Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sit right there, while we tell you about an earthquake for an hour. There'll be a test later.

This morning there's been a pretty severe earthquake in Christchurch (NZ) which has been receiving a lot of news coverage. Yes yes, it's all very sad, lots of property damage, one unconfirmed fatality report, yes, everyone's frightened, etc.

We know it's an event that requires news coverage, but come the fuck on! All three major TV channels (Seven, Nine and Ten) have been covering this shit for over an hour now. OVER AN HOUR, to cover these few basic facts;

1. Buildings have collapsed in the city centre.
2. It's a 6.2 on the Richter scale (or thereabouts).
3. There is no mobile coverage in the city, so people can't get in contact with their families and so, are worried.
4. Water pipes have ruptured and there's a little flooding in the streets.


That's pretty much it.

That's basically all they have been saying, in different ways, with varying degrees of hype and drama, for SIXTY EFFING MINUTES.

They try and make it a little interesting now and then by interviewing various pedestrians and people calling in, by phone and on air.. but they're all saying the same damn things! Obviously! It's not their fault either, they all have experienced the same thing, after all.. wtf do these reporters expect? And they ask the dumbest fucking questions.

"Are you worried about your children since you can't contact the school?"
"Uh.. yes, very worried."

DUH. What else would they say?;
"Oh, nah nah, I never really liked them much anyway, at least I'll save some money on school fees if they haven't made it out alive."

"Were you frightened when you felt the first tremors?"
"Eh, not really, I mean, it's not really a big deal if the building collapses on top of me, I wouldn't really mind."

"Did you manage to get out okay?"
"No, actually, I died in there, in fact, what you're talking to now is my ethereal spirit".


At this point, there is literally nothing more to know about the event, and every single person watching TV right now has memorised every little detail to do with this earthquake.

And do we really need all three channels saying the same thing, airing the same footage, and using the same hyperbolic language for over an hour? Seriously?

Is this what reporting has come to? Something happens, and every Tom, Dick and Harry leaps aboard the bandwagon, each one trying to outdo the other in terms of dramatisation and emotion? Do they really have nothing more to report about?

I got a mere 10 minute report about the protests in Cairo and even less about the ones in Libya.. but a fucking natural disaster, that nobody can help, or prevent, gets pretty much the entire lunch hour, and is still going strong?

What the hell?

I'm feeling pretty disheartened about a career in journalism if this is the kind of stupidity that's going on, if this is the shit I'm going to be forced to report on, instead of real world issues.


  1. Oh you made me laugh up there. You present an excellent point. They might as well have just gone with a solid 'How do you feel about this event?'

  2. I know it's a sad situation but damn you made it a funny thing! I always find myself thinking the same things. Like today there was a local bus that skid into a mountain side and there was coverage for 30 minutes because it was full of teenagers from a church retreat. Most were in the hospital and they were asking people "Are you worried because you can't make contact with the friends from you're church?" "Yes, his phone is off" "Did you have any idea that this could happen?" What the fuck?

  3. That is why I don't watch TV anymore...
    Long live YouTube!

  4. people are only interested in bad news - that's what makes good media.

  5. I love the fact that you have great answers to those questions. I feel the same way when people interview that way.

    I love the news. It's rarely news.

  6. Sarah; There is plenty of bad news around the world. PLENTY. Stuff that might actually be preventable with more media coverage.

    I'm just so sick of these people pandering to the idiotic masses that want to know about nothing but celebrities and minor events close to home. Is the fact that Prince William is getting married really NEWS? They're a news channel, not fucking E!.

  7. Did they dig up an expert to do color commentary on the event? I love when the talking heads and their producers run out of original content, then drag in some poor sap for help trying to explain why the story is still relevant...

  8. hey, I gave you an award! head to my page to check it out.


  9. Hannah! I also gave you an award. These things are like a disease, man. This is my post about it:


  10. Hello,

    I know I'm a bit late here, but I've only just found your site. Luddite, I know.

    I used to work at a local news station and it put me off journalism for a long time. It seemed that the majority of reporters were selected for beauty and nothing else. I can imagine this is similar to the people talking about the Christchurch earthquake.

    I hope if you do go into journalism you can find someone who lets you keep your own voice. I've seen far too many reports and read far too many articles that tell me nothing.

    And I'd love to see your face the first time you're told to cover the story about fluffy kittens, because that's what viewers like...


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