In Australia this past two months we've had flash floods, floods, a cyclone, bushfires and now New Zealand has had an earthquake. There has been a frenzy of reportage, a lot of the coverage over days, 24/7, at first patchy and inaccurate with amazing images... and then continuing patchy coverage with amazing images, often not meshing with the voice over. Often the same video image bites shown over and over again, with no connection to the story being reported, and no indication of the footage location or any chronological information.
Why do they feel the need to give such coverage when nothing new is happening... it's just the same rehashed reportage. No new facts. No new images - and when I see the images I'd like to know where they are taken and when, and what they are of, I don't want to see the same loop of striking/spectacular images played over and over and over again. That's not news, that's disaster ghoulism.
Disaster news is interesting, particularly if you are in it or near it but not directly affected by it.
Disaster news is compelling, especially when you have a connection to the area or the people.
Disaster news is informative, especially when you are given details on where and when the images have been taken, and when reports are compiled where images are given informative, factual narration.
But the weeks of floods, and the cyclone in Queensland, and the relentless coverage of these natural disasters was too much. Blanket coverage was also broadcast in other states and these people had no connection to the victims of the disasters so I think perhaps they would have become victims of compassion fatigue.
Then there was the hysterical heightened hyperbole element with reportage of these natural disasters, and with preemptive hysterical heightened hyperbole reportage of cyclone Yasi.
I'm noticing that the NZ earthquake seems to be reported differently, with the voice over of images telling us who the people are, where the buildings are, what's happening. Much more interesting. Perhaps they've concentrated on this because they've had time to put their packages together. Or perhaps these packages have been put together by NZ reporters who just have a better idea of how to report and what people need and want to know about their fellow countrymen.
Looking at the images from Christchurch, I was there when I was sixteen but don't remember much about it (too long ago), I am shocked. Watching those brave people rescuing people from precarious situations I am humbled at their selflessness and lack of fear for their own danger. Seeing the people in the street endeavour to rescue people who were trapped in crushed cars which it seems was a futile exercise.
I wish the Kiwis luck, and I know that Australia and Australians will help them as much as we are able.
Just a minor complaint, someone tell the reporter that the thing on the top of the Cathedral is not the tower, it's called a spire.
Oh look, the Aussie reporters are there, fresh from the disaster fields of Australia. Grant has arrived and his report is describing how the earthquake "targeted" older buildings. What?
Kochie is there (yes, I know it's Se7en, but that's what was on when I turned the tv on). A debacle.
Nine's got the Minister for (personal) Tourism, oops, Kevin Rudd blabbing on it, again with the background shots which don't seem to have anything to do with what he's talking about - but then again, at least we're not seeing the political disaster who is called Kevin Rudd.
Crecscendos of praise. Did I mention that? The reporters seem to be searching for superlatives to fit to the rescue efforts.
Why, in these disasters, are some people so surprised and startled and amazed at the efforts made by strangers to help strangers? It's human nature to assist. I appreciate the quiet determination, the calm, with which people assist to rescue the trapped immediately after the earthquake. I don't understand why it is such a surprise to some. This is our culture...
With the morning shows and ACA now over in NZ reporting "on the ground", d'ya reckon we can close our borders?
Skepticlawyer has donation to Christchurch Earthquake information, here's some info:
Donate online at www.salvationarmy.org.nz
By Post: The Salvation Army , PO Box 27 001 Marion Square, Wellington 6141, New Zealand.
Please specify that your donation is for the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal.