ED’S DESK is a new semi-regular column by New Matilda, where we give readers an inside look at the sub-editing process involved in news-making. Or at least, we give you an inside look at what should have been the sub-editing process to correct a steaming pile of sh*t story that actually got published, despite holes in it you could drive a truck through.
[HEADLINE] Man bashed by gang in wild brawl in affluent Sydney suburb
[ED’S NOTES]Josh, Re your submitted headline, are you sure it’s a ‘gang’? If it is, does it have a name, and a structure? If so why haven’t you reported that? If not, then it’s not a gang, it’s just a group of Northern Beaches wankers. Please clarify.
[BYLINE] By Josh Dutton.
[INTRO] A man has been filmed being kicked and stomped on in a horrific bashing at a popular Sydney beach with locals concerned violence is gripping their affluent suburb.
[ED’S NOTES] Are we sure it’s an “horrific bashing”? Or is it just an everyday garden-variety bashing, the sort that occurs all the time? In which case why are we reporting it? We’re only one par in Josh, and this story already feels like it’s being reported simply because someone filmed something mildly interesting on their phone. Also, locals may be concerned “violence is gripping their affluent suburb”, but you should check that with the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR). That’s your job.
[BODY COPY] Video obtained by 7News shows two men trading punches before it quickly escalates into a group brawl.
[ED’S NOTES] You appear to be filing a story about someone else’s story. Do we actually have the video, Josh? If not, this is not a story unless the video depicts something truly newsworthy. Otherwise the headline is, ‘Someone films epically vicious assault. Another outlet reports it. We missed it’.
Several young men can be seen ganging up on another man, punching and kicking him repeatedly after knocking him to the ground at Newport Beach. The victim attempts to cover his head as he is attacked from all sides. Vincent De Luca, independent for Narrabeen, told The Daily Telegraph he’s viewed the footage and thinks it’s a “violent and vicious assault”.
Right. So you’re actually filing a story about the Daily Tele filing a story about Channel 7 filing a story. Are you sure you want to submit this story, Josh? Also, Vincent De Luca is a small-town politician seeking publicity. He could “think the video depicts eight ducks swimming peacefully on a pond”, but we wouldn’t report that, any more than we should report he “think[s]it’s a violent and vicious assault”. It either is or it isn’t. We’re not interested in what he thinks. We report facts. Please amend.
“The victim was small and outnumbered,” he told the paper. “There were six of them and you can see them kicking him in the head.”
Okay Josh… we’re also not interested in what Mr De Luca ‘thinks’ about what he sees. You’re using him to describe a video that we can all just fucking well watch for ourselves. Why? Unless we don’t actually have the video…? Do we have the video, Josh?
Witness Ben Sami told
7News he tried to stop the group but was threatened with a large stick.“It’s really out of control, until the police presence is here this is not going to change,” he said.
Threatened with a large stick? Really Josh? You can have a ‘small stick’, but that’s not threatening, it’s just someone waving a small stick around. A large stick is a ‘lump of wood’. Please clarify by contacting the witness… which is also part of your job.
By the time police arrived on the scene, the group had dispersed. The victim was treated for minor injuries in hospital, but has refused to make a formal statement.
What…? If it was an ‘horrific and violent and vicious assault’ and the victim was treated for minor injuries, then THAT is the story, and the headline is, ‘Miraculous survival: Man escapes with minor injuries despite horrific, vicious, violent assault’. Which is it Josh? A miraculous escape, or a non-story?
Cr De Luca has started a petition on Change.org calling on more police resources for the area.
I did a quick Google. Cr De Luca has started NUMEROUS other petitions. Note earlier comment re Cr De Luca being a small-town politician seeking publicity.
Residents on the Northern Beaches echoed his sentiment with a Narrabeen resident calling it a “scary place to be”. “The safety of our residents is compromised at present,” one woman wrote.
Just because “Narrabeen residents” say something, doesn’t mean it’s true. Or newsworthy. Afghanistan is a “scary place to be”. The scariest thing about the Northern Beaches was the recent COVID cluster. Find a quote that isn’t ridiculous please.
Others were concerned for the safety of children. “Our kids deserve to be safe in their own neighbourhood,” another said.
I may have missed something here? How did this become a ‘Oh my god who will think of the children’ story? Have any children been harmed in the making of this story? We’re not here to write an episode of the Simpson’s featuring the panicked wife of Reverend Lovejoy. Please delete quote, find a sensible one, and identify the actual person making the statement. Don’t just troll comments sections looking for hyperbole.
Police confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that a 17-year-old boy has been charged over the incident and has been refused bail to appear in the Children’s Court tomorrow.
This appears to be the only independent reporting you have actually done, Josh. Also, if only one person has been charged, then how the fuck can we sustain the claim a gang was involved? Plus you reported earlier that the victim “refused to make a formal statement”. If someone has been charged, then the victim didn’t refuse to make a formal statement, he refused to speak to media. There’s a difference. Please amend, and resubmit.
UPDATE: Josh, I checked with the crime stats bureau. It took me literally less than one minute. Here’s the fucking link. Assaults in the Northern Beaches are down 17.2 percent over the past 24 months. Please add ‘Small town politician shameless in his pursuit of publicity’ to the story list for discussion at tomorrow morning’s news conference. And please stop by my office this evening before you leave. – Ed.
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