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Steve Jobs, Cumbria & News

June 2, 2010

One day.

One technology giant, a profit-driven vision and a big national news story.

How can the reported words of Apple supremo Steve Jobs possibly tie-in with a mass-shooting in the UK?

Jobs’ words reported by Mashable’s Barb Dybwab read like a sales pitch. Mind you. I’d just woken up. My Significant Other was making the tea and burning the bread in the toaster…

“Jobs came out strongly in favor of preserving journalism: “one of my beliefs very strongly is that any democracy depends on a free, healthy press.” He notes that many seminal publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and others “are in real trouble” and that he doesn’t “want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers [ouch! — Ed. note]. I think we need editorial now more than ever.”

He sees the iPad as being potentially instrumental in getting “people to start paying for this hard-earned content.” He says he believes “publishers should charge less than print. The biggest lesson Apple has learned is price it aggressively and go for volume.”

Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m just being a cynical so and so. Keep an open mind. Journalists are meant to have an open mind.

If Jobs is right then I will – eventually – succumb to that iPad. I can’t remember the number of times I told colleagues “I’m not buying a Mac. I’m not buying an iPhone.” I was converted about a year ago. I’m a sucker. I’m easy. I’m ashamed of it too.

Maybe I’ll change my mind when I bow to the inevitable and buy the iPad. Then I’ll look at the Guardian or The Times on the iPad and I’ll think “yeah, I see what you mean Jobs”.

Or will I?

This morning I read a tweet – retweeted from Cumbria Police – about a gunman on the loose. It seems odd. It seems bizarre. It also seems – weirdly – very, very real.

That’s the moment I’m hooked in. It’s not that I want to know all about the blood and the gore. I’m not imagining the confusion and terror people in the Whitehaven area will have been have been thinking.

I’m not deriving a warped enjoyment from it. I just feel suddenly connected with those anonymous people who are suffering. I want to know whether it’s ‘over’ yet. I don’t want to run and run. I just want to hear that the horror is over. That’s the power of news disseminated on the likes of Twitter. It forms the kind of connection near impossible to sever without some kind of emotional closure.

That closure comes with the news – I can’t remember when or where I got it – that the gunman is dead. That’s when my interest wanes.

Well no, it’s not that my interest wanes. It as though there’s a voice in my head saying “That’s that over. It’s not over for the people who’ve suffered or their families or the bystanders. But that the rubber-necking over. Move along now you.”

I watch rolling news for a few minutes and realise that with the gunman dead, it seems only right and proper to leave the residents of that area of the country to mourn, or to begin the hideous journey of making sense of what has happened today.

It’s not that I don’t care. It’s not that I would want them to think they’re alone. But equally I don’t want to linger. If those people want to be alone – and I imagine they would – they I’m OK with my thoughts not lingering.

That’s when I switch off the TV. That’s when I think about the number of iPad apps the Times have sold this week. That’s when I think about what Steve Jobs said.

That’s when I realise that reading any more about the hideous events in Cumbria in print or online would be ghoulish.

I’ve got my facts. That’s all I need about this particular story.


From → Media

One Comment
  1. cyberguycalif permalink

    The shooting were sad to read about, so many innocent people victims one way or another. But personally I am always glad when (in this case) the shooter is dead. Not so much for a hidious person being dead, but for the fact that the story can end sooner. I hate when something like this happens and the person is arrested or there is a manhunt for them, as the story in the news media goes on and on and on. They start talking about nothing just to keep the story alive until the next major story breaks. Now at least after a few days this news will wane as nothing more can be said, no manhunt news, or not court room news on the guy.

    You said ‘rubber-necking’, I so thought that was an American term. Now I wonder where in the world that phase started.

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