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The George Orwell MiniTrue Award

Posted by te2ataria on November 22, 2009

sent by a reader in Blenheim

This Week’s Winner of The Big Brother Honest Journalism Award: The Northern Advocate

The George Orwell MiniTrue Award (aka the ‘Big Brother Honest Journalism Award’) for this week goes to New Zealand’s The Northern Advocate for the following:

Story Title: Gold-toothed skull found on beach

Orwellian Newspeak comment that grabbed the prize:

‘The skull – obviously old, but said to still have hair and gristle attached to it – was found by Australian tourists walking on the beach at Glinks Gully, 24km south of Dargaville, on Tuesday.’


GRISLY FIND: Glinks Gully resident Geoff Nicols points to the site where the skull was found. Source: Northern Advocate. Image may be subject to copyright.

Background information:

Tourist Catch of the Day: Severed Head, Torso

Tourists Find Severed Head and Torso in Northland, New Zealand. A pair of Australian tourists found a severed head and torso in the sand dunes near the entrance of Glinks Gully, about 20 kilometers south west of Dargaville, Northland, New Zealand.

However, the police, which seems to have decided that the headlines were bad for business, apparently forced the reporter(s) to change the headlines and certain parts of their story to make it sound as if the discovery of a severed head and dismembered torso was actually something completely different. The new Stuff NZ headline read: Skull found on Northland beach

NZ Herald echoed much of the same: Very old’ skull found on Northland beach

A “very old” human skull has been found on a beach south of Dargaville.

Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said the skull is being referred to a pathologist to find out when the person died.

She said the skull was found in the sand dunes in Glinks Gully, Te Kopuru, Northland.

Asked if it could be a skull from pre-European colonisation, Ms Kennett said she could not say. [Amazing!]

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10610331

NZ Police Interfere with News Coverage

As luck had it…

The two Australian tourists, Louisa and Michael Ergles, who discovered the severed head, read the new, amended headlines and apparently contacted the [advertising] media.

Mr Ergles who is a search and rescue officer in his hometown of Lajamanu in the Northern Territory, Australia, said, “there was still a bit of flesh on the head when we found it.”

“I don’t think it would have been there longer than a year.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3081933/Dargaville-skull-not-that-old-tourists

[Note: All mentions of the ‘torso’ have also been removed from the new versions of the story. ]

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