News reporting: Luxembourg is a village!

How and why does news in Luxembourg differ from other countries? 

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Commentary article by Adam Walder

It is funny what news makes it into Luxembourg 'national' press. I say 'national' loosely because there is not really a news breakdown further to a local level given the size of the Grand Duchy. I guess you could say all news is local and what we report on reflects this. 

However at the same time as journalists we really have to pay attention to what we report, how often and the way we do it. Possibly news reporting in Luxembourg is more powerful than other big countries because it is much closer to home and in that respect journalists here have more control, great responsibility and judgements to make at a different level than a large nation.

I've touched on general road accident reporting before, news that doesn't hit national press elsewhere, but in Luxembourg makes headlines. Why? Because it affects us directly and will always be close to home. They happen on routes most of us know well. There's a dilemma here though; the more they are reported (sometimes because it's a quiet news day) the more of an impression it gives of a problem simply because of the reporting level.

A few weeks ago there was a horrible story of a cat that had been physically tortured and injured, and I noted it was well documented on all medias across Luxembourg. But could you imagine this story making it into national press in other countries? The news of course provoked massive reaction of repulse from inhabitants but at no point did anyone question the 'triviality' of the story -  not the press or readers.

Journalists in Luxembourg really have a duty also not to blow stories out of proportion. Yes this is the same worldwide, but just two articles on the same subject here can be construed as an epidemic here.

If we look the very serious and delicate subject of child sexual attacks and possible kidnapping attempts and the fact that there were several reported cases in the country recently, the role of a Luxembourg journalist is of hyper importance. While it is not only our job but our duty to report this news, it is also to be objective and not create panic when not merited. After two reports of alleged attacks with very little information to work on, we already saw comments like “what's happening in Luxembourg?” Suddenly the whole country becomes the police which is a good thing, but it is very easy to slip into drama reporting, something that quickly becomes amplified in Luxembourg again because of its size.

So we all need to remember just where we are when both reading and writing Luxembourg press. Just take a step back from time to time and see what makes headlines. Two or three reports of violence for example doesn't mean there's an epidemic, or rather, we shouldn't make mountains out of molehills.

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