Galway Advertiser 2004/2004_08_12/GA_1208_E1_010.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 2004/2004_08_12/GA_1208_E1_010.pdf

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10 N E W S

Galway Advertiser

August 12 2004 Major funds for Galway

Keeping the focus, finding the context
Shortly after he had settled in the small town of Cavendish, Vermount, on the east coast of the United States, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist and historian of the defunct Soviet Union's notorious prison camps or `gulags, was invited to deliver the commencement address to the 1978 graduation class at Harvard University. On June 8 he stood at the podium and proceeded to launch a fierce attack on the values of the West. And one of the things for which he reserved his greatest scorn was journalism. "The press," he declared, "enjoys the widest freedom. But what sort of use does it make of this freedom? How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgements are expressed every day, confusing readers without any verification? The press can both stimulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus we may see terrorists made heroes ... or we may witness shameless intrusion into the privacy of wellknown people under the slogan: 'everyone is entitled to know everything.' But people also have the right ... not to [be] stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk ... Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century, and more than anywhere else is this disease reflected in the press." Solzhenitsyn's words caused wide-spread consternation. Twenty-five years later, however, his observations seem almost commonplace. Whether you take the whole phenomenon of the late Diana, Princess of Wales; the matrimonial foibles of David Beckham and Sven Erikkson; the blur between what's real and what's fantasy in the world of the `soaps'; the single-paragraph editorials, simplistic, jingoistic, and shallow, in a typical tabloid newspaper, and the grotesquely short attention span of even the quality newspapers, Solzhenitsyn's withering analysis seems now prophetic rather than cranky. I was reminded of this by the sudden rise to front-page status of the crisis in Dafur, following almost a year in which Iraq garnered by far the greatest number of column inches. I couldn't help feeling that Iraq was no longer deemed `sexy'. Sure, whenever a particularly large bomb exploded in Baghdad it made the front page. But increasingly stories on Iraq are relegated to the inside pages, while stories and - more crucially - images of what's happening in Darfur have taken precedence. And that reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called "Compassion Fatigue: How The Media Sell Disease, Famine, War, and Death", by Susan D Moeller. Moeller's argument goes like this: International news stories vie for the public's attention: starving children in Ethiopia, epidemics in Zaire, terrorism and suicide bombing in the Middle East, and ethnic cleansing and genocide in Eastern Europe and Africa. The gaunt child or refugee of course provokes pity, but the sheer number of crises and the violent imagery that accompanies them dull the senses. Eventually the pictures from the old famine begin to run together with the pictures from the new one. The effects of one bomb blur into the next one. We've seen enough photos of murdered Iraqis or US soldiers; let's given `em starving Africans instead. Issues of life and death are reduced to a grotesque kind of `infotainment'. Soon, we look but don't see. We read a couple of paragraphs and skip the rest. Moeller contends that compassion fatigue is in fact media induced. Modern news reporting: has fallen into a rut and it is the unfailing predictability of the coverage given to foreign crises and catastrophes - rather than the nature of the events themselves - which encourages the public to turn the page or change the channel. Compassion fatigue is not, in other words, "an unavoidable consequence of covering the news. It is, however, an unavoidable consequence of the way the news is now covered." Moeller offers several practical solutions for overcoming compassion fatigue. Instead of formula coverage, the media should take the time required to add depth to the context. Without foreknowledge of potential problems--as in the humanitarian mission to Somalia--no one is prepared when unexpected things happen. Moeller also warns against simplifying a story by using handy but often lazy connections. For example, by comparing involvement in Yugoslavia or Iraq to involvement in Vietnam, the situation is reduced to whether or not to get involved in a quagmire. Depth is lost; the focus is narrowed, and context and complexity disappear. Certain forms of the media remind me of the Eye of Sauron in Lord of the Rings. Whatever Sauron's eye is focused on is lit with a ghastly red beam of light, and everything else falls into darkness. But, as anyone who's seen the films knows, matters of life and death carry on, whether the Eye of Sauron deigns to notice them or not.

environmental groups
BY KERNAN ANDREWS Eleven projects in Galway city and county have received a total of 20,000 for their promotion of environmental awareness, recycling, and green issues. The grants are allocated under the Local Agenda 21 Partnership Fund 2004, which promotes sustainable development by assisting local awareness projects carried out by community groups, schools, and environmental NGOs. Grants for the Galway County Council area include 4,000 for the Grassroots Environmental Education Project's education in schools programme and 1,936 for the Aster Environmental Group for identifying ways of dealing with hazardous waste at local level. The IPCC's composting workshop will get 1,257 while Wendy Hayes, who developed calendars with Galway schools, will get 885. A variety of projects in the Galway City Council area have also received funds. The Grassroots Environmental Education Project's secondary schools programme will receive 2,500, Flock Dance Co will receive 2,500 for its performances on the theme of sustainability, Treedimensional will get 500 to make and produce a video and DVD, Solas Arts Collective will get 2,298 for its environmental awareness education workshops, Magician Marvin will get 500 for his environmental awareness shows for schools, Colours Street Theatre will get 2,450 for promoting good waste management practice, the Galway Cycling Campaign will get 1,000 for the cycling time signs it has erected. The Minister for Labour Affairs Frank Fahey has welcomed the grants. "I am delighted to see such investment in Galway's local projects," he said. "The funding is a recognition of the excellent work being carried out throughout Galway city and county."

Connemara Pony Show attracts record entries for week long festival out west
More than 1,000 overseas visitors are expected to join hundreds of Irish competitors, exhibitors,

Clarin Boutique

Final Reductions Massive Stock Clearance Sale
To make way for Autumn/Winter range

and pony enthusiasts at the annual Connemara Pony Show at the Showgrounds in Clifden next Thursday August 19. This year's show is the focus of a week long activity filled festival to celebrate 80 years of the famous Connemara Pony Show. According to Dermot Power, president of the Connemara Pony Breeders Society, the upcoming show sees one of the highest number of entries on record. "Over 500 entries to date demonstrate the huge interest in and recognition of the Connemara pony. It is most gratifying for the society and is an acknowledgement of the work undertaken towards the awareness, preservation, and improvement of the breed," he said. New classes incorporated into this year's line-up include the

Progeny, Walk-Trot classes, and the splitting of the young riders class into 16-18 year and 19 year plus age groups. The most spectacular event is the Progeny Class with more than 75 top quality ponies including mares showing in the same ring at the same time. Loose jumping, where ponies jump fences without a rider, will also feature as a new event. More than 200 entries have been received for the home crafts, local produce, baked goods, and flower sections. Coordinated by Clifden ICA and the Connemara Garden Club, the standard is set to reach an all-time high. The popular and entertaining dog show covering all breeds both pedigree and nonpedigree is expected to be a huge hit as usual. The Pony Show on August 19 is central to a week-long programme of events. A special 2004

seminar on the Heritage of the Connemara pony, organised in co-operation with Galway Co Council is planned for Tuesday August 17 as well as a visit to the society's herd in Connemara National Park. On Wednesday August 18 an international conference will be held enabling pony societies and representatives from around the world to meet, socialise, and to discuss breeding policy. On Friday August 20 overseas and local buyers can choose from more than 250 entries for the Connemara pony sales. Padraig Heanue, manager of Clifden Marts and a member of the Connemara Pony Breeder's Society, is responsible for the organisation of the sales and says this day-long event is expected to record the biggest sales ever and offers the best opportunity to acquire a quality Connemara pony.

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