Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Man Bites Dog

I worry the regional press are not taking swine flu seriously. They don't have to subscribe to the doom and gloom predictions but judging by the hits swine flu stories are receiving on this website, it's a topic of considerable interest to their readers. And yet the regional press is largely skating over the pandemic. Part of the problem may be having to work a bit hard for the stories. Finding someone with swine flu takes contacts and today's journalists are used to being emailed a press release. Another problem is finding a genuine case. I hear of many 'swine flu' cases but when you interrogate the informant further it's suspected swine flu or Dr Google has diagnosed them. Unless the patient goes in hospital and gets swabbed they could be one of the nine-in-ten who are the worried well with ordinary flu. Generic press releases from the Department of Health are of limited interest because they lack individual human interest stories. As Kirk Douglas points out in that wonderful 'lost' black and white movie, Ace in the Hole, "thousands of Chinese dying from famine is not news but if there's one man trapped in a cave you want to know all about him".

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