EARLY in my career an old journalist – a crusty sub editor – took me aside and told me the facts of life.
He said: Say you had to choose what story to put on page one and you had one story about one Australian dying tragically and another of 5000 people dying in a flood in Bangla Desh . Which one is more important?
He explained it like this. In news terms, one Australian death is worth the death of four Britons, half a dozen yanks, 20 Frenchmen, 30 Germans, 100 Latin Americans and 200,000 Asians.
First lesson in news ethics. Or perhaps a lesson on the way the media works.
It’s why that tragic overnight event in Pakistan – a Taliban attack on a school that left 142 dead – mainly children – has received minor media coverage here.
Journalism at its best informs. But 99.9 per cent of what happens in the world doesn’t get a mention in the media.
We live in the age of over-information. That’s not the same as good information.