UPDATED 06/01/12 – MORE COMMENTS RECEIVED – We’re often amazed at how diligently the chain newspapers work at making sure their readers believe everything is OK in Abbotsford. ‘Nothing to see here folks. Move along,’ they seem to be saying.
Part of that mission seems to involve deciding not to print bad news [Economic Indicators] the other part seems to involve turning bad news into good news.
Take a look at what happens to a story in a chain-owned newspaper as it moves from the real world outside the building to the newsroom on the inside of the building and then through the editor’s hands to be regurgitated as a headline.
A Recipe For Good News Stew
News Item: A report by the BC Assessment Office is released showing that, in a cooling housing market home values are falling in some BC markets for the first time in years. Single-family homes and apartments in Abbotsford have lost value while townhouse values have, on average, remained the same.
- Bury the lead
Put the stuff you don’t want people to remember as far from the headline as possible – e.g. Paragraph Six:
“A typical single-family home in Abbotsford dropped in assessed value from $425,000 in 2012 to $420,000 in 2013. Abbotsford apartments dipped from $186,000 to $180,000 while a typical townhouse assessment remained the same at $269,000.”
- Cushion the blow
Take away the parts of the story that might hurt by using softer wording in the lead paragraph –
“On average, the 2013 assessed value of homes in the Abbotsford area have either gone down or remained the same.”
- Flip the emphasis
Completely change the meaning of the story by reversing the emphasis in the headline –
“Abbotsford’s assessed home values remain same, or lower than 2012”
There you go.
Now read it quickly from left to right and tell me what it said … Abbotsford’s assessed home values remain same … or something, something, something. Is that what you read? Thought you might.
Unless, of course, you live in a house or an apartment in which case your value has decreased (see paragraph six).
Congratulations. Now you know how to cook Good News Stew.
So in a stagnant real estate market which has seen sales, prices and housing starts steadily dropping along with building permits and employment (all of which has gone unreported by the chain newspapers) you can at least relax knowing that Abbotsford’s assessed home values remain same … or something, something, something.
Please go back to sleep.
P.S. I forgot to mention that with the assessed values going down it means lower tax revenue for the City – the same City that is up to its ears in debt and giving away money to private enterprise. So watch for fees on City services to go up 🙂 … again.
Editor’s Note: We’ve deleted the above postscript after one of our regular visitors explained that it was incorrect: “While property assessed value changes are used to allocate taxes amongst all city properties, overall city-wide fluctuations do not affect the total taxes collected by the city. In 2013, the City will collect the same total property taxes as it did in 2012, plus new taxes from growth and the % tax rate increase recently approved by council.”