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Let me start by offering my condolences to Peter Kurmann’s family. Mr Kurmann was a father, husband, son and sibling in his family. I am sure he was many other things to his friends and his community.

For those of you that are unaware; Mr Kurmann died as the result of an apparent shark attack accident on March 31, 2012 at Stratham Beach south of Perth, Western Australia.

Mr Kurmann is the unfortunate nucleus of the latest media sensationalism. It’s not a new one, it is the same old attention seeking, scaremongering antic that goes on every time there is an incident with a shark.

I regularly scan Google News for headlines I may be interested in. The top story is usually accompanied by an array of photos and links to the various news reporters websites. This time was no exception. When I first noticed the breaking story there were two photos of sharks and one of Mr Kurmann. As the rest of the media outlets caught on the number of lead in photos increased. The proportion of shark photos increased and the style of shot became more dramatic.

These dramatic images were for only one reason;
To terrify the public.

Shark Sensationalism
(Click on image for larger screenshot)

I think the ultimate award for sensationalism AND Bad Form goes to Adelaide Now… With their heading “Terror as shark takes man” and the appalling collage of images that they used at the head of their article.

Adelaide Now… story header image collage
(Click on image for full insitu screenshot)

Thumbs DownAdelaide Now…(@adelaidenow), its Editors as well as Yasmine Phillips, Ashlee Mullany and what appears to be Joe Spagnolo need to rethink their policy on the use of such a distasteful graphic. I for one feel there should be an apology posted by this website, its Editors and the staff involved.


  1. Benjamin Lepre said:
    2 April 3:22 pm

    I think mention should also go to the incorrect use of the term “shark attack”. Before the block buster movie “Jaws” hit the screens, death as a result of a shark encounter was formally reported as a “Shark Accident”. Also as a result of the movie is the use of the term “rogue shark”. All of these ideas, that there are “rogue” sharks that “attack” people is absolute nonsense and such sensationalism used by these “so-called” journalists should be eradicated immediately. All this does is create fear amongst the wider community and wrongfully sparks action to cull sharks. This wouldn’t be the case if journalists did their job properly.

  2. The Kritic said:
    2 April 4:08 pm

    Good points Ben. You’ll notice I have updated my blog to show a strike-through on the word ‘attack’ and replaced it with ‘accident’. A photo of a shark for the story is one thing but to have it in the poses they have presented is uncalled for, especially in the Adelaide Now collage. As for your point on journalists; unfortunately these days most lack the objectivity for good journalism often deviating towards commentary.