This week we are analysing this news article published by the Courier Mail on September 10, 2014.
There are three main technical problems with this article:
The first four lines of this article, including the headline, repeat the phrase “under a train”. This is redundant and distracting.
These first four lines also repeat the location multiple times.
2. Missing words
The first sentence of paragraph seven is hard to read. I think the author was trying to say: “The incident is having a flow on effect as rail commuters…”.
3. Wrong verb tenses
Paragraph eight talks about a witness report and the verbs used should be past tense. Also, this paragraph would make more sense higher up in the story.
Compliant with self-harm media guidelines?
This story concludes with the quote: “The police said they are treating the incident as one of self-harm.” (O’Brien, 2014)
Guidelines for media to use when reporting on suicide are posted here. Is this story compliant? Well… yes and no.
These guidelines state that when covering a suicide, the story should contain information about where someone with suicidal tendencies can get support. This article is compliant by listing three sources for support.
However, the guidelines also state that when covering a suicide, the story should minimise details about location and method. This story gives very detailed information about the location and method of this potential self-harm incident.
Should self-harm even have been mentioned?
The guidelines also state: “Ensure the death has been confirmed as a suicide by official sources so that the report does not fuel speculation or interfere with ongoing investigations.” (Mindframe, 2014)
This story states that police are treating the incident as self-harm, not that this has been confirmed.
I don’t think adding that statement at the end of this news report has any benefit. The main focus of this story should be informing the public that there has been a disturbance to public transport schedules and traffic due to a woman being injured by a train.
You can find my re-write of this article here.
Mindframe (2014) Available at: http://www.mindframe-media.info/for-media/reporting-suicide (Accessed: 28 September 2016).
O’Brien, C. (Courier Mail. 2014) Woman stuck under train in Brisbane. Available at: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/woman-stuck-under-train-at-eagle-junction-train-station-brisbane/news-story/3fdffc6978a2cb47b0461d1dbb1177ad (Accessed: 28 September 2016)