Excluding O-Week, today is my 3rd day of university, and the 1st day I have no lectures or tutorials. Today I planned on going into the city and grabbing a couple of things to help me lay out everything for future reference and to unscramble some thoughts in my head.
At least I got the former done.
As it turns out, this morning revealed something I couldn’t have imagined, nor expected: a phone call with my mother. Now admittedly, it would be reasonable to have a parent ring a child and remind them they miss them and hope everything is going well. Heck, it is not out of the realm of possibility that someone would cry during this conversation.
Unfortunately, this conversation was about one tragic topic: our dog Jax. And while listening to my mother explain what had happened through a shaky voice, told me that Jax had been euthanised due to a incident on the weekend, in where he bit a neighbour’s child. That sounds unnerving already, as you contemplate what exactly happened and how it happened and the damage, but the damage has already been done.
Now, as someone who is doing units concerning journalism and media, in time I will come to understand certain angles and how a story can be told. But one thing I’ve quickly come to realise is the confusion and anger of the embellishment of facts. Now I am somewhat biased as it concerns my family being seen in a negative light, yet I am just as perplexed at the vilification they have faced. From what can be observed in the two articles written (here and here), the family are absolutely distraught as their child has lost half of his ear to a vicious attack by a dangerous dog.
Wait no, his ear was ripped off […Kellen’s ear was already ripped off], even though “My neighbour has saved my son’s life…but this could have been avoided with better kept management” but I digress.
Using the principles from Mediacollege.com, this is news based on these factors:
- Timing – as it happened over the weekend;
- Significance – as it concerns families and dog owners;
- Proximity – as it was in a quaint neighbourhood in a large city (Gold Coast);
- Human Interest – as it was a child who was celebrating his birthday
From those things, I can understand it being news-worthy. However, I cannot see it being ethical in composing an article (alongside a follow-up) where one side has been viewed at, and yet even admitting the other side was not necessarily in the wrong remarkably makes the dog owners looking worse off.
And again, being the son of that family that now has no animal, to have read such a poorly formed and investigate piece infuriates me to no end.
To their credit, my parents have chosen to keep quiet. I can understand both not saying anything and defending yourself. However, the damage is already done. Even though the facts show negligence by the child’s parents, and that the child’s life was actually saved and suffered relatively minor injuries, there is nothing that can be said that changes the fact that it is already out there. The story is horrible, the articles are in poor taste, and no one wins. Except the neighbours, who wanted the dog to be euthanised (“The dog was surrendered to council and euthanised this afternoon. That was our agreement with the owners.“)
How I managed to get myself out of my room and into the city, thinking only of that, astounds me. But now I have to move on, somehow let the fact I no longer have a goofy dog to see when I visit my parents during the break, sink in.
Tomorrow needs to be better.