Sunday, 8 June 2008

Yawnalism

Churnalism is the phrase applied to the endless regurgitating of press releases as news. But today, not for the first time, I've been infuriated by a different kind of syndrome; let's call it Yawnalism.
The definition of Yawnalism is journalism so damn lazy the writer may as well have dictated it from their bed.
Take a look at this . It's a Sunday Times report of how Liverpool is faring as European Capital of Culture 2008 - and it is the most lazy, trite, hackneyed piece of blather you'll come across in a while.
Indulge me while I tick off the sterotyped themes Christopher Hart manages to shoehorn into his piece:
Once-proud city check
Twin religions of music and football check
Capital of Culture is failing to spread to the suburbs check
Toxteth looking a bit shambolic check
Cheeky Scouse barman bon mot check
I could go on but to be honest you could probably join in on the chorus. The still-beating musical heart of Liverpool chorus of course.
I was at Liverpool Sound. Some people may have queued for an hour if they turned up an hour before it opened; I certainly didn't.
But I'm not an apologist for the concert organisers. What I am is a journalist. And I know I could have written some similar rubbish to this without having to set foot on the streets of Liverpool. A quick flick through the online archives of the Post & Echo will chart deprivation statistics, the demise of the Florrie and the efforts being made to fill the Albert Dock. All you need to add is a dash of sneer and a sardonically-raised eyebrow and you're good to go.
Whether it's the Sunday Times being glib in their Culture magazine or the Daily Mail being just plain wrong (Liverpool's European Capital of Culture title being dismissed as the city's 'Culture Festival') it's sloppy reporting.
And that is what offends me. I don't care if Christopher Hart thinks Liverpool's stab at Culture Year is a bit lame; I am, however, deeply offended by the idea that a journalist can con his readers by filing a piece that, frankly, has the depth and insight of a flatfish.
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