Disasters: What Makes Them Newsworthy?

Just a brief observation about the recent disasters around the world:
Doing a quick search to find out how many news stories have been published about this (and I'm not pretending there's anything accurate going on here), ther are about 1000 stories about Sri Lanka and Brazil, and almost 20,000 about Queensland.

In comparison, searching for the Haiti earthquake from 12 months ago returns almost 12,000 results.

I wonder what is used to decide whether articles should be written and published. Could it be that we place a lower value on their lives? Or does it eventually all come down to the money value of the damage, meaning we care more about money than life?

Either way, it doesn't sound good. The value of the damage should not trump lives affected in the media coverage. And there shouldn't be a difference between lives in rich and poor countries, and white and non-white countries.

As Scroobius Pip says
Thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-English speaking countries as to those that occur in English speaking countries

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Disasters: What Makes Them Newsworthy?

Just a brief observation about the recent disasters around the world:
  • The Queensland floods affected an area the size of France and Germany, and approximately 200,000 people. About 12 people have died and dozens are missing. Damages are estimated at billions of dollars.
  • The Sri Lanka floods affected more than 1 million people, displacing approximately 325,000 people. At least 23 people have died, and damages are estimated at $500 million.
  • The Brazil mudslides killed at least 400 people and made thousands homeless. So far $480 million has been authorised for emergency funding.
Doing a quick search to find out how many news stories have been published about this (and I'm not pretending there's anything accurate going on here), ther are about 1000 stories about Sri Lanka and Brazil, and almost 20,000 about Queensland.

In comparison, searching for the Haiti earthquake from 12 months ago returns almost 12,000 results.

I wonder what is used to decide whether articles should be written and published. Could it be that we place a lower value on their lives? Or does it eventually all come down to the money value of the damage, meaning we care more about money than life?

Either way, it doesn't sound good. The value of the damage should not trump lives affected in the media coverage. And there shouldn't be a difference between lives in rich and poor countries, and white and non-white countries.

As Scroobius Pip says
Thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-English speaking countries as to those that occur in English speaking countries

Labels: , , , , , , ,

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