Cootamundra to the world

20 Sep

BONUS UPDATE: The very day after we were discussing Rebel Wilson and the Australian dollar exchange rate, this appears on the UK homepage of the Daily Mail! Man from Cootamundra (where?) discovers crashed ute (what?) on the Olympic Highway (where?) and, with great courage, pulls him to safety. Now he’s all over the web front page of Britain’s best-selling mid-market tabloid without a hint to international readers about where the drama took place (which is, of course, Australia).

If you need footnotes: Cootamundra is a town of about 5,500 in New South Wales; the Olympic Highway is a country road in the southern part of the state, so named because it formed part of the route of the torch for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics; and a ute, that most distinctively Australian of vehicles, is a light pickup truck based on a saloon car chassis (it’s short for “utility”). None of these explanations make it into the front-page standfirst for British readers, although on the article page itself, there is at least a description of Mr van Baast as an “Aussie hero” in the display type.

In fact, the story is written from such a defiantly local angle that one suspects even readers in other parts of Australia might be nonplussed: it’s not clear how familiar readers in Perth might be with the name of an inland rural highway through another state, even though viewers of Prime 7 News Wagga Wagga (which provided the dramatic pictures) would know at once.

But it also underlines the other emerging trend in the globalising digital news agenda: that, from celebrity photoshoots to fiery rescues, a story’s a story, wherever you are in the anglosphere.

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3 Responses to “Cootamundra to the world”

  1. the ridger September 21, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    I love the “man (pictured left) … ute (pictured right)” clarifications. Wouldn’t want to get them mixed up.

    • edlatham September 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

      Yes! Even if you didn’t know what a ute was, that’s still a bit on the over-helpful side

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  1. Hands across the water | Ten minutes past deadline - October 30, 2018

    […] they originate in the world. It’s the small things, the detail points that betray who you really think you’re writing for: the weights and measures, the indications (or not) of nationality, the brief explanations of […]

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