Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The future of journalism

Right here:
It took six months for Liberation journalist Ondine Millot to get to the truth about the most sordid side of France's housing crisis.

Look through some property websites and you can see the advertisements: the phrase you are looking for is contre services - when a room in an apartment is offered, sometimes "free", in exchange for services.

Sometimes the service is perfectly innocent - cleaning the apartment or washing clothes, to defray some of the high cost of renting property.

But sometimes it is not: instead the requests are sexual, demeaning, bordering on the perverse. "Sex twice a month," is one blunt demand. Another asks for someone "open in spirit and elsewhere".

"Flat in exchange for libertine services," goes another.

The end of the article is actually quite different in tone: a factual description, sans sex, of what seems to be a very real housing shortage problem in France. Apparently what it takes to get people to read stories is a lurid lead, followed by all the boring, informational stuff at the end. A bowlful, not a spoonful, of sugar. And this is the BBC, not Fox or some such. Fox, of course, would have dispensed with all that boring informational stuff entirely.