Not in the Media


The movers and shakers of the media live by the word and the image: therefore they attend only to those with a rich word stock or some excited footage. Discuss.


The Lad is in one of his periodic bouts of surly introspection about how the world owes engineering, if not the continuous, close attention that his ego suggests, at least more frequently a proper look.

Today – a random day – triggered this when he noticed some randomly spaced topics in the press.

Eight hundred or so smartly written words are given over to a theatre director and an actor performing a version of Macbeth single handed in Gdansk, Poland. It spoke of how they both got there, the problems of the rehearsals, the highly strung performances and, finally the relief when it was all over. Deeply realistic, technical, and actorly detail there was on the struggles of the actor. The worries of the director radiated from every word.

One thousand words and five full colour images [two being full page] tell us about  a music radio station broadcasting a wide variety of pop and jazz globally from the UK. The pivot of the article is their disc jockey. Oh yes, by the way, the DJ is young ,female with long blonde hair of course.

A review noted that a book had been published of a lost novel by Jack Kerouac, “The Sea is my Brother”. He, at the age of 20, had sailed with the American merchant navy for all of three months. Hallo? The insubstantiality of this miniscule scrap of experience bearing the weight of the title and plot of a first novel claiming realism was accepted without comment.

Trying to avoid being too patronising or obnoxious, these are solemn delineations of the fine detail of transitory matters. The Lad wants to know how we get frequency of media attention devoted to the less transitory engineering.

An easy answer is that the topic is not ‘interesting’ or that such a question “tells us more about the questioner than about the world”. Too slick: we need a more thoughtful answer. It’s not “Culture” you say? But it is or at least should be when the machines and their makers shape our world or fill our field of view in some places or modify our behaviour. Another easy answer is ‘It’s boring.’ Or ‘It’s not interesting.’ This may well be true but why is it not interesting or boring? It needs to be more than an answer of better writing: provide constructive detail.

Real engineers have struggles and triumphs. They are of every technical, personal and gender stripe: there are chemical, civil, mechanical, electrical, stress and production engineers There is an end-product or sometimes a dramatic failure: a true, rich textured creation to end on.

Hell! Is it back to the rich verbosity and the exciting or excited footage?

Engineering is one of the three drivers in the advancement of the human race. This blog aims to give to career seekers and also to the general public a taste of how this might be so. They are not well served by the current media. It is an engineer posting: not a ‘scientist’. It describes real professional engineering as it is in the real world usually in the present and occasionally as it was in the recent past.

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