The News in Nicaragua

I don’t have a teevee at my house, so I haven’t spent much time watching the boob tube.  I am caring for a friend’s perro y casa while she’s out of town, so I’ve had a opportunity lately to check out the local stations.

One thing that amazed me is that there are so many language offerings!  While in the States we are lucky to have a few stations in Spanish, here there are stations in English, Spanish, French, German, and more languages still.  It’s a reflection of the number of tourists and extranjeros visiting and living in Granada.  The programing matches, with popular programs from the States presented in original language and many other languages, sometimes with subtitles in yet another language.  The news, though, is 100% Nicaraguense.

I had opportunity to catch about 10 minutes of the local news last night, and I was unable to tear my eyes away.  Accion 10 News at 10 was like a strange cross between Jerry Springer and reality tv.  The clip I saw was talking about a fight that happened on the street in Managua.  Two women were fighting, one obviously very drunk.  The camera stayed on the women as the confrontation began and as it escalated.  A voice offscreen narrated the action as the women first begin to take punches at each other, and the camera continued to roll as the fight continued with one woman grabbing the others head and slamming it repeatedly into the ground.  Interviews afterwards got the perspective of both parties, the man who knew both women, and several bystanders.

The next clip involved a man who was attacked with a machete by someone who he owed 300 cordobas – about $15.  The camera zoomed in repeatedly to the bloody gash in the man’s head and the one on his arm.  The mother of the victim was interviewed at length, with no editing at all as she rambled on about the history between the two combatants.  Children in the background wandered off and on camera, waiving and pantomiming for the audience.

The news continued in this fashion, with the cameramen having an obvious bloodlust, focusing in on gruesome scenes that Americans are normally not exposed to.  I was fascinated – both with the level of detail in the news and the decision about what constitutes news – streetfights and small but bloody accidents versus more national or international issues.  The Nicaraguan culture continues to surprise and fascinate me!  I look forward to the day that my Spanish improves enough to be able to follow the programs even more.

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