Friday, 10 October 2008

Murderous dogs

Monday was interesting - meeting a woman who was savaged by two pit bulls whilst pushing her 19 month old son home in his buggy. The dogs' owner pulled them off her and then just walked off. He threatened the neighbours who followed him and as far as I'm aware still hasn't been caught. It was lead story on London Tonight after it appeared in the (London) Evening Standard newspaper's first edition.

A couple of the national TV channels picked it up the next day. The woman's husband only contacted the Standard when it became patently apparent the police couldn't give a monkeys.

The woman had deep wounds, she could describe the dogs' owner, the neighbours could give descriptions of him and followed him some distance, but the Met said because no one witnessed the actual attack, they were reluctant to open an investigation. They didn't even inspect the crime scene.

Of course as soon as it got in the paper the police were all over it, assigning the couple a new case officer and promising to get results, but, honestly...

This woman was the victim of a very serious attack and the dogs' owner knew that he could just walk calmly away because he wouldn't be investigated.

I was quite pleased with the piece - we tried something different with the piece to camera which worked, I ordered a treated top, which the editor did before I got back, and that worked, and we had access to the hospital and the lady herself who was willing to be interviewed in the hope the bastard who allowed the attack to happen gets caught. The lady in question is a concert pianist so we also got some good quality video of her performing, which helped.

Tuesday was another stab at the Ark Academy being built at Wembley Park. Basically the council are getting millions from the government to build this privately-run state school and are being accused of running roughshod over the planning process to get it. There's a desperate need for school places in Brent, and this is effectively a free school, hence their determination to make sure it happens.

They've been tackled every step of the way by a small group of agitators who have a problem with the private sector running state schools and who have successfully put lots of flies in the ointment for the council. The council and the school are slagging off the agitators as unrepresentative, and maybe they are, but because the proper procedures don't seem to have been followed (usual farcical "consultation" process etc), there are a lot of things that haven't been addressed, including the traffic congestion that is going to build up along an already busy road, the broken promises given to all the businesses on the site - including a children's nursery that was effectively forced out of business by the appalling way in which the council treated it.

The council's dismissal of the agitators as irrelevant doesn't excuse their shoddy treatment of others. The local MP thinks its a wholly inappropriate site too.


  1. Just of out interest, what's a treated top?

  2. It is a sequence of treated pictures (ie altered in a way to make them more visually arresting) that goes at the top (beginning) of the package.

    It's often used if the pictures you have aren't that great. It gives the eye a new interesting image to digest as the ear adjusts to the change of voice and (hopefully) the script hooks you into the story.

    In this case we didn't have any footage of the dogs that carried out the attack, so I asked the desk to get some library footage of some vicious dogs, colourise it, cut it tight and echo up the sound. I thought it made structural sense to put that at the top of the piece as a way of grabbing attention with the sheer noise and as a way of making it clear exactly what we were talking about. Vicious angry nasty dogs.