It was not all that long ago that many newspapers in the Western press had dedicated shipping journalists. Now, aside from major hubs and business-orientated titles, such areas of shipping expertise are all too rare in the mainstream media. More’s the pity as the industry is a fascinating one to report on, and so vital to our everyday lives.
The loss of frontline shipping journos at the newsstand has coincided with a natural uptick in ignorant reporting on the topic. We’ve all, no doubt, seen any grounded ship spewing oil being referred to as a tanker on bombastic rolling news channels, despite the clear presence of, say, containers on deck.
The Christmas-at-risk headlines seem to get earlier every year
Then, there’s the more nuanced stories, the ones that us in the trade press might have been covering for weeks or months, but which go global late on in the news cycle and, more often than not, come with all manner of sensationalist, off kilter headlines.
In terms of recent evidence of this media trend, witness the frenzied scaremongering among many tabloids and broadsheets who should know better about families risking missing out on their Christmas shopping this year with all sorts of suggestions that we’re heading for a gloomy empty-shelved December thanks to congested supply chains. It is poppycock, of course, but it sells newspapers. The Christmas-at-risk headlines seem to get earlier every year. Who wins from this fearmongering? The retailers, of course, and the shipping lines.
Where our peers in the mainstream do get it right however is coming in from an outsider’s perspective rather than always reporting from inside the shipping bubble. Moreover, those reporters who file stories for mainstream titles are less likely to be swayed by potentially annoying an advertiser, but perhaps that’s a column for another time.
Front page: Shipping’s emissions on the rise
Editor’s Comment: Shipping and the mainstream press
October 2021 Review
Markets Dry Bulk
Feature: How electric vehicle demand will transform the dry bulk trades
Interview: Ugo Salerno
Opinion: COP26? Don’t expect much