Bain home smothered in blood, court told. Jury shown gruesome video footage of corpses after shooting rampage.Should you be surprised that a significant amount of blood was present at the scene of a multiple murder, or at the presence of corpses, this would have been news to you. Well done Herald. However, if you are not a jellyfish who managed to fail jellyfish NCEA, then you will be aware of these things. In fact, while you may be interested in the fact that David Bain is being retried - was there a grave miscarriage of justice in the original trial?; was the Attorney-General right to order a retrial? - it's rather more difficult to justify needing to know what happened every day in the courtroom. Presumably, the people who need a hugely thorough knowledge of the case are the men and women of the jury, and the judge. Anyone reading in the paper about it is going to come away with a much shallower knowledge of the case - a knowledge that can, of course, easily be swayed by poor reporting. Sensational headlines, daily coverage regardless of the news value of what has happened, 'Bainwatch' on the website keeping you up to the minute and encouraging the belief that, in a long trial, there is constantly going to be something to excite (which then fuels the need for sensationalism) - I dare say that the Herald has covered most bases here.
Speaking of which, you may also be aware of a trial going on in Austria - that of Joseph Fritzl, the charming individual who kept his daughter in his basement for 24 years and who is being charged with murder, rape and enslavement, in addition to other counts. Yes, of course you are aware of him. Exactly what purpose, apart from voyeurism, does the media coverage of the trial serve? Is this some systematic problem that needs to be rooted out, an expose of a serious underground problem? Probably not. Despite the attempts of the British gutter press to claim that it's all part of some Freudian obsession with Hitler -he was Austrian, remember? OMG! - it's a story about a crazy nutjob who did some pretty despicable acts. Perhaps it's 'natural' to want to hear about something so beyond our frame of reference, but it's not clear that responsible journalism ought to be dedicated to satisfying our primeval urges. Surely that's what Facebook hate groups are for.