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June 20, 2003

Monsters Of The Deep

Once again we go where the journalists fear to tread.

Well, perhaps not "fear to tread", per se, as much as it is "are too bloody stupid to tread."

Let's assume you've been sitting in front of the computer, casually surfing the news sites, when you run across this story:

Giant Spiders, Prickly Sharks Found Off New Zealand

A giant sea spider the size of a dinner plate and armored shrimps are just some of the new species discovered by a marine expedition in deep water northwest of New Zealand.

Researchers on a New Zealand and Australian research voyage also photographed deep sea sponges and a prickly shark, said New Zealand government agency the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

Scientists spent four weeks aboard the NIWA research vessel Tangaroa collecting and photographing species at depths up to 1.3 miles.

An international group of scientists recorded and photographed more than 500 species of fish and 1,300 species of marine invertebrates.

Mark Norman of Museum Victoria said the survey around Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands was the most complex research expedition ever conducted in Australasia.

"Many species new to science were recognized including new sharks and rays, redfish, rattails, and a range of invertebrates," Norman said on the voyage's Web site .

Now, not only are there no pictures of the prickly shark or the giant spider, there are no links whatever to the aforementioned website. Reuters evidently came to the conclusion that the type of people who would read an article entitled "Giant Spiders, Prickly Sharks Found Off New Zealand" are not the same sort of people who would be interested in actually seeing a giant underwater spider or spike-covered shark, or in following a link to see such monstrosities.

Reuters is not alone. In fact, out of the 6 different outlets found by Google News to be carrying this story, only one of them, ABC Australia, accompanies it with an oceanlife photo. It's not actually of any of the creatures mentioned, mind you, and appears to have been taken in an aquarium to begin with, but ABC at least made an attempt at journalism, pathetic though it was. None of the stories found bother providing a link.

Now, as I learned in my long ago door to door vacuum cleaner sales training class, a good salesman first creates a problem, then solves the problem.

Alrighty, then. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Prickly Shark,

and the Giant Underwater Spider, which frankly possesses less of the "Giant! Underwater! Spider!" qualities than one might expect.

More images of the creatures found by expedition aboard the R.V. Tangaroa can be seen here, and the expedition's home page is here.

There's a reason journalists should feel threatened by bloggers. All too often we not only do their job better than they, we show how simple surpassing what passes for most journalism today actually is.

Posted by Bigwig at June 20, 2003 01:57 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

alas, when dealing with bloggers, the most important question is, how do they taste?

i'm digging that stone crab, and the serpent starfish are very cool too. they look like little bitty (but five-legged) octopi.

i'm pretty sure, tho, that "they have wonky eyes" isn't a technical term. thanks for the link. :)

Posted by: tanya at June 20, 2003 03:18 PM

"Wonky Eyes" is a very tech term, Tanya! In fact, it's practically medical...kind of like "ooky"

Bigwig, you're right about big media...they should feel threatened. Hell, I think most people who blog (intelligent posts) put more thought and care into the crafting of said posts than some of the "reporters/journalists" out there. All too often anymore, it's shoddy writing and reporting.

Posted by: Da Goddess at June 21, 2003 12:52 AM
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