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Missing Men ' missing from media coverage

Original Source:  INDEPENDENT BLOGS : SAT 12 FEBRUARY 2011
By Catherine Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 10:12 pm

  The body of a young man found in the River Irwell in Salford was today confirmed to be that of the missing Nathan Tomlinson.

Nathan went missing on the same day as Joanna Yeates.


 Until yesterday, his family and friends had no idea of his whereabouts or what may have happened to him and desperately reached out to the public to help with police enquiries by releasing statements, appealing at football games, addressing the local media and putting posters up all over Manchester and Salford.


Nathan was just 21, a trainee sports science teenager from Stockport who went missing whilst trying to find his way home from a work Christmas 'do'. CCTV images on the MEN website show him walking through the snow towards Salford Crescent Station but close to the University, he disappeared. His family were traumatised and worried, telling police that this was completely out of character for Nathan, hence sparking a large-scale search for clues.

It seemed all avenues had been exhausted, but after drenching the river close to where Nathan was last seen, his body was recovered.

Why have I chosen to blog about this' A number of reasons:

I study in Salford. I live in Manchester. I am a Journalism Student. I read the Manchester Evening News religously, especially the crime section.

The CCTV images showing Nathan crossing a university carpark appear to be from a camera attached to the building I spend half my life in. I see the posters every day, several times a day.


Something else though, is that the story of this missing person ran parallel to that of Joanna Yeates. Whilst the Attorney General was warning journalists and newsgroups about reporting too much information and revealing too many details about Joanna's murder enquiry and sparking debate over the press' loss of respect for the Contempt of Court Act, Nathan's disappearance went close to unnoticed. Apart from a mention in the Daily Mail, the only paper to report and follow the story was the MEN. The nationals had other things on their mind.

People go missing all the time, but women, especially young women of sound mind and, dare I say it, a photogenic face, count for the majority of those that get any kind of mass media coverage.

The obvious lack of press attention didn't go unnoticed. Police suggested that the hunt may have been overshadowed by the murder of Jo Yeates in Bristol. The MEN quoted DCI Giles as saying: 'Unfortunately, due to the time of year and other events in the news, Nathan's disappearance may not have attracted the attention we were expecting it to.'

But why' Was it  north (Salford) versus south (Bristol)' Well off (I noticed that almost every report on the Yeates case mentioned the price of property)versus not so well off (Brinnington is regarded as one of the poorer, rougher areas of Stockport)' Pretty (blonde, cheery) versus not so pretty(pictured with a bottle of lager ' suggestive)' There will always be those questions, as there was at the time when Madeleine McCann went missing. We can only guess the answers.

It would be impossible and unreasonable to expect that all missing people should even get a mention. Over 200,000 are reported to police every year. But these are categorised, and Nathan's disapperance and lack of contact with his family was high risk and suspicious from start to end.

For the cases that fail to attract the attention they deserve, there are suggested defences. Firstly, not all families want media coverage ' but Nathan's took it upon themselves to appeal for help, using every oppurtunity to ask for any information in connection with his disappearance. The Missing People charity have no control over what the press choose to publish or put aside. Also, the majority of missing people return or are found. It seems Nathan jut slipped through the net.

Ironically, a broadsheet news report titled 'The week four people vanished ' and only one made the news,' was accompanied by photographs of three of the four. Only Nathan was missing.

No disrespect whatsoever to the family and friends of Joanna Yeates, but I can't help but feel desperately sorry and upset for Nathan's, who tried so hard to get whatever attention they could. I also can't help feeling disheartened by the fact that the media tends to always pull at heartstrings by appealing on behalf of ' there is no denying it ' the wealthy, pretty, white girl.


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