My 2023 Journalism Wish List
I have one simple request
Happy 2023, everyone! Here’s to a better year than last and here’s to a return to some degree of rationality.
Sipping my first coffee of the New Year, I was browsing the BBC and came across this piece: Happisburgh: The Norfolk village crumbling into the sea.
As I read about one village’s experience with the process of land erosion as old as Earth, I came across this passage about one woman whose home seems destined to fall into the sea.
During the last 20 years, 34 homes have crumbled into the water in Happisburgh because of coastal erosion. Nicola Bayless thinks her home could be the next. She says she is devastated that she might have just spent her last Christmas there.
Along with East Riding in Yorkshire, Happisburgh and other parts of the north Norfolk coast have the highest number of properties at risk from coastal erosion in England.
"I'm angry and I'm heartbroken," Nicola says. "My children have grown up here, my husband died here and my parents lived here before they died.
"I'm so sad that things have come to this," the 47-year-old nurse says.
When Nicola, who also works as fitness instructor, moved to Beach Road 18 years ago, her three-bedroom semi was in the middle of the street.
But punishing weather conditions linked to climate change have eroded so much of the village's soft sandy rock that her house is now the last one before the cliff edge.
There are even helpful photographs showing the passage of time.
The attentive reader may wonder how this article about one tiny town’s experience of coastal erosion could be the inspiration for something as grandiose and sweeping as my one New Year’s wish. Well, at least so far as journalism goes.
It was the pointless - and baseless - link to “climate change” that set me off. Journalists used to report facts. Sure, some bias would creep into reporting, but I am old enough to remember when it was common knowledge amongst the literate population that journalism stuck to Who, What, When and Where. And if there was little room for doubt, they could add Why to their reportage.
Charlie Jones just chucks in as a given “fact” that “climate change” is to blame for this village’s coastal erosion woes. Which is odd because he himself adds some helpful geological facts to the story a bit further on:
Happisburgh, home to about 1,100 people, is so susceptible to erosion because the cliffs are made from boulder clay which slumps when wet. The narrow beaches give less protection against the powerful waves, which increase in energy as they travel across the North Sea.
Authorities tried erecting wooden and concrete defences, but they fell into disrepair as the cost of maintaining them rose.
North Norfolk District Council used £3.2m to purchase the most at-risk homes for a reduced price under the Pathfinder Project in 2011, helping some people move further inland.
The cliffs underneath Happisburgh have been composed of “boulder clay which slumps when wet,” so presumably this process of erosion has been going on for thousands of years.
The people losing their homes are losing their homes whether or not Mr Jones declares “climate change” to be at fault. Land erosion at the interface of rivers and oceans has gone on for millennia; Climate Religionists tell us the burning of coal at the start of the Industrial Revolution is when global cooling, er, global warming, er, climate change began.
Why not just report the fact of the eroding cliffs? Unless Mr Jones has consulted with earth scientists and geologists to demonstrate there was never any coast erosion under Happisburgh prior to the 1850s, he has no basis to cry “climate change!” in relation to this one coastal erosion event.
So that is my 2023 Journalism Wish, which I’d love to become the 2023 Journalism Resolution of journalists. To all the journalists out there, a weary public tired of your propaganda would like you to report the facts without a constant sop to trendy Leftist secular religious beliefs.
Who’s with me?
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