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Little summer novella

How to fall into the trap of television misinformation at the risk of making a bad impression with their readers

By Gianfranco Gatta

Once upon a time...

So he would start his article, talking about an enchanted village in the hinterland of the western Ligurian Riviera. More than a village, one had to speak of a kingdom with a royal princess as an anomalous enclave within the Italian state. During the winter two TV news (Rai and Mediaset) had advertised this tourist pearl, describing the beauty of the place, interviewing the citizens and the princess Her Serene Highness. What most impressed the viewer/reporter was that the alleged principality had issued its own coin, which was quoted on the Wall Street Stock Exchange at $6.30. And then, as Enzo Jannacci said: "The television said that g'ha na forsa de leun".

"Wow!" thought the TV/reporter: "So it’s serious then. Here’s a nice light and cool service for the summer". Yes, because, as I said, it was winter...

And here at the dawn of summer, in a sultry editorial meeting the viewer/ reporter pulls out of the cathodic tube, the intention to write a piece on this alleged kingdom, attempting an interview to the same His Serene Highness. After receiving the placet from the director, he begins the search on the internet to reconstruct the history of the village and useful news for the interview with the princess. 

A story that dates back to the fifth century BC, passes through Charlemagne, continues for the Benedictine monks and naturally arrives at the Savoy. Here there is a controversy never unraveled, about non-payments by the Savoy themselves towards the monks.

In short, there is everything to write a captivating piece, made of history, legal plots and what matters most, the beauty of the site.

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Un post condiviso da Massimo Torchio (@massimo_torchio)

The princess then seems pleasant person, cultured and prepared, from what was seen on television, also, the viewer/ reporter has jumped to attention a news that should have sounded as an alarm bell but that at the moment has more intrigued than alarmed: in the principality there is an elective monarchy and not hereditary. But when ever!?

Decided the title, written the clasp (summary) and drawn up the presentation, it remains only to identify the questions to ask His Serene Highness. In addition to a natural tourist promotion you want to take the opportunity to highlight the peculiar aspects of this anomalous enclave in Liguria.

Nine questions including, think and write (sic!): "What are the relationships with other European monarchies?" and "What is the protocol with the Italian State?". Asking is licit, answering is courtesy.

Having prepared the draft, she follows the phone call to the town hall asking for the press office.

A courteous gentleman answers that being a very small municipality, about three hundred inhabitants, are deprived of such office but offers to be of help. The first request is a telephone hearing with the princess for a possible interview.

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Un post condiviso da Massimiliano C.® (@supermaxx_884)

"Look this is a municipality of the Italian state and there is no princess. If you want, tomorrow around eleven he finds the mayor".


"Yes, but I saw on television that you minted your own coin".

"You are talking to a public official of the municipality of Seborga and from us only the euro circulates, the coins you talk about are bought in souvenir shops".

All right!

"So you don’t know how to track down the princess?"

"Try on Facebook, the association has its own website but be careful because they are more than one. Anyway tomorrow, around eleven, find the mayor"

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Un post condiviso da Selene Salvetti (@selenesalvetti)

And now? 

"The television station adores you," said Jannacci.

By the way, guess who the TV/reporter is!