Monday, March 28, 2011

Lets look at the reporting of a family tragedy

Yes, it is a family tragedy that a father, upset at losing custody of his children after divorce, threw his daughter over a bridge to her death. But lets look at how this is reported in The Age.

The descriptions:

The father, who, in other circumstances, could be seen as an artist or businessman or tradesman or any sort of normal man. He could be any of a number of the dads at school.

In the dock sat a man of distinctive appearance with long, unkempt hair surrounding his bald crown, in the middle of which stood a small tuft of unruly strands, like a cockatoo's crest.

His deep-set eyes sat below a large forehead etched with two v-shaped lines, gave him a look of permanent puzzlement.

In other circumstances, an on-looker might think of him as homeless, had he not have been decked out in a suit and tie each day.

To the prosecutor, Freeman's presentation suggested a "Rasputin-like appearance of a mad monk."

The daughter - a normal kid. And I'm not suggesting any child deserves to be hurt - of course she was innocent. I'm just noting the description as angelic. She was actually a normal child.

DARCEY Iris Freeman looks as angelic as she does innocent in the photographs her family released to the media in the wake of her death.

She has her mother's button nose and her father's fair hair. She has a cheeky, mischievous twinkle in her eyes that most four-year-olds possess.

The mother - a normal, overweight, nothing describing her clothes or hair, mother:

The tall, kind-looking, motherly figure shot only momentary glances at her ex-husband from the witness box, as she told the court she did not want to miss her daughter's first day of school.

She is a motherly-figure, not a mother.

Objective reporting? No. Demons and angels. Way to go The Age.

Points, though, for ending the story with ways people can seek help and support, and Anne Hollands for this:

To assess any risks or problems, we need to have services available very early on, to screen for these problems. The services that support families have suffered cutbacks in the last federal budget and those cuts are coming in from July 1. To screen at-risk families, to create links with courts and police, there must be continued government investment in these services. Access to counselling should be universally available, and it needs to happen long before people get to court.

Systems must be in place. Systems funded by government.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I saw some footage of the Libyan women and the abuse she was receiving from men who were trying to silence her and obviously supporters of Gaddaffi. Was I right in seeing people (and some women also) trying to silence her by forcing a black fabric bag over her head! Goodness I sat in disbelief at the images.

Yes I agree, education ALL THE TIME at any opporutnity.