Does the media report rail stories accurately

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

  1. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Rightly or wrongly we live in an age where content creators (because that's the business journalists are in now) live or die by the number of clicks they get, and photos = more clicks (though not as much as videos).
    I don't like that any more than anyone else, but it is what it is.
     
  2. BigCj34

    BigCj34 Member

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    Murphy's law: Everything you read in the news is true apart from news you have first hand knowledge of.
     
  3. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Made me laugh :)
    In all seriousness though, and I say this as a working journalist, you should never simply believe anything you see in the news. Whatever the format, if the journalist doesn't back up their information with sources/evidence, or you can't verify it yourself elsewhere, a massive pinch of salt is required.
     
  4. CHAPS2034

    CHAPS2034 Member

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  5. nr758123

    nr758123 Member

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    To take that particular newspaper (I use the term loosely) as an example, here are two articles from the past week. One from the Manchester Evening News, the second a rehash of the same article by the Huddersfield Examiner. It's interesting to see how the unfortunately named Mr Ankers has adapted it in an attempt to make it look relevant to Huddersfield.

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.c...pennine-express-commuters-left-tears-15482096
    and
    https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news...rease-trains-huddersfield-manchester-15487326
     
  6. adamello

    adamello Member

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    You can tell by the website that its from the same parent company, so would be a shared story - at least he tried to rehash it, Newsquest ( [Southampton's] Daily Echo, Bournemouth Echo, Dorset Echo, Isle of Wight Count Press ) often have literal copy and paste jobs
     
  7. WrongRoad

    WrongRoad Member

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    Network Rail get let off far to easily from there poor running of the infrastructure. Most delays are reported to be the fault of the TOC’s when in reality it’s NR infrastructure has failed. Take all the delays recently on SWR they have been crucified in the press/media for poor performance but no mention of the countless speed restrictions that are there for months on end, drivers not being able to take full power in certain areas for weeks at a time as there’s a faulty cable that hasn’t been fixed.
     
  8. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Journalists aren't psychic, we rely on people who know about things to tell us what we should write about.

    Reports of rail delays/poor performance are mostly based on the public information handed out by TOCs, supplemented by the occasional release from a TOC press office.

    If operators want us to report that Network Rail are to blame for delays, and not the TOCs, then they need to say that in their press releases.

    "The 0800 from Bolton to Bristol was cancelled due to signalling problems," might as well be in Afrikaans as far as most journos are concerned, and will get the usual, "TOC cancels more trains," treatment. By contrast, "we had no option but to cancel the 0800 from Bolton to Bristol because Network Rail are failing to maintain the infrastructure to the standard needed to run trains on time," is a different story altogether.

    This is what I've said before about a need for openness and transparency from the industry about the way the railway works. You've got to remember that journalists can't look for things they don't know exist, or ask questions about things they don't know about. Tell us the truth, and we'll report it; obfuscation, concealment, and half-truths - as practiced by most TOCs - only serve to make the railway look bad.
     
  9. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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  10. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Absolutely no problem with that at all. Mostly because all it is a series of quotes recounting two sides of an argument. Hardly groundbreaking journalism, but perfectly adequate if you've got an audience who are into that kind of thing.
     
  11. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    or you could look it up before you write your piece. Plenty of stuff on how franchising works on the internet.
     
  12. The_Train

    The_Train Member

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    But it does mean something to TOCs and manufacturers. Would TransPennine Express be happy to have a photo of one of their units attached to a negative news article about Northern? Would Siemens be happy to have a photo of their 350 unit attached to a negative news story about the delays to TPEs roll out of their new Mk5 stocks which is nothing to do with them?

    Use of photos should relate to the news story and if journalists don't have the time then don't use a photo. Simple as that really.
     
  13. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    No modern journalist has the time to do that even if they 1) know what rail franchising is and 2) know where to look for accurate information (hint: almost nobody outside of forums like this, and the industry itself, knows either of those things).
    A photo of a train does relate to a story about trains. As long as it attracts people to read the story (which is what it's there for) that's all that matters. On a more practical level, we reuse file photos - and shamelessly exploit open licence content - because there's no money to pay for agency pics.
     
  14. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    But a lot of people do know its wrong when they see it. and then the next story is about something completely different, and those same people think 'if they cant get the train story right what have they got wrong on this one' Bye-bye credibility.
     
  15. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    There's one vital fact you're missing there, which is that most passengers don't know one train company from another to begin with, and certainly can't tell the difference by looking at the outside of a train. You only have to look at the number of TPE or Northern only ticket holders who get on the wrong company's trains to see that.

    What this whole issue ultimately comes down to is that - much as people on this forum would like to think otherwise - public transport stories are some of the least important, least read, least valuable things we do. Why? Because nobody really cares that much.
     
  16. FelixtheCat

    FelixtheCat Established Member

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    What about the daily hire of TransPennine 185s to Northern? If we're being this pedantic, then a train with a TransPennine livery could well be appropriate.
     
  17. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Don't be silly. The number of people who care are probably about the same number of people commenting on this story here. It really isnt worth getting your knickers in a twist over.

    if it does they are sensible enough not to bother making a fuss. I wonder what the Siemens press officer would say when confronted with a story about railways in a minor uk regional paper using the wrong picture for the article that wasn't really about the train they produced anyway.

    That's right: Nothing.

    OK - that means even less people reading your stories and more clickbait recycled stories. happy with that? I do wish posters had some idea of how the UK regional media market operates. it is miles away from the perfect world they assume exists!


    I understand that the obsessive nature of many train fans means that they cant see past such a minor issue. As i keep saying: Most in the real world wont care.

    and there is the truth.[/QUOTE]
     
  18. DanDaDriver

    DanDaDriver Member

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    I’ll certainly bear this in mind in January when the tickets go up and your colleagues do their annual lie about how much I get paid, how easy my job is and how little training is required compared to being a nurse. ;)
     
  19. exsignalman

    exsignalman Member

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    Hardly ever,

    When the Grayrigg derailment took place in 2007 & the pendolino sadly came off & went down the embankment, one female news reporter made a big thing about......

    'the hero virgin driver who bravely remained at the wheel'.......'Thankfully he managed to "Steer" his train out of the way of the southbound line & right down the embankment to avoid a head on collision'.

    The comment was something along those lines..(no pun intended)

    'Steering the train down the embankment' ..What Utter 5hite!!!!

    Imagine having to do a three point turn in a 9 coach pendolino??

    You would think that these so called media professionals would get it right, they are after all supposed to be reporting facts after all?.

    I don't know if anybody noticed it but the BBC aired a so called historical documentary programme in 2016 called 'Full Steam Ahead'?.

    At the end of each episode you could send off to the OU for a free poster & fact sheet etc that was made in conjunction with the programme regarding British railway history (entitled "Our Railways").

    It had a stock photo of a GERMAN!!!!! steam loco on the front immediately below the title .."Our Railways".

    Can you imagine some Open University/BBC fact sheet" ..... say.....entitled something like hmmmm??? 'famous British aircraft through the ages'....having something like a stock photo ME109 on the cover???..

    Meh!..... its railways.....it's old.....it goes chuff chuff.....it'll do.....it's a train.......screw the accuracy.....(& this is meant to be a learning tool/fact sheet).
    Full Steam Ahead - OpenLearn - Open University


    Very poor indeed.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2018
  20. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Then do something about it. The reason that story gets trotted out every year is because it's what people genuinely believe to be true. In years gone by, if a kid wanted to know what it was like to be a train driver they could wander down to their local station and chat to one, have a nose around the local yard, and generally see for themselves. I'm not suggesting a return to that exact situation, for obvious reasons, but if you want to change people's view of your job that has to come from you and your colleagues being honest, open, and accessible. Nobody else can do it for you, least of all me.
     
  21. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Haven't seen the clip involved, so can't really comment. As I understand it, though, that was the line being trotted out by a certain person from a certain train company at the time?
     
  22. exsignalman

    exsignalman Member

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    Hi Mathew, Can't remember who it was at the time, I just remember how ludicrous it sounded.

    I do remember Dicky Pickle being interviewed at the crash site where he made reference to the class 390 pendolino being 'Built like a tank'.

    Fair comment I suppose considering what it had gone through.
     
  23. Mathew S

    Mathew S Member

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    Agreed, totally bonkers. If it proves anything, though, it's that there really are people out there who genuinely believe that drivers steer trains like cars, and that some of those people work in TV news.

    From a media perspective, situations like Greyrigg are awful. You end up just repeating what the people involved (Branson etc) say because it's all you've got to go on. Obviously we do our best to be accurate, but I've been in situations like Greyrigg myself (Manchester in May 2017, & Brussels the year before to name two) so I'm very aware that, in those incredibly intense situations, mistakes do happen.
     
  24. DanDaDriver

    DanDaDriver Member

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    “It takes two to lie, one to lie and one to listen....” :rolleyes:

    But it’s not true, even if people believe it is. And some very very simple research should tell a professional journalist that it isn’t true.

    If anyone asks me then I’ll happily tell them, but I don’t have a national newspaper and you know, I shouldn’t have to....
     
  25. exsignalman

    exsignalman Member

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    Oh I've heard some corkers.

    Back when I was a kid the BTP came to our high school to show some photos etc & do a bit of rail safety talk/anti trespass talk etc on the run up to the Summer holidays.

    They went on about the usual, stone throwing, trespass, deaths, overhead line dangers, third rail dangers, vandalism.

    I understood & certainly respected the dangers as I came from what you would have called back then 'a railway family' (it was in the blood) as a lot of my family worked on the railway (& I aspired to become a signalman as soon as I was old enough)

    Personally I was just happy to have an hour or two doing something in the assembly hall instead of being in class bored out of my skull.

    At the end one of the teachers asked...'Does anyone have any questions??'

    Needless to say I just kept schtum at the back but one girl at the front (a bit of a teachers pet) asked.......

    'Miss?? what would happen if stones were put on the track?'.

    Before the BTP could answer with the sensible & correct answer the same teacher just quickly replied back.....

    'That's obvious.........you'd burst one of the trains tyres'

    The BTP officer did a kind of double take & what you would kind of call a discreet "facepalm"? where he then kind of remarked in a tactful/damage limitation way that trains do have tyres, but they are metal & even though they are metal they can indeed be damaged.

    She could have been going on about the Paris metro though??.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2018
  26. The_Train

    The_Train Member

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    And why do they believe this to be true? Wouldn't be because they choose to believe everything they read in the media would it, irrelevant of how factual the story may be?

    So if drivers and their colleagues are not 'honest, open and accessible' to people how do you and your colleagues write such factual stories about them?
     
  27. Ken H

    Ken H Member

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    Branson said it
     
  28. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Modern journalism is more about churnalism and click-baiting to get traffic, because the success of a journalist (or content writer, given you barely need any journalistic qualifications these days it seems) is measured by engagement/hits. And so accuracy is less important than speed/quantity. Also, there's an obvious need to sensationalise and only write about things that are going to get engagement with shares and likes.

    It's frankly horrible and I will make damn sure my son never wants to follow in my footsteps as a journalist.

    Journalists should be able to do research, and it shows how bad it has become when even fairly respected journalists allow the likes of politicians to lie and deflect without being called, often because they are not in a position to counter such wayward claims and statements because they don't know.

    Even worse are those who are lazy and don't care because all they need to do is quote what was said and leave it at that. Hence why embedding Tweets is good enough to make a story these days, with the engagement coming from the comments.

    The fact there's no money to buy photos, and local papers all got rid of their photographers (at best maybe using a freelance for stories they HAVE to cover with images, like a store opening or Christmas fair), shows that they just can't last. Nobody wants to pay for content (Paywalls just don't work for most sites) and now people use ad-blockers because publishers had no clue on what adverts to use (and not use) and forced people to block them. It's not going to end well as every year, publishers will be seeking to find ways to cut costs because they're pretty much unable to increase revenues.
     
  29. BigCj34

    BigCj34 Member

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    Insisting one paywalls is locking the stable after the horse has bolted. People were accustomed to free journalism from the early days of the internet, and now it is an expectation. Having said that The Guardian contribution model has seen some success, how well that works for local journalism remains to be seen.
     
  30. exsignalman

    exsignalman Member

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    At least twice this year I have had a couple of door to door callers/salespeople on my doorstep offering me discount newspapers if I sign up for a year or so but I told them that I wasn't interested & that the papers today are more or less gutter press.

    Often the papers are just full of advertisements & wingo/bingo/jingo games bollox, rubbish gossip columns that are full of Z list celebrities.

    I can still remember how the national tabloids hounded Freddie Mercury in the early 90s as he was dying of AIDS (the poor guy couldn't even snuff it in peace) & even after he died a newspaper columnist attacked him in his column in a kind of "Fire & Brimstone" rant.

    & the actor Lewis Collins (who played Bodie in ITVs 1970s-1980s TV show "The Proffessionals") was also attacked in the tabloid press as he'd lost his looks because he was riddled with cancer & looking very worse for wear living in relative obscurity...the paper even made a cruel pun on words using his 1970s character's name (Bodie).....The Daily Mirror referred to him as .... 'Mr No Bodie' (This was a man who was dying of cancer).

    Disgusting Anorak News | Lewis Collins: The Daily Mirror Attacked Him Growing Old And Fat

    Not to mention what the sun "reported" about Hillsborough.
    Plus the phone hacking scandal, where the tabloids hacked a murdered dead schoolgirl's mobile (Milly Dowler)
    Plus the phone hacking of celebrities etc & invasion of privacy.


    Not everyone in the media is bad, but certain aspects of the media have behaved in a deplorable manner this past few years & those bad apples have done the industry no favours.

    In my opinion as for reporting it seems to be ...'That'll do..just copy & paste it'.............'Now?? What's Katie Price/Jordan doing??'.

    These days if I need toilet roll, I'll just get quilted aloe vera...thanks. :lol:

    Sadly I doubt that I'll ever buy another newspaper again, as I just don't have any faith in what's being printed anymore.
     
    Last edited: 8 Dec 2018

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