? If you can’t read it, because I’ve scanned it really tiny because I think there’s less chance I’ll get sued for copyright, its some piece about a spider crab that was rescued from being steamed as some freak’s dinner and is now in an aquarium or something….

Yeah I know, I don’t care either. Why? Because aside from freaks that actually keep pet tarantulas (seriously, people that do own tarantulas ought to be locked up without evidence, having a pet tarantula should be indication enough that you’re clearly a psychopath. Better now than before it’s too late… off topic) But yeah, who wants a whopping great picture of a spider crab waving itself in their faces at seven AM?

I’m not the type to complain with regards to taste. I am one of the people who says when people complain to Ofcom about tasteless programming “well watch something else then”, it is the same in this situation. “Well don’t read the Metro then Stuart”. However I’m complaining about this because its an instance of The Metro editors really not understanding their target audience.

The News is bleak. We know this. Watch any rolling news channel for long enough and you will want to cry until your body can’t produce tears anyone and has to use surplus piss and semen your body has leftover as moisture.

“HE KILLED EIGHTY SIX PEOPLE BEFORE SHOOTING HIMSELF” “WOMAN OF 23 WAS GANG RAPED ON HOLIDAY” “KILLER TERMITES NESTED IN ATTIC FOR YEARS, KILLED 8 CHILDREN” and stuff like that. By definition a newspaper has to include important stuff like this, but at seven in the morning, you need to talk down to people and get them feeling calm and relaxed and ready for work. When you’ve just woken up you can barely comprehend words that have more than one syllable. Morning Newspapers shouldn’t really be Newspapers, they should be visual hugs that make you feel like the day will actually be okay for a change. Appropriate reading material for the train should include Noddy and Spot the Dog but we’re all too embarrassed to admit that that’s what we’d prefer to be reading on our way to work.

A morning newspaper has to cater for grumpy people who’ve just woken up and have trouble digesting information on top of especially creepy crawly images like this one. It’s a common problem with The Metro; it seems to think people are interested in these things at seven AM. A couple of weeks ago there was a story about a drunk student who stir fried his roommate’s hamster, not content to chill sleepy grumpy bastards with something like that, they actually had a picture of the poor little squished hamster in the frying pan. You don’t do this to tired grumpy people about to go to work, you just don’t fucking do it. Midday maybe, after seven is fine, weekends are okay but not when you’re the only free available reading material there to comfort tired people about to go to work.

The ideal morning newspaper for depressed miserable commuters would include the obvious big news, the budget, death, politics etc because that’s what a newspaper is for, but ideally a morning newspaper would be peppered with about six or seven articles like this:

puppy

There, congrats, you’ve just made a miserable office worker feel a bit nicer on his way to work by thinking about cute little puppies. I mean obviously actual journalists would be more creative than this, this is just an example.

The Metro does do this occasionally and publishes cutesy nice stuff. In the next page after the Spider Crab thing they had this picture of a cute little hamster that got stuck in a pipe or something:

005

D’aww, just look at his lickle face d’aww…

But what I’m saying is to market well to your chosen demographic: tired grumpy commuters, what you really should be doing is filtering out anything that will make them feel more alone and miserable and make their skin crawl, and say change your name to “The Everything’s Alright” and publish a daily newspaper consisting of nice bits of news instead. I guarantee you will get much more respect from commuters in the long run. A lady somewhere is organizing a bake sale for the Girl Guides, a blind kid has been given a Seeing Eye dog for his birthday, stuff like that.

Not this Spider Crab shit cause I’ve no idea who the hell wants that on their way to work.