Ten news stories that might have been if Covid had never happened – Bill Jamieson

Protests over climate change, party conferences and litter in our national parks. Our news would have been very different without the coronavirus pandemic, writes Bill Jamieson

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks on stage during a demonstration of students in Germany. (Picture: Axel Heimken/AFP/Getty Images)

Broadcast and print media have been overwhelming in their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Page after page has been devoted to the devastation wrought by Covid-19.

So what’s been happening elsewhere? What happened to the news items that would otherwise be preoccupying us were it not for Covid-19?

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Did we really miss the coverage of those Easter party political conferences, for example? Or mass bank holiday climate change protests?

Have we pined for the grim news of faraway famines and pestilence recited in lugubrious detail by Olga Guerin of the BBC (“I’m standing here in the stench of death”)?

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How about coverage of those fractious Easter Rising memorials in Ireland? Or students and sixth-form pupils going down with exam stress? Or ‘woke’ protests against historic statues at universities? Or some official from the housing ministry saying we need to have fewer gardens to accommodate new house-building targets?

Where are the stories of mass queues at airports for the holiday getaway, nose-to-tail traffic on motorways and miserable photos of Bank Holiday litter-strewn national parks?

Oh, and have we really missed the entry and exodus of all those football managers bouncing from club to club?

Few of these absences we regret. But we have missed out on many of the lighter, human interest stories that newspapers mercifully provide.

Thankfully, these are beginning to creep back, to provide us not only with a more balanced view of the world, but also with items that lift our mood and our spirits.

Let’s hope the ‘new normal’ does not overlook the more reassuring items of the old.


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