Archive for August 11th, 2006

Today’s Newspapers – What to do when there’s no picture…

The Scotsman | The Guardian | The Independent | The Times | The Sun | The Mirror | The Telegraph | The Star | The Daily Mail.

How do you report a massive terror story when most of the images are of people queuing in an airport? The Scotsman was the only paper to used a shot of that. I don’t think it’s particularly effective as an image. It could equally go with ‘Air Traffic controller strike chaos’ as a headline. We British love a good queue. We’ll queue for anything. Also don’t you think all those people congregated together present a much bigger target than when on ten separate planes, I hope those shots were from departure side?

Not a bad front cover from the Guardian, a simple contrast between the armed officer and an young boy waiting to go on his holidays.

Utter crap from the Independent as per usual. I’ve written before about their lacklustre and boring covers but this one’s really bad.

The Times – I’m really not sure about this one. especially as other papers have it as 9 or 10 plans that were targeted. I guess they’re trying to show how many potential victims there would have been but it’s kind of lost in the schematic – no one every really reads the safety card right?

The Sun focuses on the planned technique and gets the alliteration in – clear and simple.

The Mirror also goes for the 10/8 thing, but subhead’s it ‘the liquid bombs plot’. Perhaps the start of moving away from the date naming conventions – perhaps in becoming a series of dates they’re starting to loose their poignancy? Interesting angle from The Mirror, actually getting an image of a suspect.

The Telegraph goes for an investigation shot. But again, could be the crime scene of any domestic murder. I actually quite like the Star’s approach. Finding the little girl with ‘Do you think I’m bothered’ adds a defiant, yet human side to the airport crowds angle.

The Daily Mail’s approach is not only poor, but wrong. This time it seems the plan was to detonate bombs on board a larger number of planes rather than fly a few plans into cities or installations. Why? Well since 911, any body trying to take over a plane would have to deal with either Sky Marshals, or ‘Let’s roll’ hero’s who try to take the plane back. Also you know they’d be shot down before they got anywhere near anything.

So a really odd story to try to illustrate yesterday, and as it broke after most if not all had gone to press they all missed it anyway. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes next.


On a similar theme… I want to tell you a story. About two years after 911 I was flying to Miami, me and my girlfriend looked like we’d got lucky and had three seats between the two of us on a packed plane. Then just moments before the doors close this flustered looking North African guy (He had a Nigerian Passport) in a long rain coat came on, and has the seat next to us. As we taxi, take off and pull up into the air he’s fiddling with something down by his side and muttering. The shoe bombing thing was fresh in my mind so I’m shitting it right now and watching him like a hawk… Then I was reminded of a speech/urban myth I read by the Captain of a plane that flew just after 911 asking passengers to turn and talk to each other. So I asked him if everything was ok? He smiled and said ‘Yes, I’m just scared of flying!” and the things in his hands were prayer beads, (though I was unsure of his religion) Once the flight had levelled off he popped two pills and zonked out. This episode taught me a valuable lesson about fighting ‘the fear’. You see it all the time on public transport when people are crammed in trains and busses and stuff, all trying to ignore each other, no one saying anything about other people’s behaviour or actions. I think this is an issue we need to address – don’t be afraid to ask. Mind you, if the guy had tried to light a match I would have smashed his face in.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
August 2006