Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Breaking News













They break news down
to a few column inches
instantly forgettable,
a late night sound-bite
that tweet, tweet, tweets
like birdsong tinnitus.

Exhausted adjectives,
old chestnut clich├ęs
lined up on the page
like the usual suspects
(different words suspicious
as abandoned packages).

And whether it's editors
squeezing the heart out of
a story to make it fit
or the white noise of
too many words filling
vacant space, it's far too easy

just to turn the page.
We need a hook to hang
the horror on, attach
the facts. A net to catch
the moment in. To ask
the question doorstep reporters
never ask themselves:
How does it feel?


© Clare Kirwan

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Clare Kirwan is part of Liverpool's Dead Good Poets Society and blogs as Broken Biro

8 comments:

  1. Oh, very good indeed! Another thing that strikes me (and this is more of a news-reporting thing) is just how cheery they can make even the most horrific news sound.
    One of my big pet-peeves these days (and perhaps it is only a Canadian thing), but where we used to say "car-accident", now we seem to delight in using "car-crash" which has more impact (if you'll pardon a bad pun).
    I love that "birdsong tinnitus" by the way.

    Kat

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  2. Thanks Kat. It's all journo-speak. Whoever goes home and says: 'I've been axed love'?

    I must confess I've already used birdsong tinnitus here but it fitted in so nicely I couldn't resist!

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  3. You got this so right. By the way, do sofa-bound presenters still regard themselves as serious journalists?

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  4. Oh, indeed they do, mMrtin!

    I'm saying that, I actually have no idea.

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  5. This is excellent. The last stanza really resonates with me. I think being asked 'How does it feel?' negates and numbs any sense of feeling at all in the viewer.

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  6. the white noise of
    too many words filling
    vacant space

    Sounds a bit like Blogland! LOL

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  7. Great poem, and the last stanza is a knock-out.

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  8. Nan Jo - Lazy journalism, formulaic formats, editors in butcher aprons... it's all numbing.

    Cad - You may well think that - I couldn't possibly comment!

    Rainy - Thanks!

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