Newspaper sensationalism of the sinking


Haven't posted in awhile, been slightly busy. I have a recreation paper... The only thing i really found that seemed like pure imagination, was that it states that some of the crew were most definitely killed instantly due to the large amounts of ice that fell on the bow. I thought that was quite silly.
 
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>>I thought that was quite silly.<<

At the time, it would have had a ring of credibility to it. Certainly one can be sent to his/her "reward" by having an avalanche of ice fall on top of them. The problem of course is reality telling a very different story. If anybody was killed this way, nobody on the Titanic noticed it.
 
Ha ha yeah. I can see that. But I just thought that it was silly, based on what we know now. Also, I am afraid that I am not familiar with the "Rigel the dog" story. I would love to hear it if anyone would like to tell me
happy.gif

Thanks everyone.
Kendra
 

Dave Gittins

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According to Jonas Briggs, a crewman on Carpathia, Rigel was a big Newfoundland dog owned by William Murdoch. He ended up in the water and drew Captain Rostron's attention to a lifeboat by barking loudly. Rigel was picked up and cared for on Carpathia.

Problem! Murdoch didn't have a dog on board and Jonas Briggs was not on Carpathia. He was a liar, like some others. He made his tale sound more likely by making Rigel a Newfoundland dog. These very large dogs really can swim in very cold water and they really do rescue people on occasions.
 
Thanks Dave! Learn something new every day! lol Even now there is so much false information in the news. It's just hard to tell sometimes. do love all of the information you can find on this site. Everyone is so helpful. Give yourselves a pat on the back!
Thanks again,
Kendra
 

Arun Vajpey

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In those days competition among newspapers was so cutthroat that just about every survivor account was embellished and sensationalized in order to add additional "Extras" that made the paper sell. Also verification was time-consuming and more difficult. Some male survivors suffering from guilt might have made their own survival sound more harrowing and fortuitous than it really was but then the reports would have further sensationalized it. Impossible and improbable claims like "swimming almost naked for hours", "people fought, clawed and bit each other on the decks to get places in lifeboats" "steerage passengers were locked below decks to die like trapped rats" etc were clearly products of dirty yellow journalism. Equally improbable were claims at the other end of the spectrum like everyone dressed in their Sunday best (even though it was Monday by then) and all but standing to attention while the ship went down majestically with lights blazing and band playing.

What I sometimes wonder is how much published claims made by a survivor to reporters affected their later statements if they were called in to testify and one or both official inquiries.
 

Kyle Naber

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What I sometimes wonder is how much published claims made by a survivor to reporters affected their later statements if they were called in to testify and one or both official inquiries.

Like if the survivor felt the need to match what a reporter wrote to seem more credible?
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Like if the survivor felt the need to match what a reporter wrote to seem more credible?
Exactly. Especially if the survivor in question happened to be a member of the crew.

There are also offshoots of this issue. The likes of Ismay, Lightoller, Boxhall, Fleet and Hichens would have known while they were still on board the Carpathia that they would be questioned early and in detail. They would also had some idea of the sort of questions that would be put to them and so would have tried to be prepared. So, even though the American Inquiry started on the day after the Carpathia's arrival, most survivors would have had exposure to the teeming reporters hungry for a story. Fleet and Peuchen, the latter the very first passenger to testify, were not called in till the 4th day.

Many passengers and 'ordinary' crew members would have already spoken to the press by the time those who were selected to testify were called in. It is likely that may of them would have already embellished their experiences for various reasons when they talked to the press, who in turn would have sensationalized the stories even further wherever possible. An added incentive would have been competition; if Paper A had published a particularly juicy account of their interview with Joe Bloggs, Paper B would feel the need to at least try and match the story they got from Jane Doe. If Joe Bloggs and/or Jane Doe were then called in to testify, there would be an inclination to at least stay close to what was already published about their experiences - otherwise, there would be the risk of losing credibility.

The survivors on board could - and probably did - feed off each others' experiences while on board the Carpathia and embellishment rather than understatement is usually the outcome of such discussions.
 
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Kyle Naber

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The press, without a doubt, did sensationalize stories to sell more papers. I think there definitely were comparisons and story-tellings amongst survivors on Carpathia and even in the lifeboats. Ken Marschall spoke privately with Ruth Becker about the breakup and he said that she remembered the conversations in her boat (roughly): “did you see that? The ship broke in two! One part went this way and the other went that way.” This probably was minutes after the stern sank.
 
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Kyle Naber

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The press, without a doubt, did sensationalize stories to sell more papers. I think there definitely were comparisons and story-tellings amongst survivors on Carpathia and even in the lifeboats. Ken Marschall spoke privately with Ruth Becker about the breakup and he said that she remembered the conversations in her boat (roughly): “did you see that? The ship broke in two! One part went this way and the other went that way.” This probably was minutes after the stern sank.

(58:25 is where he mentions this conversation)
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I think there definitely were comparisons and story-tellings amongst survivors on Carpathia and even in the lifeboats.
Agreed and I believe that the phenomenon would have been more prevalent and significant with surviving crew. With very few exceptions (like Harry Noss' nephew) the surviving crew did not lose family members in the sinking. Yes, many lost close colleagues and even friends but that would not have been the same as losing husbands, parents, children (Rhoda Abbot) and other close relatives like many passenger survivors did. My long experience in the medical field where dealing with death and the need to counsel 'loved ones' afterwards had taught me that irrespective of the culture involved, there is still that additional sadness built in when a close family member passes on.

That above and the fact that they were crew members in the first place would have made them share their experiences in a more clinical manner after the disaster.

By the way Kyle, I am unable to view the video that you sent. Apparently, it has Fox content and they have blocked it from being viewed in "my country". I take it they mean India where I am now but in a few months I'll be back in the UK and might be able to see it then.
 

Kyle Naber

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By the way Kyle, I am unable to view the video that you sent. Apparently, it has Fox content and they have blocked it from being viewed in "my country". I take it they mean India where I am now but in a few months I'll be back in the UK and might be able to see it then.

Its from the 2012 Final Word documentary if you’re familiar with it.
 

Seumas

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Agreed and I believe that the phenomenon would have been more prevalent and significant with surviving crew. With very few exceptions (like Harry Noss' nephew) the surviving crew did not lose family members in the sinking. Yes, many lost close colleagues and even friends but that would not have been the same as losing husbands, parents, children (Rhoda Abbot) and other close relatives like many passenger survivors did. My long experience in the medical field where dealing with death and the need to counsel 'loved ones' afterwards had taught me that irrespective of the culture involved, there is still that additional sadness built in when a close family member passes on.
There was a considerable number of the crew who were related by birth or marriage to one another.


Quite a few people lost brothers, cousins, in-laws that night.

It goes to show that Wynn Craig Wade's claim in the "Death of a Dream" documentary that "a lot of the crew didn't know each other" is untrue.
 
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There was a considerable number of the crew who were related by birth or marriage to one another.


Quite a few people lost brothers, cousins, in-laws that night.

It goes to show that Wynn Craig Wade's claim in the "Death of a Dream" documentary that "a lot of the crew didn't know each other" is untrue.
Well if the crew didn't know each other their wives and family probably knew each other. Southampton got hit hard by Titanic.
titanic.jpg
 
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Seumas

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Well if the crew didn't know each other their wives and family probably knew each other. Southampton got hit hard by Titanic.
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Thanks for posting that Steven. That is a powerful example of how many of the crew did in fact know one another before the voyage. The late Mr Wade's claim holds no water at all.

Even before the more detailed research was made in this century, it should have been clear to anyone from information on the Particulars of Agreement that many of the Titanic's crew lived in close proximity to one another whilst dozens had recently served on the Olympic and others ships such as Oceanic and Teutonic.

It doesn't mean that they were a close knit group but it does mean that many would have recognized faces and known others by name from experience.

Liverpool was hard hit too. A lot of the crew were Liverpudlian's who had moved south with their families as the WSL expanded its services from Southampton.
 
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Thanks for posting that Steven. That is a powerful example of how many of the crew did in fact know one another before the voyage. The late Mr Wade's claim holds no water at all.

Even before the more detailed research was made in this century, it should have been clear to anyone from information on the Particulars of Agreement that many of the Titanic's crew lived in close proximity to one another whilst dozens had recently served on the Olympic and others ships such as Oceanic and Teutonic.

It doesn't mean that they were a close knit group but it does mean that many would have recognized faces and known others by name from experience.

Liverpool was hard hit too. A lot of the crew were Liverpudlian's who had moved south with their families as the WSL expanded its services from Southampton.
Yes. I posted in another thread that I read where one of the area's was known as "Widows Row" or something like that because of the concentration of Titanic victims that lived there. Besides the human tragedy the economic impact on the families was hard because they didn't have many safety nets for people once they lost their household incomes. Charity mostly I suspect got them thru it but I could be wrong about that. Whatever they did get probably didn't go very far.
 
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Seumas

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Yes. I posted in another thread that I read where one of the area's was known as "Widows Row" or something like that because of the concentration of Titanic victims that lived there. Besides the human tragedy the economic impact on the families was hard because they didn't have many safety nets for people once they lost their household incomes. Charity mostly I suspect got them thru it but I could be wrong about that. Whatever they did get probably didn't go very far.
Charity was indeed what they had to resort to. No welfare state in those days.

I'm not 100% sure about this but I do seem to recall reading that some next of kin were receiving money from the disaster fund as late as the thirties.

The widow of James Kieran (the chief third class steward) started working as a stewardess with the WSL to support her three children after her husband's death.

One lesser known and rather unusual effect on one "Titanic family" was that of steward H. P. Hill's daughters.

Several years prior to his death in the disaster, Hill abandoned his family. After his death, two of his daughters were placed in the well regarded Royal Masonic School for Girls. Hill was a Freemason and the fraternity evidently took an interest in his family for some reason.
 

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