Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Emily Davison

I was listening to the old story of Emily Davison this morning, the suffragette who died after throwing herself in front of the King's horse, Anmer, in the 1913 Derby. Here's a link to a newspaper reporting at the time:
This article is remarkable for a number of reasons. First, it says it was history's "most wonderful Derby" because the favourite was disqualified so a 100-1 bet won the race. At the time of printing, Emily was still alive, so the fact that she was injured is secondary to the euphoria of the race but the implication is there, is it not, that the fact that a suffragette was nearly killed, also added to this "most wonderful Derby"?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Winchester.

'Was it ever thus' would be my take on it. I remember reading the Andrew Marr book 'My Trade'. He describes how the very early Daily Mail set itself apart from a number of the competitor newspapers by printing the awful story of a man burning inside a building which had been barred [it may have been to keep it secure, I forget the detail].

Despite sickening the readers or putting them off from buying it through revulsion, sales increased.

And so the precedent for 'good news is no news' was set. Stories which involve serious injury or violent death or abduction may not be news worthy to us - but the undeniable fact is that they increase sales and so the pressure to print them is always there in a competitive 'news factory' environment where it is better to be first than right or tell the truth.

One only has to look at the huge coverage to the near-fatal accident of Richard Hammond to know that the story hasn't changed, just the names of the participants.

5:53 pm  
Blogger kinglear said...

I would be almost certain that all the reporters at that time were male - and certainly the editor, owner and sports correspondent would be. It was only after the war that people began to think that letting women have the vote moght be an idea because of the work ( man's work) they had done. So I agree with your posit.

9:37 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi Anon and KL - yes it is depressing that good news is no news and that in this day and age where we can get information and photos instantaneously from all over the world (and even from Mars), practically all the items on the news relate to disasters and violent crime. They should find pieces of good news to balance the bad. Yesterday Radio 4 reported that a French serial killer had been jailed for life. Good news, one would have thought, but it went on to give details of all his horrible crimes which in my view was totally unnecessary.

9:48 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, as you say, the implication is probably there.

2:57 pm  
Anonymous Mary said...

This is an amazing story. This site has pretty good coverage of it, including a grainy video snippet of the incident itself.

11:12 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi Mary - thank you for the link to that video. What a different world it was then!

12:35 pm  

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