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Cyprus bail out - ‘If it bleeds.... it leads’

Look no further than the recent raft of over- heated press prose that painted a dismal and somewhat negative picture postcard image of Cyprus.
It’s a sad fact of life that most media today from news to advertising, rely on spectacle, simplification, and gross exaggeration in order to grab and hold audiences.

Look no further than the recent raft of over- heated press prose that painted a dismal and somewhat negative picture postcard image of Cyprus.

An island bankrupt, begging for bail outs, on the edge of insurrection, panic buying of food, no money available from ATM machines, flights arriving empty of tourists too afraid to set foot on what was once a holiday paradise.

For 18 years having lived and worked as a freelance journalist on this highly civilised and beautiful island the recent reports in the media were totally unrecognisable to me, that’s because news producers will always advocate the principle:-  ‘If it bleeds.... it leads,’ so the greater the disaster, the more exciting the story, the greater the potential audience.

George Georgiou owner of the local tavern summed it up in typical simplistic terms- ‘I know my life is a dam sight better here than in most countries, I also make the very best souvla in town, and I am proud to be able to share my food with visitors, I don’t see that ever changing just because the government miscalculated and we ended up broke. I watched all the television and newspaper reports from abroad and it made me angry as its stupid stuff fired by people who have flown in with no idea of the culture of the people nor of the huge sacrifices we have already made over the years, we know more than most about fear and worry about the future so we have loads of experience of trying to be that bird that rises from the Phoenix .. We the Cypriots will always learn to fly again’  

The mass media are an excellent breeding ground for moral/social panics, and in order to generate excitement and capture larger audiences they often jump the gun or stretch the truth on the size and extent of the problems they report.

Cyprus may be bruised but certainly not beaten, we have plenty of food, the ATM machines work, tourists are still flying in to enjoy holidays in high quality hotels, service is with a smile, the beaches are still here the sun is shining and Cypriots are not rioting in street. There is however a riot of colour as the Almond trees bloom, no obvious scent of depression only the aroma of orange blossom.

No one is stupid enough to deny we are all in for some long hard times ahead but, we are also keenly aware of how tourism is the one thing that can help us re build our bruised economy. Cyprus has been through a great deal over the past fifty years but it’s the indomitable spirit of its people that will see us through the next fifty.

Jill Campbell Mackay
Jill works as a journalist, editor, blogger, is a published author, and experienced travel writer, she also has a background in Public relations and marketing and ran the Glasgow 1990 press and public relations office for the cities year long tenure as Cultural Capital of Europe.  A commissioning editor for Pan Book’s publishing company London, experienced working in UK national television (ITV) radio, also scripting for commercial films. Employed as a writer/editor for British Airways publications, also worked full time with Andrew Lloyd Webbers Really useful Group. Jill has a Batchelor of Arts Hons degree from Dundee University. 

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