Journalism: Changing Our Understanding

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 13, 2016 in News & Opinion |

There was a fire in the neighborhood last weekend, a barn next to one of the local hotels caught fire on the morning following a holiday day when many people go out and celebrate Father’s Day. In Germany we celebrate both but in completely different fashions: on the one the women get breakfast in bed, the other the men go out and drink.

Since the fire started in the early hours of the morning following this alcohol-rich day, it was fair to assume that one of the partygoers slept off his excesses in the building and, somehow, managed to set the whole building in flames. An action which he did not survive; one could assume because he was still too drunk to appreciate what was happening, or to make his escape.

A few days later the newspaper changed its story slightly, putting a completely different light on the whole affair: the owner of the hotel died in the flames. Apparently he had discovered the fire and went in to the building to try to extinguish it, was overcome by smoke and died as a result.

House Fire

Photo Source: Patrick CumbyCreative Commons

One small piece of information which puts a new perspective on the whole story. A sad outcome, to be sure,  regardless of who died, but a storyline which brought people to other thoughts by being incomplete. Sometimes a single word can make the difference, whether it is a tragic fire, such as this, or a political campaign elsewhere.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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