Not all articles are the same

Take a newspaper and glance through its pages. Each sheet of paper contains several articles: some are short, others span multiple pages, all made of the same material, words. Yet each of those articles has a distinct value, a different weight. No surprise, you may say: it is evident that an article on the involvement of Kate and Williams at the inauguration of the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, UK, does not have the same significance as a protest demonstration of indignados in Madrid or as the news of victims of a bombing in Syria.

It is not only the article’s subject to determine its weight, however, but also and especially the way in which that article was written. The importance of a topic is in fact often evident, but as we got to that article, it is not always so.

To recount a bombing you must be under the bombs, along with
the populations with which you have to share emotions and destinies.

These are the words of Domenico Quirico, the correspondent of Italian newspaper «La Stampa», missing for days in Syria. There is a difference between telling hearsay and be there, on the spot, often running the same risks of the populations of which you are talking about; just as there is a lot of difference between telling a scandal of political corruption through the news leaked from the Public Prosecutor’s office and be the journalist who, at his own personal risk, discovered and revealed to the public that corruption scandal.

The words might be the same — even if in reality they won’t, however, because living an event makes you write in a different way — but the weight, the value, and often the cost you pay for that article, will never be the same. Remember this, next time you read a newspaper: not all articles are the same.

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