Well done on turning a traffic injury, albeit a very serious and tragic one, into a front-page human interest story from the lowest drawer. Why the 'police reporter' wrote this story - apart from the fact that there are about four reporters left at the Herald these days - is beyond me; only two paragraphs mention the police at all. There is far more mention of praying, making it surely more relevant to the Herald's religion correspondent.
Shweta and Sharleen Chand were yesterday praying for their big sister to be okay.
Family members told the sisters, aged 10 and 5, that 15-year-old Shateel had a "cut on her head" after being struck by a bus in Mt Wellington yesterday.
"We just say [in prayer] please help our sister," Shweta told the Herald yesterday from their grandparents' home.
She and Sharleen were looking forward to seeing their big sister who always looked out for them and was "really playful".
[...] Speaking to the Herald from hospital, Shateel's father, Rakesh Chand, said more than a dozen friends and relatives were at her side, praying for her to pull through.
Milan Maharaj, 15, said she couldn't believe it when she heard her close friend had been in the accident.Except it wasn't a 12-year-old. And it was Shateel. Which makes this an odd comment to put in the article. Oh well! Got to fill up the space somehow!
"I saw police cars and a man told me that a 12-year-old girl was hit by a car and I was relieved it wasn't [Shateel] because I know she comes this way and because they said she was 12," she said.
Milan had spoken to Shateel on the phone the night before about joining her Indian dance class.'Her' dance class? Wait, Milan's or Shateel's? Oh, what's the point - clarity of style in the Herald is the least of my worries.
Anyway, the incident looks to have been an accident, although the investigation is ongoing. But the Herald isn't willing to stop there. In a sidebar piece entitled 'Sad Toll' (part of the same article online), they try to imply (or I try to infer...) that there is some bigger issue here than a tragic injury to a young girl. Four pedestrians (not counting Shateel, who is in critical condition at time of writing) have died in Auckland in the last 10 years after being hit by buses - not a particularly disproportionate number, it seems to me, given that they are massive, fast-moving chunks of metal relatively common on Auckland's roads. One person tripped and fell in front of a bus; another walked out onto the road in front of one. If there were some systemic reason why people are being hit by buses - poor training of drivers or slack maintenance, say - then of course that's a matter of public interest that should be on the front page of the paper. But, to me, there seems to be no evidence of anything other than 'shit happens' - people are going to walk onto the road, and sometimes buses are going to be on that road. Mining a family's grief for circulation and then half-heartedly trying to make some public safety issue out of nothing doesn't seem like responsible journalism to me.