Posted by Andy “Her Majesty’s Press” Bell
In the wonderful world of journalism (DISCLOSURE: I have been a journo for 30 years, but may soon find a proper job) there are certain headlines which are always close to hand, while others are on the top shelf gathering dust.
In today’s (Nov. 22) Herald-Sun there is one of the oldest of old chestnuts: “Schoolies go wild”.
Who would have thought it ?
18 year olds who have just spent an artificial number of weeks cramming for a series of examinations held over an artificial period which are believed to be crucial to the rest of their lives.
Release the hounds and they will scamper, as Montgomery Burns never said to Waylon Smithers.
Along with “Footy star’s drug shame”, “Soap star’s heartbreak” & “Who will save Arnold the donkey ?”, the schoolies brouhaha is an annual splash across the “little paper” and all its siblings across this great brown land.
It informs us that people who’ve been under pressure tend to let it rip when that pressure is released.
Again, who’d have thought it ?
So the shock-horror headlines actually tell us nothing beyond the bleeding obvious.
What you won’t see around this time of year are attention grabbers like these: “The Argus calls for mature debate on alcohol”, “The Bugle demands informed dialogue on drug use” & “The Thunderer saves Arnold the donkey”.
You get the picture.
Better to report the what than the why.
It’s far, far easier as well.
Easier for all concerned, whether it’s us lot inside the “meejah” or you lot, who consume and, apparently, relish tales of other people’s shenanigans.
And the solution ?
A concerted effort by news outlets to discuss society in a curious and open way ?
A sobering up by a public three sheets to the wind on an intoxicating mixture of faux scandal, celebrity nonsense and confected outrage ?
An effort by all and sundry to behave a little better than a bunch of mildly misbehaving teenagers on a beach renowned as a venue for such behaviour ?