Yesterday was a pretty momentous day. Not that, if you read some of the newspapers, you would actually know it.
First off, the probable discovery of the Higgs boson was announced by CERN in Switzerland. This is a major, major bit of news, as it not only furthers our knowledge of how the Universe works, but also vindicates the best part of 60 years of scientific theory. To put the possibilities of this discovery into perspective, about 110 years ago, no-one had identified an electron, despite it being the major force behind electricity, thermal conductivity and magnetism. The Higgs is possibly more important than that, as it is the glue that holds everything else together.
Also yesterday, Bob Diamond, disgraced ex-Chief Executive of Barclays appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee to answer questions about the conduct of his bank. Barclays has – with several other banks to follow – been fined for manipulating the LIBOR rate, which could potentially affect just about everybody in the UK. This was a very rare case of one of the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe (and not in a Higgs boson sense) to be dragged and required to answer for their conduct.
So, two huge stories. One concerning the actions of the past which leaves a good part of the world in a financial mess, the other a good news story about Awesome Science. And just how do the front pages of our newspapers look this morning?
For what its worth, The Mirror has the bank story but not the Higgs, the I and the Independent have the Higgs and the banks, the Guardian has just the Higgs, the Times has both. The Telegraph has a small story about the banks and a caption about the Higgs. Full lot
Five papers mention (not even have text, but mention) the Higgs, five have the Bob Diamond story. Exactly the same number who have… a photo of Kate Middleton at the tennis.
Remember this the next time journalists and editors cry out that what they do is present what is happening in the world.