Sometimes I hold seminars about journalism – photo journalism in particular of course. Most of the time I start talking about the journalistic rule number one.
What is rule number one? Journalism works very simply. When a dog bites a man – this is not a story. Dogs bite men. Unless the man is Prince Charles or the President of the United States, nobody is interested. But the opposite case – when a man bites a dog – that’s a story. The story will be even bigger if the man who bites the dog is the U.S. President and the dog belongs to Prince Charles.
However, in the future I must change my seminars and change the picture from the dog to the octopus “Paul” — better known as the “octopus oracle” at the Sea Life Aquarium of Oberhausen, a former coal mining and steel producing city in western Germany.
The two-and-a-half year-old octopus has become a star all over the world by predicting all six of Germany’s 2010 World Cup games correctly – two defeats and four victories.
With his nine brains it takes him only a few moments to choose between two glass boxes – each filled with a delicious mussel. Each box is decorated with the flags of the respective teams that are scheduled to clash in South Africa. The keepers of the Sea Life Aquarium strictly follow the FIFA regulation: the home team gets the left box and the guest team receives the right box. Then hungry Paul reaches with one of his eight tentacles into one of the boxes to steel the little mussel. When the mussel quickly disappears into his mouth a whole nation is plunged into disbelief or jubilation.