12 June 2005

Some groups are not worth antagonising

Ouch! I hope the editor of the Sunday Times Travel section doesn't find himself/herself 'reaping the whirlwind' when they open their in-tray tomorrow.

As a travel editor, it's a lesson I learned the hard way many years ago. You can push at the envelope of journalistic prudence in pretty well any direction you like, but there are two groups in particular that you really don't want to upset: the Greek Cypriots (never feature northern Cyprus unless you have to, and never call it 'Turkish Cyprus') and animal lovers.

The lead picture on today's 'Directions' page in the travel section is a photo of a pretty ugly-looking dog (a pug?) on a leash getting out of a New York cab and the paragraph underneath reads as follows...

This one survived his flight to New York, but new figures suggest that one in every 100 flying Fidos fails to make it alive. A source from one American carrier said: 'Technical delays are the real killer. We pulled a pooch from its box that had been stuck on the tarmac in a blizzard at Vancouver - it was just a furry lollipop.' Container crushes and slow-roasting in hot loading areas are other hazards. Step forward Virgin Atlantic, which has never had a fatality in the two years it has been carrying pets. In its new Flying Paws scheme, pets are accompanied on board and even get T-shirts. Too late for the lollipop, though.
I fear the author may find the Sunday Times has some readers who will consider that there is a little too much levity in the treatment of this story, and who don't share his/her sense of humour!







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