Politics.co.uk Blog

Friday, 15 October 2010

Health and safety, art and perfect timing

Sometimes the world does it for you.

It's pretty hard to define the precise skills journalists have. Many people would gleefuly insist we have none. If we do, one of them is discerning narrative. Finding that commons thread in a set of stories that can keep in running or associate it with issues readers care about.

Lord Young's health and safety review today came out at 9.30. It was about an hour later the Tate Modern closed off the sunflower seed exhibition by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. You don;t really need any skills to put those together, even if - frankly - the review probably won't stop organisations like the Tate pulling back to avoid lawsuits. Viewers would now be forced to look at it from a bridge, and not be able to walk on it as intended for fear of inhaling ceramic dust.

It's a sad move. The exhibit is beautiful and its artistic impact relied on the viewer seeing it from afar and then being able to examine its intricate, detailed beauty. Regardless of the ins and outs, we were able to quickly change the story to reflect the timing. That got us picked up all over the web. Sometimes the world just does it for you, and there no need to use those skills. If indeed we have them.

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