Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Journey through today's headlines

The Legend of the Blue City


The big story today, despite the small amount of space given to it in the papers, is on the "latest in a long line of huge tourism projects," a massive tourism project in Sawadi to be called The Blue City which will cover a 35km site and eventually house as many as 200,000 residents. The writer assumes that everyone reading the text knows about the previous Sawadi project which envisioned over a billion dollars worth of investment to develop an entire city tourism resort funded by German investors. That project never got anywhere. The story in today's paper refers to it in the briefest of terms: "the consultants of previous schemes are no longer involved." The new project has the same Omani shareholders as before but the new partners are from Bahrain and the sales will be handled by the same company that's doing the Bahrain Financial Harbour project.

The story is reported in both the Times of Oman and the Oman Observer. Both credited to A Staff Reporter and other than a few flourishes here and there and the flipping of a couple of paragraphs, the two articles are identical. Could it be that Mr. A Staff Reporter works in two rival newspapers at the same time, or is A Staff Reporter the pseudonym of our friend, Mr. Press Release?

Dunno about the name, Blue City sounds a bit pervy to me.


Power outage

According to today's Times of Oman there was a power outage in a large area of Muscat yesterday. Mr. A Staff Reporter says that there was an "unprecedented power cut." Unprecented how? Was it bigger than any other power cut in Omani history? Did it last longer? No explanation.

What was the cause of the power cut though? Mr. A Staff Reporter didn't bother to call the Ministry of Housing, Electricity and Water to find out. He just reported the reactions of different residents, shop and business owners, and schools in the area. All Indian off course. He asked them what the reason for the power cut. And they each gave their explanation or story of how they tried to call the ministry but couldn't get through, couldn't get an answer, or the answers the explanations that they got.

Quite intriguingly, the story also mentions that a "top shopping mall in the MBD area shut down entry to their entire building and sported a sign noting that it was closed ownign to the power cut." I didn't know there was a mall in the MBD in the first place. I'm so excited I want to leave work right now and go look for it.

update: Gulf News has a reporter with a real name on the scene in Muscat, and he actually bothered to call the Ministry to find out what's going on for his report.


MSM 5000

In the Times' business section, their main business reporter reporter likes to give exact quotations from his sources, which he places inbetween quotation marks, but then attributes them to groups instead of inviduals. For example: "analysts and economists opine" or "a group of shareholders and investors told.." Is that right? Shouldn't direct quotes be used for individual quotes, not an amalgamation of what different people have said?

Incidently the big headline in the business section is Will MSM 30 Cross 5000-Mark? Should Not! - a big three quarter page article of which only the first three short paragraphs very briefly explain why the market would be overheated if the index goes that high. But the remaining article actually talks about how sound the present market valuation is.

3 comments:

nomadica said...

Of course both newspapers are ripping off the same press release...that's a classic situation with our dailies in Oman. Where you don't see the name of a reporter appear, you can pretty much be reassured that it's a press release!

Wardat_il'7leej said...

Comment on first post

People usually contribute their articles to the news papers who “modify” the text and then it goes to print….Pretender had first hand experience with this and I did recently with a Women Day article.
They write it up as though they have conducted an interview, even though it was totally written by the person in question, then adjusted to suit their needs.

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