"World's Worst" ... Tattoo Reporting
This morning, I awoke to learn that the photo of me above was featured in the UK's less-than-esteemed tabloid the Daily Mail, or rather, the Daily Fail, as it is often referred to. The photo appeared in yet another ridiculous article that seemed to be culled together from social media snippets rather than any insightful research and reporting. But again, it's the Daily Fail, and not much is to be expected. Under my photo, which was taken by a Reuters reporter at the London convention about 8 years ago, is the caption: "Fortunately most women don't go as far as having a tattoo 'sleeve' covering their whole arm." Thank heavens!
I laughed it off and wasn't even going to give it a second thought (or link) until I learned that our friend Dr. Gemma Angel of the wonderful Life&6months blog was quoted for the article without even being contacted by the reporter. Angry at the way the media frames the art form, I'm now inspired to start a reporter list of shame. As most of these articles are written under headlines like "World's Worst Tattoos," here's the "World's Worst...Tattoo Reporting."
So, congratulations, Eleanor Hardning! You're our first inductee to the list. [Of course, "Eleanor Harding" can be a pseudonym as pointed out by Dr. Matt Lodder on Twitter.]
Here is Eleanor's Daily Fail article linked through Donotlink.com, so by clicking it, it won't improve the search engine position.
Eleanor starts off with the overused and tired cliche about tattoos "once confined to the burly arms of sailors and criminals..." a line that Dr. Matt Lodder has repeatedly pointed out has been used since the 1870s. In fact, for a great read, click "People always say the same thing about tattoos" in which Matt chats with the BBC about tattoo cliches.
The Daily Fail article then seems to cut and paste quotes from artists and experts like Gemma, and it is unclear what was, if any, the original reporting for this piece. And of course, it cites the usual less-than-scientific stats in which some people are asked about their tattoos and that seems to represent the tattoo wearing population of the country.
Oh, and then there are the photos with the cheeky captions. Learn from my lesson and ensure that any photo releases you sign are narrowly tailored and do not allow to be banked upon in stock photography pools. [Although, I don't even recall signing any release for this photo.]
Overall, it appears that the point of the article was to show that more "middle class" people have tattoos. ["The unimpeachable middle-classes!" as Stephen M. joked on Facebook.] We know, however, that the actual point of publishing such articles is to use tattooing to grab more attention to the tabloid (and thereby, more ad dollars). Now, I'll give them the attention they want -- via Donotlink -- and call out the cliches and cheap reporting that mar the discussion of the art we love.