You soon learn why the Bristol Post is slowly slipping away into the media sunset when you read that one of its lead ‘stories’ today is the news that Bristol was warmer this weekend than Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Walking through Stoke Gifford today, I was not aware of smouldering barbecues around the village, or bikini clad beauties gathered on the village green. To avoid accusations of sexism, there were no villagers wearing speedos, either. Thank god. Was this really news?
Factually, the story was true. Bristol basked in temperatures of up to 14c today, 3c higher than Corfu and a full 8c higher than Athens, but, frankly, so what? Life still went on as usual. You couldn’t exactly put the loungers out on a waterlogged garden, in fact you couldn’t do anything different to what you did last weekend. And the sun barely came out. I’ll bet Athens, with its sizzling 6c, still felt warmer than Bristol.
This is what we…ahem…serious writers refer to as ‘crap journalism’. Not that the Bristol Post journalists are crap, far from it, but this is a non story concocted purely to fill space. The person who wrote this not particularly fascinating meteorological masterpiece is just waiting for a cold spell when Bristol will be colder than Greenland or, when it’s dry, drier than the Sahara desert. He’ll be logged into some weather forecasting site or other. “Hey Mike”, the junior hack will say to the editor. “It’s only wetter than the rain forest in Bristol today!” Mike will be sitting on the edge of the hack’s desk and will look up, in the style of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, and announce, “Run that baby!” And there’s tomorrow’s big news. It’s warmer than Greece. Not exactly Watergate, is it, Mike?
Unfortunately, it won’t be warmer than Greece when it really matters, like in the spring, summer and autumn and somehow I doubt that the Post will be telling us that it’s a mere 20c warmer in Greece than it is in Bristol. After all, that’s not news, is it?