Anorak News | The Big Picture

The Big Picture

by | 10th, October 2005

‘IS the devastation caused by the earthquake in Pakistan made more or less appalling by the paper you read about it in?

In the Telegraph, the vision of Pakistan is awful. It’s not the words, though, that capture the imagination, rather the pictures.

Overlooking the business-focused Financial Times, the Telegraph is now the only remaining national broadsheet on the newsstands; something the Telegraph is touchingly proud of.

In a letter from the editor on the paper’s page two, Martin Newland says that the “quality market” is “generally dumbing down”. And sizing down – the Times and Independent are now tabloids and the Guardian is a Berliner, a messy doughnut of a read.

None can compete with the Telegraph’s size; just look at the paper’s big shots of the destruction in Pakistan.

An overhead shot of the flattened Pakistani town of Balakot takes in the entire vista. No building has been left standing by the quake, which measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale.

It would be unfair to say that the Telegraph rejoices whenever a massive disaster strikes. But it must take some pleasure in being able to report on scenes which give it the chance to showcase its size. The paper’s pictorial treatment of Hurricane Katrina was as shocking as it was captivating.

Over in the Times, the view is stilted by the paper’s reduced format. The Times could produce a huge picture on its cover, like a true tabloid. But it baulks at the chance and instead has a pretty ineffectual mixture of image and words.

The front-page picture of a baby rescued is Srinagar, its head swathed in a white bandage, its hands clasped together, is erring on the side of the mawkish. It’s small in both subject and scale.

Inside, what, perhaps, should have been on the front page had the Times been brave enough – a large colour shot of a deathly-pale man being treated by a Turkish rescue team – arrests the reader.

But deep inside the paper, the big picture is easy to miss. Readers want their news fast and entertaining, however terrible the content.

It’s less a case of “Hold the front page!”, than “Get me the old ones!”’

Posted: 10th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink