Friday, 17th August 2018
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REFERENDUM COVERAGE

Up until the polling day for the referendum the coverage of how the Irish people were reacting to all the issues the referendum was bringing up was in a sense tightly controlled. This is of course a right thing to do to bring fairness and balance to any issue that the Irish people have to vote on and particularly so in a referendum that was so highly emotive. It wasn’t until the night of the referendum when the exit poll for RTE was made known did it become clear that the Yes side was going to win, and win by a landslide, could other issues become open for debate. While there was coverage from international news channels on the issue of the referendum it was mostly on a news basis and then for just a couple of minutes. Channel Four and the BBC in Britain did host longer debates for both sides of the issue that were fairly balanced and well nuanced. The main coverage as you might expect came from the Irish channels and mainly from RTE. TV3 did coverage the referendum and the outcome of the vote but again here as in other areas it’s limitations were clear. It just doesn’t have the resources to have widespread coverage of issues like the referendum and therefore if you really wanted any in depth analysis of the result you really had to tune into RTE. This channel didn’t present the result in any very modern or up to date manner but what it lacked there it more than made up for in the way in which it tackled all the issues that the result brought up. Clearly it had invested time and money in the exit poll and made the most of that.

The exit poll didn’t just cover the issue of whether a person voted Yes or No but also supplementary questions that made for interesting viewing. Another area where RTE scored well was in the amount of people that it had available to it to go through the vote. Obviously RTE is the dominant media beast in the jungle and it is able to gather in huge amounts of people as well as information when it comes to covering the big issues of the day. It might make mistakes now and again but when it comes to the Referendum coverage and particularly the result it really did show that it is up to the mark.

PITBULLS AND PAROLEES

This is a reality series that follows the life of a rescue center for Pitbulls called Villalobos. It is headed by a woman named Tia Torres and originally started out in rural California and is now based in more or less inner city New Orleans. It did start it’s life as a rescue center for pitbulls, what they call the world’s most misunderstood breed of dog, but now due to demand take in almost any breed. When they were in California they had 200 dogs to care for but now in New Orleans they have almost over 500 dogs and a small number of cats that they care for and try to adopt out. What is abundantly clear in this show is the sheer passion that everyone at the rescue center has for the animals that they care for. They run their center on a shoestring but that doesn’t stop them going to inordinate lengths to try their very best for the dogs that they care for. Usually this hour long show is divided into a number of parts.

In any given show you usually have the team out looking for a stray dog which sounds a lot easier that it usually turns out to be. Then they have the regular day to day jobs that they have to do to keep the center running in a regular fashion and keeping on top of caring for the animals. Then there are the stories of those who come to the center to try to adopt one of the animals. Usually these are amongst some of the most interesting stories in the show. People have all sorts of reasons for wanting to try and adopt a dog, particularly a pitbull, but just because you want to adopt a dog it doesn’t mean that you are going to be given one.

The center has strict guidelines for people that they will allow adopt from them. Once they pair up a dog with an adopter they then have to go and do a home check to make sure that the living environment for the animal is good enough. Not everyone who comes to adopt a dog will be given one.

Even though it is obvious that the center is crying out for people to adopt it’s dogs in the end it has to be the right place for the right reasons. While Tia Torres might be the head of the rescue organisation she quite early on made it one of the aims of the group that they would have parolees working there. It fits in with her ethos of giving not only dogs but people second chances to.

Also in her own personal life she sees the rightness of it considering that her husband is currently in prison. On the whole, even though you see some terrible cases of animal cruelty, this is a very life affirming show in the way you see the dogs who sometimes come from terrible backgrounds develop into loving dogs who have so much to give.

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