Madeleine McCann: the Buzzfeed years
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
On November 7th, the Sun and Mirror had news.
Mirror: “Gerry and Kate McCann reveal the reasons why they miss Maddie”
Well, she’s their young daughter. Surely we can imagine the reasons, which could go on for pages and pages until exhausted the bereft surmise: everything.
The parents of Madeleine McCann have compiled a heart-rending list of all the things they miss about their long-lost daughter in the run-up to Christmas.
The list accompanies a picture of the couple standing at their front door in Rothley, Leics. The photo, taken for the charity Missing People’s Home for Christmas Exhibition, is among 12 pictures of families who have missing loved ones.
Do we see the other in the Mirror? No.
The exhibition – at The Crypt in London’s St-Martin-in-the-Fields – highlights the plight of thousands of people across Britain who are living in limbo after the disappearance of a family member.
It’s not news, then. It’s charity PR.
A charity spokesperson said: “These powerful images depict families standing by their front doors, symbolising the hopes and fears experienced by those desperately waiting for news.”
As ever, in place of any actual news on the missing child who became the media’s benchmark for all missing people, we get the same old:
The picture of heart doctor Gerry and former GP Kate , both 47, is on public view until November 22. The couple, parents to 10-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, refuse to give up hope of finding their eldest child, who would now be 12.
We don’t get to know the names, jobs, ages of the others looking and waiting for missing people to return.
Missing People’s Jo Youle said: “The exhibition will give the public the opportunity to stand with these families missing a loved one by sharing messages of support.”
Stand with them? But you can’t stand with them. there is no enemy to sand firm against, unless forgetting is the encroaching intruder?
The Sun also the Missing Maddie missing things list, here tastefully presented in the Buzzfeed style:
The 23 things we miss most about our Maddie, by Gerry and Kate McCann
In yer face, Closer:
This is the Sun’s list:
Her sense of humour
Her imitations of people and characters
Her voice, her ‘chat’
That knowing look
Styling her hair
Chasing her round the garden
Sharing her excitement in the run-up to Christmas
Spoiling her on her birthday
Shopping with her
Going to a cafe with her
Holding her, hugging her, kissing the top of her head
Lying next to her
Our complete family of five
We miss her
On Missing People, we see other names of people being sought by loved ones:
On November 11, the Liverpool Echo had more on the missing:
Christmas carol service to be held in Anfield to remember people missing from Merseyside
The story begins:
Madeleine McCann’s mum is encouraging people to support a carol service is to be held next month in memory of Merseyside’s missing people.
Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal.
The special service is being organised by UK charity, Missing People, as part of their Home for Christmas campaign…
Liverpool born Kate McCann Kate McCann whose daughter Madeleine has been missing since she disappeared while the family were on holiday in Portugal in 2007, was previously a member of the All Saints congregation.
No name of any other missing person features in the story.
In the Express & Star, Kirsty Bosley wonder why public displays of grief are now commonplace:
I remember back when Madeleine McCann went missing. The people of the small town of Willenhall created a shrine in the marketplace, leaving flowers, teddies, cards and messages for the girl and her family. I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t know how cluttering up a massive space that needed to be used for the practical purpose of trading would make anything better. And I didn’t see how those letters, that would go unread by Madeleine’s parents, were possibly helping the situation. Fortunately, I have never had to go through the horror of what they’re experiencing, and I hope I never will. Unless that happens, I won’t know what difference it can make; that strangers in a place I’ve never heard of dedicate a big chunk of their marketplace to teddies and candles.
You might call it mourn porn.
The Willenhall shrine to Maddie was the scene of much uproar a little while after it’s creation, when a councillor put her foot down and made the decision to clean it up. I understood exactly why she’d make that call, even though it was an unpopular one. At what point do you have to stand back and say enough is enough? If we leave flowers, scarves, shirts and letter memorials everywhere for anyone lost, we’d be trudging the streets knee-deep in the stinking brown sludge normally reserved for the bottom of a grave-top flower holder.
And that’s exactly where I think these memorials should be left, in gardens of remembrance, on graves and at specially-created monuments. There are only so many lamp posts and telegraph poles to decorate.
But newspapers mastheads remain fertile ground for emotive reporting in place of news.