Car reversed over journalist

(Updated to reflect ABC Fail)

From the Newcastle Herald and the SMH – The Article

All Australian media continues the improper use of passive voice and indirection to describe the action of drivers involved in crashes. Not only is it poor English, it is misrepresenting the facts.

Consider this latest example today:

reversedAs far as I am aware there are no driverless cars operating in NSW. It has also been a very long time since cars randomly reversed.

As such to be accurate the lede should have read

“A group of people have lifted a car to free a woman trapped underneath after [it was] reversed into a cafe.”

The car did not reverse itself, it was reversed by the driver. The driver was the active participant and the car was the object the driver acted upon.

Further in the article the staff journalist wrote:

Witnesses said the car reversed into a cafe on Perkins Street after crashing into a taxi, injuring a woman and her baby

Again the car is an inanimate object it needed an actor to cause it to act. The text should  have read:

Witnesses said the car ]was] reversed into a cafe on Perkins Street after [it was] crashed into a taxi, injuring a woman and her baby

This change may seem minor but changes the whole meaning of the paragraph.At this point the Newcastle Herald is stating as a matter of permanent record that the driver had no hand in the assault that occurred after the driver had just collided with a taxi.

If we then follow the public campaign to replace the word accident with crash to clarify the text further we need to change the opening paragraphs.

MEMBERS of the public have lifted a car to free a woman trapped underneath after an accident in Perkins Street, Newcastle, on Friday.

A mother and her baby were injured in the accident shortly after midday.

Taken together the minor changes paint a much clearer picture of the incident based on the witnesses reports. To really hammer home the point I have replaced references to the victim with the term journalist.

[Journalist] trapped under car in Perkins Street

MEMBERS of the public have lifted a car to free a [journalist] trapped underneath after a [crash] in Perkins Street, Newcastle, on Friday.

A [journalist] and her baby were injured in the [crash] shortly after midday.

Witnesses said a car [was] reversed into a cafe after [it was] crashed into a taxi.

The [journalist] was trapped under the car and more than a dozen people lifted the car to free her.

Witness Bennett Joy said he heard two loud bangs and then screams.

“Obviously the first bang was the car hitting the taxi and the second hitting the wall,” Mr Joy said.

“You couldn’t see [the mother] at all and the father was screaming ‘that’s my baby, that’s my wife’.”

A man presumed to be the [journalist]’s partner started to scream, “She’s under there.”

“Someone said get a [car] jack and someone else just said lets lift it.

“We all just got together and lifted it to get her out.”

“They lifted it up like it was nothing,” said Joy.

“It took them about 20 seconds to release her.”

Emergency services crews are on the scene.


Even the ABC is doing it wrong.

With the same style changes applied.

[Journalist] and baby injured after car ploughs into Newcastle cafe

A crowd of people have freed a [journalist] from underneath a car after it [was] crashed into her and her baby at a cafe in Newcastle, north of Sydney.

A group of bystanders lifted the car off the [journalist] before she and her six-month-old baby were treated by paramedics and taken to John Hunter Hospital, where the woman is in a serious condition.

The car [was crashed] into the Vinyl Cafe on the busy Perkins Street shopping strip just before 12:30pm (AEDT).

Witnesses said the car [was] reversed out of a parking space into the cafe, hitting a parked taxi before running down the [journalist], who was carrying her child.

The owner of a neighbouring pub, Mark Chegwidden, said he helped to pull the [journalist] out from under the car.

“We called for a jack but then we all came to the determination that it would be quicker and a lot faster that if we all lifted up the vehicle, and then we got about 15 people in the community to lift up the vehicle,” Mr Chegwidden said.

“Then we just lifted it up and then one brave man hopped underneath and pulled her out.

“He got himself pretty bloodied from it, but we got her out fine and the baby was already out before we lifted the vehicle, which was great.”

Mr Chegwidden said the [journalist] and baby were lucky the car hit a taxi before running into them.

“The baby had a scratches all over its head and there was a fair bit of blood all over its head, and the mother was bruised and scratched all over,” he said.

“She wasn’t saying much, she was just lying on her back relieved that she was out from under the car and her baby was alright.

“She was in shock.

“This is out of a movie, but it could have been far worse things that happened so we’re just glad about that.”

Police said the driver of the car was not injured and was undergoing mandatory drug and alcohol testing.



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