Does the media report rail stories accurately

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Ken H, 29 Nov 2018.

  1. Spartacus

    Spartacus Member

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    I agree with Michael Crichton, every story that's appears in the mainsteam media that I've know about, railway or otherwise, I've found to contain flaws, often serious flaws or ones that are easily fact-checkable by someone with a brain. The number of articles that describe a Spitfire as a 'fighter-jet' for example, or one that I saw about a recent shooting that used a Google Streetview grab from a totally different street in a different town. My conclusion is that most media outlets will be factually incorrect to such an extent that I view them as only informing you that something has happened, beyond that, they're usually very unreliable: And that's before you look at stories that you think are intentially biased or misleading, like suggesting (but never outright saying) all TPE passengers between Leeds and Manchester would have to change at Huddersfield, when from the timetable or press release not one soul would come to that conclusion.
     
  2. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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  3. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    I am not sure that most people believe the broadcast media is not biased.
     
  4. a_c_skinner

    a_c_skinner Member

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    Yes, yes. I didn't think some luckless BBC snapper had been put on a train from Salford to take a few shots on the Underground. But it isn't right. They might as well use a picture of a car, one of the Welsh narrow gauge locos, a horse and cart...
     
  5. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    many people see a conspiracy in this - @Mathew S explains why this happens very clearly.

    that would clearly NOT be related to the story and not could be said to be an illustration of the story. The use of a picture in a general story is a filler, an illustration and to capture attention. It has no relation to the story. Furthermore it means nothing to the target audience who wont care if a 350 or a 450 or a 750 is used to illustrate the story.

    Unless the picture is the story it simply doesn't matter. I wish posters here could suspend their pedantry sometimes! Real people are not "experts" like we are. They simply don't care.
     
    Last edited: 29 Nov 2018
  6. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    Disagree. It shows a sloppiness with getting it right. if you cant be arsed to get a relevant photo out of the archives or photo stock library then dont show one. Otherwise it debases the story.
     
  7. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    happy to disagree. I think you are wrong. It shows the fact that there is so little money in the print media that they don't employ enough people to do that and/or wont/cant afford to buy up picture stocks. The print media don't employ armies of sub editors or copy editors to edit copy or shape a story, they don't employ photo editors to chose pictures or often even staff snappers to take them. They employ fewer and fewer journos with many fresh out of college. is it any wonder they aren't bothered about a train picture when they have 27 other articles to finish?

    I still maintain it doesn't matter to most customers enjoyment or understanding of the story in any event. Using a file picture of a train has little impact UNLESS the picture is the story. 9 times out of 10 the picture is filler.

    If i show my mum or partner that story and then get all het up that the wrong train was used they will just look at me like I am stupid. Does that "wrong" picture reduce their ability to understand or enjoy the story? I say no.
     
    Last edited: 29 Nov 2018
  8. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Sorry @Ken H, but in a world where there are civil wars, genocides, monomaniacal morons with the nuclear launch codes, and (of course) Brexit, there are far more important things for people like me to be doing than checking whether we've got a picture of the exact right model of train to illustrate a transport story.
    In an ideal world, yes, we'd get these things right but, for all the reasons that @DarloRich has mentioned, it is never going to happen.
     
  9. mrcheek

    mrcheek Established Member

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    I personally recommend "The Week". It summarises the weekly news stories by quoting from multiple newspaper sources, so you get a fairly balanced view. always an interesting read.
     
  10. TheSel

    TheSel Member

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    It seems several agree that the answer is along the lines of "it depends which media, and it depends on your interpretation of 'accurately'".

    However, you would hope that the operators' announcements themselves would be accurate. Sadly, in at least one case, you'd be disappointed. Northern (ah, yes - dear old Northern again) - Northern's website includes a page:

    https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/n...northern-announces-december-timetable-changes

    ... which proudly announces the introduction of:
    • New weekday morning (8.17am) service from Southport to Manchester Piccadilly via Wigan North Western
    By my reckoning, that will have to reverse twice to call at Wigan North Western - unless it's going via the Merseyrail Northern line to Bootle Junction, then Edge Lane Jct, Huyton and then either St Helens or Newton-le-Willows and the WCML, in which case just one reversal (at Wigan NW) would suffice.

    Which, I suspect, it isn't.
     
  11. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Member

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    Everything I've read or seen in the media, that I know the facts of, has had factual errors or other things wrong with it, whether its to do with the railway or anything else
     
  12. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Agreed. "The Week" is rather good.
     
  13. atraindriver

    atraindriver Member

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    I asked a local online news-site why they illustrated a story about a very dodgy local bus company going bust with a picture of a Stagecoach bus*, and that's what they said.
    So I asked them if they'd illustrate a story about a local supermarket going bust with a picture of a Tesco store and they said "Of course not!"

    If they can make the effort for a shop front, I see no reason why they can't make the effort for a train or a bus.


    * Stagecoach being the major local operator
     
  14. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    To most people, a bus is a bus - as a train is a train.
     
  15. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Have to agree with that. Financial/tax/Budget reporting is usually pretty dire especially the BBC. Like the time Gordon Brown announced an increase the the upper threhsold for NIC during a Budget speech, and the BBC were hailing it as a positive in their news reports for the rest of the day! By contrast, Sky reporters immediately knew it meant an increase in NIC for higher earners and reported it as such as a negative for them. I think if the media firms employ people and label them as "experts" by calling them a business editor, finance editor, etc., they should at least have the necessary knowledge and ability.

    Same with the Grenfell Tower inquiry. I've been watching most of it live on their YouTube channel and have been pretty aghast at what mainstream media have reported. They've completely ignored fundamentally significant parts of evidence and have gone to town on almost irrelevant items. I really do think they've just been using it as a "filler" for days when there's not much other news or that their reporter is only watching it on occasional days and reporting just whatever happened on the random days they were following it.

    The more I watch mainstream media and compare it against other information sources, the more I'm convinced of two alternatives. Either the mainstream media is inherently biased or it's operated by people who are inherently stupid. No wonder people are switching off in droves.
     
  16. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    and yet one wonders why experts here do not offer their services to fix things..............

    I think we have to be realistic: A paper with few resources isnt going to waste time and money buying the exactly right picture to illustrate each story. They just aren't. Most people know the difference between Tesco and Morrison. The paper will get that right, if they can, because people will notice the issue and that will impact on their credibility. Outside of a few cranks no one will know or care if the wrong train picture was used.

    I wish posters here could grasp realities of life away from their narrow railway focus.
     
  17. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    I can see this - up to a point.

    The other way of looking at it, is that it is about standards. As my old boss put when people put poorly prepared documents in front of him “If they can’t get that right, what else are they not getting right?”.
     
  18. underbank

    underbank Member

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    Got to agree with that. It's usually the simple/small things which are actually cheap/easy/quick to get right. If they can't be bothered, then you do have to wonder if they've done a proper job of the more important things that really do matter. For me, it taints the whole thing.

    If they're talking about Northern Rail, then at least illustrate with a Northern Rail train. But, I also agree to "nit-picking" comments. I think it's going too far to criticise the media for showing a picture of a Northern Rail Pacer in a story about a service or station that only enthusiasts or train staff would know doesn't use Pacers. I think it's enough for them to get the picture of the right TOC and don't think that the actual class of train is relevant to the story. But showing a Virgin Voyager in a story about Northern strikes is completely unacceptable. It's a matter of balance.
     
  19. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I actually agree - however i try to be realistic and understanding of some of the pressures people in print media are facing. Sadly many posters here cant or wont grasp those issues.

    it the perfect world you are correct - however when you have one person doing pictures across several publications they simply cant devote time to sorting out pointless things like this. As i said in them olden days there were armies of photo editors and picture libraries and sub editors to sort these things out. There aren't now. This is the result.
     
  20. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    so why is tesco not morrisons while Northern is Thameslink.

    rail users get blasted with TOC corporate identity all the time.
     
  21. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    No idea, that's just the way it is.
     
  22. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    this is national newspaper circulations since July this year.
    Numbers are ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations)

    Its not just UK. New York Times is losing circulation just as fast.
     

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  23. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    There was the old BBC approach of illustrating every rail story with a picture of a NSE 4-VEP, even if the story was about ScotRail or Virgin or whoever. Now that is lazy journalism!
     
  24. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    why does a story about anything need a picture? If the picture or graphic doesnt add anything, leave it out.
     
  25. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    really? it fills space and captures your attention making you more likely to read the story.
     
  26. adamello

    adamello Member

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    I got called out the other day by referring to the 'Daily Echo' as not good for it's Newsworthiness, reasons being:
    - There is a rush to get it published - to be the first to appear on Google News, to have the breaking news, sometimes they will just post a headline, with 'more to follow'
    - They often make mistakes - again for the rush - not only factual errors - but also poor English Language, you just need to read the comments on the articles to see this.
    - Pics are often file pics, sometimes works but once your on the story page, you don't need it to highlight the story as you are already there
    this has been proven by the fact the Newspaper is soley South Hampshire based, and sometimes they'd use a Yorkshire Fire Service photo
    when they do send a staff member to scene often they'll dump all the photos on the article leading to multiple photos of the same thing clearly shot on a camera phone.

    specifically relating to this thread, they will indicate any railway issues in the area to be the fault of South Western Railway.
    The choice of photo used would be relavent to commuters, if there was an issue in Fareham and they used a pic of a 444, it could lead a Fareham commuter to believe the story isn't about their track as 444s don't run that line.

    Often they'll repost stories 2 or 3 times, that with the multiple photos suggests they're only in it for advertising revenue, rather that quality journalism
     
  27. underbank

    underbank Member

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    They have to do it to keep peoples' attention in this age of everything being dumbed down and people having lost any meaningful attention span.
     
  28. sprunt

    sprunt Member

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    Yes, because photographs being used by news media has only been around since the dreaded millennials came on the scene, right? Before that, everyone just read Kierkegaard all day.
     
  29. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Personally I always preferred Friedrich Nietzsche - the illustrated version obvs
     
  30. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    they were used sparingly. in the days of hot metal printing making the plate from a neg was expensive.
     

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