I am now three weeks into my self-imposed ‘I will buy and read the local newspaper – the Southend Echo every Monday-Friday’ commitment. I have to admit that the £6.75 I have spent on doing this hasn’t been the best £6.75 that I have ever spent but it has taken me back to being a journalist. One thing though has really stood out and that is they seem to have a photographer at every single local high school prom. When did the high school prom become newsworthy? Can someone enlighten me?
Now I know some of you will be thinking, ‘but Neil you are just jealous because you didn’t go to any of your high school discos or proms or anything social’ but you’d be wrong – I went to one. Hah! Although it wasn’t a prom or anything it was a big leaving VI form party in the park – or more accurately Sandown or Shanklin Rugby Club. I can’t remember which. Anyway as per usual I digress. I’m not jealous of either going to proms or having the local rag deciding it was newsworthy. I just think it is preposterous to have the gall to pretend it is even remotely newsworthy.
No doubt the local paper will say that it fills up space and no doubt people buy it to see their photos and to see them all but isn’t that the type of thing that Facebook and other forms of social media was invented for?
Here are a couple of photos from the last two days but in the 15 days of buying the local rag I’d say a good eight of them have had double page spreads from a high school prom.
I just don’t get it. Maybe I am just a grumpy old man. I know that the local rag will have quite a few non-stories in it. It isn’t easy finding enough news to fill up a newspaper every single day but prom photos?
The whole high school prom thing is also a bug-bear of mine. It is the Americanisation of our young people. More and more pressure is put on young people to have a good time at these things and make an impression. I read a story in a national newspaper the other day that two girls had waited too long to hire a limo for their prom that they went out a hired a helicopter instead. The helicopter cost them £500 to hire between them. I don’t think I even had £500 pocket money throughout my teenage years yet alone to spend on a helicopter trip to arrive at a prom in style.
Proms are essentially for the popular kids and it deeply harms the less popular kids self-worth. If you aren’t popular or you can’t afford a new dress or to arrive in style then people look down on you. Having the local newspaper photographer there doesn’t exactly help this.
I could bang on about it for hours but I’ll be good and won’t. It just really pisses me off. Not just the whole newsworthy issue but the prom culture itself. I’m not sure the benefits outweigh the costs in fact quite the opposite – I’m pretty darn sure the costs outweigh the benefits.
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