Cumbria: Where News Bites the Dust

I've had enough of local news. It's like the news reporters here took a wrong turn at Journalism School and ended up in How-to-Speak-to-Toddlers 101. It's all about as exciting as watching paint dry, except instead of paint, you're watching a slug slowly digest a lettuce leaf. Reporters seem to have traded their metaphorical quills for novelty tea towels, churning out content that would make a damp squib blush

These days, our local rag seems to have three main sources for information: Facebook, a dusty box of press releases from 1967, and Google Earth screenshots so blurry they could be mistaken for abstract art. You know, these days, even a grainy photo of a pothole is too much effort for them. 

Here's a typical Cumbrian news cycle:

Monday: A kettle in Keswick boils over. Breaking news! Reporter grabs a stock photo of a kettle, writes 500 words about the dangers of unattended kettles (apparently kettles are sentient beings now, plotting to scald our tea-loving nation), and throws in a heartwarming story about a local granny who once used a kettle to save a baby swan. 

Tuesday: Remember that press release box? Time to raid it! Today's gem: a council press release about a "significant investment" in...wait for it...pothole repairs. Reporter copies and pastes the entire release, adds a stock photo of a road (any road, will do), and calls it a day. Pulitzer Prize, here we come!

Wednesday: The archives beckon! Today, we're unearthing a black and white photo from 1979 of the Queen opening a local chip shop. Reporter waxes lyrical about the "good old days" when chips were chips and nobody used avocado on toast (the horror!). Headline: "Queen Opens Chip Shop: Was Cumbria Great Again?"

Thursday: Google Earth, oh Google Earth, how we rely on thee. Reporter needs a visual for a story about a new housing development. Can't be bothered to actually go there, of course. So, they grab a blurry screenshot, zoom in until it looks like a pixelated potato, and hey presto! Instant news image. Nobody will notice the wonky perspective or the fact that the houses look like they're melting. 

Friday: It's the end of the week, and the reporter's brain is officially on vacation. Time to repost that kettle story from Monday, just in case you missed the first three renditions. Headline: "Kettle-gate: Cumbria On The Brink Of Scalding Disaster?"

Now, I'm not saying all Cumbrian reporters are like this. There are some gems out there, hidden amongst the clickbait and kettle chronicles. But the general trend is... well, let's just say it wouldn't win any awards for intellectual stimulation.

But hey, maybe that's the point. Maybe us Cumbrians are just a simple folk, content with our bucolic bliss and news served in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks. Maybe we don't need Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism, just a friendly reminder that kettles can be dangerous and that the Queen once ate chips (probably with vinegar, none of that fancy mayo nonsense).

Or maybe, just maybe, we deserve better. Maybe we deserve reporters who challenge us, who make us think, who tell stories that go beyond the mundane and the recycled. Maybe we deserve news that doesn't insult our intelligence, that doesn't treat us like we're too thick to understand anything beyond the latest Facebook drama.

So, to the reporters of Cumbria, I say this: ditch the kettles, dust off your notebooks, and get out there. Tell us real stories, stories that matter, stories that make us laugh, cry, and think. Show us the Cumbria beyond the stereotypes, the Cumbria of grit and determination, of innovation and creativity. Because we, the people of Cumbria, are more than just kettle-boiling, pothole-dodging sheep-admirers. We're a complex, vibrant community with stories worth telling. Now go out there and tell them. Just make sure you spell "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" correctly, alright? 

  • Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word in the English language and refers to a type of lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust. 

Pothole


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