Morbid gawking? Or serious reporting..

#1
So how long do we reckon it’s going to be before the first cracks start to appear in the Japanese reserve and our first foreign reporter gets a taste of samurai metal, or beaten to a pulp with some jap-slapping, after asking probing questions of some dazed and grieving survivor?

Hundreds of reporters from every major news outlet across the globe have descended on the country, using precious reserves of fuel and water in the areas of worst devastation as they race to be first into the disaster zone and the first to rummage around in the debris kicking over photo albums and kid’s toys looking for ‘interesting shots’... I know if boot was on the other foot I’d not be too impressed with having some microphone shoved under my nose or have them trampling over the ground where my relatives may have recently died and I’m sure a decent lawyer would get a PTSD plea in for me once I’d carefully wiped BBC blood off grandad’s old katana...

All it takes is one massive natural disaster and suddenly half the world's media fly in from every corner of the world, frantically throwing wads of yen around as they try to outbid their rivals in an effort to buy up any available helicopter, 4x4 and demanding hotel rooms as they get their staff up to the 'front line' where they can interview the shocked survivors, zoom in on the destroyed houses and try to get a great shot of some bloated corpses floating in the tide for their front pages..

Maybe it’s just me, but these follow up reports highlighting individual personal tragedies are all a bit disturbing and morbid aren’t they? Or is this serious journalism these days...
 
#2
Im not sure about all journalists, but two of my colleagues are in country as we speak.
Aside from a local fixer/drive, who is being suitably re-numerated, they are self sufficient as can be in terms of food and water, as is the nature of their work, and are paying over the odds for fuel etc where they can't have reserves.
In terms of pushing noses in, the Press (bit P) has a responsibility, it raises and spreads awareness, and makes the situation more real in the living rooms across Europe and the North America. That way, charitable contributions rise, public pressure on governments increases to send relief either financially or by man-power. It was noted that after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, it was only after the pictures of the true scale were broadcast around the world did the real effort gain steam, until then it was just a number of faceless south east asians that had lost their lives.
I would agree with you that there have been a few cases where the Western Press has been a bit too forward, a bit too eager to get in peoples faces but to coin a phrase "If it bleeds it leads". With many of the press in-country being freelance, the only way to get your pictures/film sold is by making sure it has the most interest.
 
#3
Im not sure about all journalists, but two of my colleagues are in country as we speak.
Aside from a local fixer/drive, who is being suitably re-numerated, they are self sufficient as can be in terms of food and water, as is the nature of their work, and are paying over the odds for fuel etc where they can't have reserves.
In terms of pushing noses in, the Press (bit P) has a responsibility, it raises and spreads awareness, and makes the situation more real in the living rooms across Europe and the North America. That way, charitable contributions rise, public pressure on governments increases to send relief either financially or by man-power. It was noted that after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, it was only after the pictures of the true scale were broadcast around the world did the real effort gain steam, until then it was just a number of faceless south east asians that had lost their lives.
I would agree with you that there have been a few cases where the Western Press has been a bit too forward, a bit too eager to get in peoples faces but to coin a phrase "If it bleeds it leads". With many of the press in-country being freelance, the only way to get your pictures/film sold is by making sure it has the most interest.
While I can see that the more airtime given to this catastrophe the better, did we really need to send so many BBC staff to attend the worst sites (Sendai) and in particular to anchor the Today Radio4 Programme on Monday morning. It was farcical with James Naughtie interviewing the Japanese Ambassador in London. Naughtie was in Sendai. Haven't the locals got enough to worry about without us sending in Journalists who are unfamiliar with earthquakes into the area which is already going short of food, water and fuel.
 
#4
I was in Indonesia during the last big one. I was shocked and appealed by the attitude of some of the press AND the “Aid” bodies.

It was first-in-first-served and stuff the rest. The only commercial heavy lift helicopter was chartered by an aid group who sent “observers” up to Ache in it. The reporters and aid “workers” (most of whom looked like hippy dropouts) checked into all the top hotels in Jakarta, headed down to Blok M and BATS and started shagging the local freelancers. Very few reporters actually went in country, the ones that did paid big bucks to hire the best aircraft that should have been flying in water, medicine and food.

From memory there were 220+ aid groups all in Jakarta at the time and they didn’t talk to each other. They were like vultures, and seemed to see it as an opportunity to raise money, so they were more like reporters than aid workers. A lot were “observers” etc – years later they wrote excellent papers like “Gender issues in Tsunami Recovery” - seriously, google it to see.

The reporters were desperate for any story, pestered everyone in the bars for titbits, and in many cases just made it up.

I would write a book about it, but on one would believe me…
 
#5
And furthermore:

I was in a taxi in Thailand last year when I saw a truck full of girls just back from a hard day labouring on a building site. For those that don’t know, the girls do much of the manual labour, carrying bangs of cement, hauling bricks, for a small pittance. They were dirty and tired, with rags tied around their heads to keep the dust out, and dirty faces. Jammed in the back of the truck in the cage in faded jeans and shirts, they looked for all the world like a scene from a concentration camp.

When the girls saw me they all smiled in unison, with that beautiful smile that only Thai girls have. The sun shone a little brighter for it.

I reached down and picked up my camera. They would have made a perfect photograph. Then I felt so ashamed. I have been down in my life, when even my dignity was on the line. That was all that these girls had, and it would have been grossly unfair to take that dignity from them, no matter how good the photo would have been.

Sometimes the press forgets about dignity.
 

udipur

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Not just the natural disasters that attract a weird breed of vulture.

I remember the Palestine in Baghdad where the hookers in the early days used to shag the drunk journos after picking them up in the top floor bar then get an extra length for cash from the US soldiers based in the compound. This was when the journos couldn't really leave due to threats but the stories! You'd have thought they were right in Falluja when Schlock & Flaw, the two great US Generals, launched their campaign.
 
#7
For more information about these hippy vultures:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/Depts/global/Publications/HumanSecurityReport/Tsunami/Aceh Tsunami Response.pdf

“NGOs – Self-interested, self-important, self-promoting, 90% ineffective.”
“Petty turf wars, Banda Aceh was awash with flags and banners each promoting a different NGO”
“Aceh suddenly became the sexist place in the world.”
“Rents rose tenfold, landlords kicked out tenants in order to rent to better paying foreigners.”
“Banda Aceh was where the lights and cameras were. NGOs were tearing down other NGOs stuff.”
“Everyone just came to the airport. Some didn’t even bring a change of clothes. Many just became a burden because they needed to be fed and supplied water. “


And in this latest Japanese tragedy, Save the Children is already leaping onto the gravy train. By Saturday they were advertising on Australian TV saying that they needed money to provide “urgent playschools for affected children.

There is no power, no communications, no heat, no food and no potable water, but these turkeys are sending a team of specialists to “deal with the psychological impact on children and provide them with something to do”

God help Japan.
 
#8
Watched that stupid bimbet on sky yesterday. Completely out of her depth. Voyeur with nothing significant or important to add and to be honest, I do hope someone gives her a slapping.

Whilst some may not have the imagination to understand destruction without seeing it on their televisions, many of us are fully aware of the results of such disasters. Rather than spending large sums of money sending these reporting teams out, give the money to charities that will assist in the recovery. Bloody journos.
 
#9
I'm glad they're there sticking there cameras everywhere. Now the Japs know how annoying it is.

And as for giving to the charities... Why? Japan is very proud of their huge economy and their export industry sucking the currencies from other countries, let them pile cash on the do-gooders.

Just an opinion.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
There comes a point in the coverage (about now for me) where it's starting to be come ineffective
Sorry but I'm bored of watching 10 different reporters on each channel passing the ball from one to another
The impact in my opinion is being lessend by reporters swamping the area (excuse the pun) and handing over to each other every two minutes
Why do they need to anchor it from Japan?
Why does the BBC need to send separate Radio and T.V. reporters out?
A couple of reporters would suffice
The race seems to be on to stand in front of the best wrecked truck or boat
Mosty of the Tsunami footage they are showing is being scooped of Youtube anyway
 
#11
I did think to myself this morning, was there really a need for daybreak to send 2 reporters out to Japan. I mean surely ITN have sufficient out there, that they could take news reports from.
 
#12
And furthermore:

I was in a taxi in Thailand last year when I saw a truck full of girls just back from a hard day labouring on a building site. For those that don’t know, the girls do much of the manual labour, carrying bangs of cement, hauling bricks, for a small pittance. They were dirty and tired, with rags tied around their heads to keep the dust out, and dirty faces. Jammed in the back of the truck in the cage in faded jeans and shirts, they looked for all the world like a scene from a concentration camp.

When the girls saw me they all smiled in unison, with that beautiful smile that only Thai girls have. The sun shone a little brighter for it.

I reached down and picked up my camera. They would have made a perfect photograph. Then I felt so ashamed. I have been down in my life, when even my dignity was on the line. That was all that these girls had, and it would have been grossly unfair to take that dignity from them, no matter how good the photo would have been.

Sometimes the press forgets about dignity.
Thats the second time in a week you have raised the tone of this site Barry. please even it out with a dumb comment like the rest of us.
As for jurno's. Worked with some broadcasters that are well known now in me youff. Drop the dead donkey was factual as far as I witnessed. Vainglorious bunch of witless nomarks. Viva tinternet!
 
#13
For more information about these hippy vultures:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/Depts/global/Publications/HumanSecurityReport/Tsunami/Aceh Tsunami Response.pdf

“NGOs – Self-interested, self-important, self-promoting, 90% ineffective.”
“Petty turf wars, Banda Aceh was awash with flags and banners each promoting a different NGO”
“Aceh suddenly became the sexist place in the world.”
“Rents rose tenfold, landlords kicked out tenants in order to rent to better paying foreigners.”
“Banda Aceh was where the lights and cameras were. NGOs were tearing down other NGOs stuff.”
“Everyone just came to the airport. Some didn’t even bring a change of clothes. Many just became a burden because they needed to be fed and supplied water. “


And in this latest Japanese tragedy, Save the Children is already leaping onto the gravy train. By Saturday they were advertising on Australian TV saying that they needed money to provide “urgent playschools for affected children.

There is no power, no communications, no heat, no food and no potable water, but these turkeys are sending a team of specialists to “deal with the psychological impact on children and provide them with something to do”

God help Japan.
My Bold, **** that is the last thing they want. I hate journos with a passion I normally only reserve for the clergy. They are nothing but scum sucking filth who would sell their own grandmother for a story and if it isn't true they will make it up.

They over sensationalise everything, this morning on Breakfast the 2 idiots on the sofa were trying to get this Nuclear Prof to say the world is coming to an end and everyone will die from rad poisoning, but the bloke stuck to his guns and explained it was about context and also without the FACTS he could not comment on the situation.
 
#14
Yes, the Japanese are getting pissed off with the intrusiveness. Having worked with Japanese, I'm well aware of how you approach strangers, basically you apologise for interrupting them as an opener, and in these circumstances you should apologise very formally for interrupting them, unlike the journos who run up to some obviously distressed Japanese and stuff a camera and mic in his face and demand to know how he feels. How the f*ck do you think he feels as he looks for his dead family you journo twats!

The SKY journo yesterday seemed rather taken aback when the Japanese bloke who was looking through the wreckage told him he was not happy that gaikokujin were running all over the place photographing the devastation.


ETA: Japanese Red Cross are happy to accept and grateful for foreign donations and they are already right in the thick of it doing a cracking job.
 
#15
The media have always been like this.

I remember some cretin of a TV reporter shoving a microphone in the face of some bloke who was just getting out of a lifeboat after having been rescued from the ferry that sank and his question was along the lines of "You have just seen hundreds of people drown and have survived by sheer luck, how do you feel?"

******* ghouls the lot of them.
 
#16
What has been amusing is the bunch of Oxbridge graduates with bum Arts degrees on the BBC trying to bluff they way in explaining how a reactor works. As has already been mentioned, the BBC is ramming the 'that's what you get if you go the Nuclear route' mantra down our throats. I saw George Aligayah reporting from Japan on the news last night - FFS, he was in bloody Egypt a few weeks ago (together with the rest of the hundred odd team that the Beeb sends anywhere), his expenses claims must be almost as big as a Liarbour MPs!

More amusing, though, are the bunch of bimbos on Daybreak (who are only there to flash their legs) trying to make out they know what's going on.
 
#17
What I found funny was the comment on the news that this is the "worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl".

Not sure I could have worked that out for myself there Sherlock! Might as well just say its the worst one since the last one.

Most of what is being reported isnt really news at all, it is just filler.
 
#18
Who decided we needed 24 hour news, what was wrong with the old 15 mins at 1800hrs and half an hour at 2200hrs. All it has done has breed a generation of grief whores and sensationalist mongs who see doom and gloom around every corner.
 
#19
the Press (bit P) has a responsibility, it raises and spreads awareness, and makes the situation more real in the living rooms across Europe and the North America.
The only responsibilty the majority of the press has, is to make their company shareholders richer.
 
#20
What are the rules regarding NGOs entering a country? I would have thought that Japan with it's own assets/plan of action and Govt intact would not want NGOs just turning up and doing their thing without some co ordination of AOR etc.

Japan is not Haiti or like many of the countries affected in 2004 who barely had the assets to handle the disaster. I hope the NGOs respect this.

Back to the reporting - morbid gawking is about right and as others have said the way in which such disasters are presented in the 24 hour news format particularly the current endless nuclear speculation is just woeful.
 

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