Forum: Arts / Debates

Page:
Page 1 of 2: 1 2
How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 01:20 PM

As some may be aware, there was a thread on the General board for a few days on this subject but it kind of withered away into personal comments and attacks, and it got off topic enough that the entire thread was deleted. With that knowledge, please keep personal opinions to yourself. The topic may be sensitive, but differing opinions are a part of the game. If you're unsure about what is okay to post, re-check stickies on the welcome boards and the DDN Terms of Service. :)

The original thread, created by LoveToDance1867, was about a Facebook status that she had seen. This status said that said person was irritated or angry that there was so much media coverage of the Haiti Earthquake because it was being used as a distraction for still important issues. (LoveToDance1867, if you still have access to the exact wording of the status that started this debate, I welcome you to include it.)

Some felt that this was a ‘cold hearted’ or rude way to approach the situation, and others saw the merits of the argument, and still others agreed completely.

So the idea of the debate is: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy? Is it fair for the media to be completely consumed with this one event, or do they have a responsibility to continue to still place importance on other issues? Why or Why not?
Let’s get this started back again, on friendly debate terms, and see where this discussion can go.

36 Replies to How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?

re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Brittanymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 01:48 PM
Edited by Brittany (36942) on 2010-01-17 13:48:58
It's a tragedy. Of course the media is going to cover it all day, every day. That's part of your job if you're in the journalism or broadcasting field. What information we have and what is happening changes from day to day and when that is going on a newspaper or a broadcasting channel cannot just decide to stop covering it. Not only are there a lot of people out there looking for that news but because of competition. If Fox (for example) decides to stop covering Haiti and giving new coverage about it, they'd be totally screwed competition wise...because CNN and all other broadcasters are going to be covering it.

A lot of people keep saying they can't get news about their own country. I find that hard to believe...with the popularity of online journalism there are plenty of news websites out there to access that prove that journalists are writing about more than just Haiti. You just have to scroll down more or click different links...in the case of a newspaper, you just have to flip the pages more...

I don't think that they are not placing importance on other subjects and problems we are facing...but this one just has an immediate need of response and support.

But I'm going to school for journalism...so I am probably very biased. But then again, who isn't biased these days?
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 02:29 PM
News is a business and there will always be a certain amount of 'if it bleeds it leads'.

But, having said that, this is a fresh story and it is an emergency situation. Despite all the complaints of certain far-rightists that the USA has already been sending Haiti aid in the form of tax dollars, it is still important to get the word out that more help is needed. And all those pictures of suffering offer an opportunity to pray for people (for those with the belief that praying actually is doing something to help). And the coverage is educational - it gives a picture of a world so different from our own, it is important to know and understand how other people live and the forces at work that create their situations. We should not be so insular, community service starts with empathy. Perhaps seeing all this coverage of suffering not only will send dollars and prayers, but maybe will spur someone to begin to help in their own communities. And finally, maybe it will stop people from complaining so much about their own countries, I really get so tired hearing that, especially U.S. citizens complaining about the U.S. We are so, so blessed in comparison to a place like Haiti.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Danamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 03:58 PM
As much as it takes to get people to donate enough money to keep as many people alive as possible. (Were there enough superlatives in that sentence? Yeesh.) There is enough media coverage in the world today that EVERYTHING is getting attention. Yes, Haiti is currently front-page and beginning-of-broadcast news, but there are still tons of headlines about, to use some American examples, the economy, health care reform, etc etc. The difference is that Haiti is an URGENT URGENT situation, as in people are dying every second from lack of water, food, medical attention, etc. and it's totally appropriate to besiege the wealthier world with requests to remedy that because we HAVE the means to help them. You know how if you badger someone enough, they'll give you what you want? It's like that.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By oz_helenmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 04:00 PM
Everyone reaches their own personal threshold of tolerance for coverage of a particular issue at different times. For example, when Princess Diana died, the all-day news coverage was way beyond what I could handle, especially considering that, in my opinion, while her death was tragic and unnecessary and brought to light important issues to do with the lengths paparazzi would go to to get a photo, in the grand scheme of things, it was not as pressing as other world events.

With regard to the situation in Haiti, I believe it is important that it gets coverage as the extent of the devastation is so vast that the country cannot help get itself out of the current situation. It is important that people all around the world know what is happening so that those with compassion feel compelled to assist and those without compassion have an opportunity to develop some. Sometimes I feel that some people would prefer that they never hear about crises such as the current situation in Haiti, because it doesn't affect them directly or isn't in their own backyard. However, we are all human and we all live on the same planet. Everything that happens in the world will affect us in some way. I believe it is important to be educated about world issues.

If you have reached your threshold, then turn off the TV. That's what I did in 1997.

Helen
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By pondflyPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 04:37 PM
When we worked in our field hospital during Katrina someone had the TV set to the news, a medic walked in saw it and broke down. Upon talking with him he was in dealing with the worst of the worst and just didn't need to see it from another side.

We made a sign stating that the TV was not to be changed from the comedy network or a music channel Lt. General Honore who worked the combined military operations during that time also said that the TV should not be tuned to news for those suffering, it is also in his book.

My first rotation in Louisiana we didn't watch the media due to the focus on the failures not the accomplishments.
My system is watch a little as they sometimes know more than workers, then turn it off. Sorry, but you have to be a little callous in stressful times.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 04:38 PM
Edited by hylndlas (107168) on 2010-01-17 16:40:26 added some
I completely agree with the last sentence Helen wrote....except what if you are in a situation you have to have the news on? We keep the news on at work for situational awareness in the world because of the nature of my job (I work for the federal government Dept of the Airforce).....I understand this is BIG news. Completely understood! However.....do we really have to be shown people screaming for help and dead bodies without ANY sort of warning that what we are about to see may be graphic?

I saw and heard enough of that in the Army.....I REALLY don't want to see anything remotely like that anymore BECAUSE it REALLY disturbs me.....like to the point of my having to leave my desk at work in order to calm down and not have flash backs of my own personal hell.

So erm yeah.....I think CNN FOX and all the other news stations need to be held accountable for what they show and in the VERY least WARN people that the footage is disturbing BEFORE showing it. So that so much to ask or want?
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 04:45 PM
The crisis in Haiti deserves alot of media attention. The media should and have used this as a major piece (rightfully so) to raise awareness of it. They have covered other stories, just not as much as Haiti because it is not as important.

See the main issue I have with people whinging about too much coverage of Haiti, is that a crisis of a smaller proportion with less people killed will get the almost the same, sometimes more than what Haiti has received. Noone whinges when it's an American crisis that shown on the news for months, has nowhere the amount of lives lost as the Haiti crisis. It basically devalues a Haiti life compared to an American.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 04:50 PM
Cadbury_Eater wrote:

It basically devalues a Haiti life compared to an American.


I don't think anyone has said that and if they do shame on them....because a life is a life.....BUT do we HAVE to see bodies? Do we have to hear PEOPLE screaming for help without a WARNING?????

Come on....surely there is a better way to report without being too graphic.....and yes when you start showing things like that without a warning it's graphic!
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Brittanymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 04:54 PM
Someone actually sent me a text message with a picture of dead kids (I'm guessing in Haiti from how they looked) and a sad song playing....I was utterly disgusting.

That's something that crosses my line of ethics.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy? (karma: 2)
By seannettaPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 05:39 PM
I am a journalist, and I work for a major broadcasting corporation. Brittany brought up a few good points about the realities of media outlets covering situations of such magnitude. First, it's true that coverage often begets more coverage, because the reality of the news business is that if your network/newspaper isn't the first to get the stories out there, or if your network/newspaper stops covering an issue while everyone else is still covering it, you lose because people will turn elsewhere for what they want or need to know. And then your network's ratings go down, and you lose advertising dollars, and you have to lay people off...And so on. That's the nature of the competitiveness of the business. I don't like that such important story-telling is tied to money, but unfortunately it's part of how it works. It sometimes means overkill on one particular story as a result.

It's true that Haiti needs a lot of help, but it's not the media's job to get people to donate funds. The media's job is to convey factual information and stay neutral. Of course, that's not always the reality and it's incredibly difficult to stay neutral in such a tragic situation. If people are moved to donate money because of the news stories they see, that's fantastic. But to specifically aim to encourage donations should not be the goal of a story about this situation. The goal should be, if we're going by journalism's ideals, to let people know what's happening in a particular part of the world by telling the stories of the people who are suffering there. To be the eyes and ears for the general public, who can't be there in person.

What is the threshold for covering such a story? It's hard to tell. Every watcher of TV news or reader of newspapers will have their own personal threshold. If people start tuning out the stories or becoming numb to them, it's probably too much. A variety of stories is important--I agree with other posters that showing images of dead bodies is not teaching us much. We should hear about more of the nuances--how Haiti's infrastructure is making it difficult to distribute aid, for example. And a good news story will also look forward--now that this has happened in a country that was already so impoverished and terribly run, what will it take to rebuild?

Once you run out of stories to tell, and can only repeat the same images or continue to just wring your hands over the destruction, it's probably time to move on. The news is supposed to report what's new, or give fresh context to what's already happened. I'm already seeing cases where media outlets are repeating themselves, and that's only going to contribute to the feeling of overkill.

It's going to be in the news for a while yet, because the loss of so many lives and the destruction of a huge chunk of a country is an incredibly big deal. There are still more stories to tell about Haiti, but whether you get to read or see those stories depends on the particular news source you're tracking.

Finally, you can always find news about your part of the world, or news other than the big headlines, if you make an effort. If you're watching a typical 30-minute TV news broadcast, there are only so many stories they can shove in that amount of time and the "big" stories are going to dominate. Try reading a newspaper, which has a lot more context and always has a local section about your area in particular. Try reading news blogs or discussion boards or watching videos online. There is always more news out there if you look for it.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By dancinqt5013member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 06:18 PM
When I was 9, I remember there was an earthquake in Turkey and I remember seeing dead bodies on the news, people screaming for their families, injured children, all of that stuff (and we didn't have cable, so it's not like there was anything else to instantly turn to during the news hours). As a child, I was seriously freaked out by all of that. I remember being scared to go to sleep at night for fear of my house collapsing because of an earthquake. Heck, I was scared to be in any building because I was scared it would collapse. And once I had finally gotten over that fear, there was another earthquake (I can't remember where) and all of the news coverage was back, and I was freaked out again. So it does bother me when the news stations just show footage of dead bodies and screaming people without warning. Besides, it seems like their purpose is more to get viewers watching and up their ratings than to cover an important story. You can cover the story without showing graphic footage.

I think the crisis is a large one and they need the media coverage because they need the help. Besides, news stations are a business and the biggest and newest story right now. That's what the news stations and other media outlets are going to focus on. It doesn't mean that other people aren't reporting about other issues that are going on right now. Those just aren't the biggest stories.

Also, the facebook status from the other thread said something about "real problems" that we should be focusing on instead. And, first of all, it's silly to think that what's going on in Haiti is not a real problem. But secondly, how exactly do our problems in the Western world even compare to what is going on there? I mean, by comparison we do not have real problems. Our society is so lucky and so well off. And because of that, we're the ones that need to step back for a moment and recognize that there is a tragedy going on in a third world country and they need our help. We need healthcare reform sometime soon? Well, they need food and water and some form of healthcare now! So I don't think it's unreasonable to focus a little more on an immediate and very real problem than on the problems that our own country may be facing.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By oz_helenmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 06:51 PM
hylndlas wrote:

However.....do we really have to be shown people screaming for help and dead bodies without ANY sort of warning that what we are about to see may be graphic?


You don't have warnings for graphic news stories?
We do here in Australia.

Helen
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 08:49 PM
^ Nope.....I Really wish we did.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy? (karma: 1)
By RattyPattymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:45 PM
I really do not enjoy watching the news during this time, due to the graphic images, but I do believe it is appropriate to raise awareness (disclaimers would be nice though). However, it kind of frustrates me that it's only in the moment of a disaster when people encourage others to donate and to help people in need. Haiti has been a very poor country for many years, and yes they need help now, but they also needed help last year, and five years ago. I'm very glad people are helping out and giving, and I truly hope that it is a lasting habit for many people.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:12 AM
RattyPatty wrote:

...they also needed help last year, and five years ago....

And 10 years ago and 20 years ago. I agree wholeheartedly with Ratty Patty. The situation in Haiti was already desperate before the earthquake. That's one reason the quake was so devastating -- no infrastructure or economy to begin to deal with it. Why do people take notice only when there is a geological disaster? Well, better late than never maybe.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy? (karma: 1)
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jan 18, 2010 01:16 AM
I don't understand the whole "Well you never thought about them before!" argument. Since people didn't have the poor country Haiti always on their minds before this disaster hit, they shouldn't have them on their minds now? Why exactly? Because that would look inconsistent? There is no real consistency on what the world is concerned about, we can only take in so much, but at the same time everyone is concerned about this NOW, becuase this country is RUINED, and because people are still dying or could die!

It's almost like the people who don't want to see coverage of Haiti are saying "This is inconvenient for me and so I'm going to bitch about it, because I want to watch something else!" (not talking about graphic images, just the crisi coverage in general) It's like instead of saying "Wow, maybe I can look at this in a way that would help me grow mentally and emotionally by helping or reflecting on the value and delicacy of life, I'm going to shut myself down and complain about how this disaster is taking up too much of my evening news!" Helpful? No. Meaningful? No.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 18, 2010 01:55 AM
Noone in this thread has expressed that view. Outside DDN, I have heard it so I should have stated that more clearly. It was mainly for illustative purposes that the crisis in Haiti warrants as much air time as a similar crisis in any other country. I just find it ironic that people complain about it monopolizing the news, I've never heard this for another natural disaster. I mean I guess people feel more shocked when it happens closer to where they live, but it still warrants major news.

I agree with SoulierVert on the not caring yesterday why should we care now logic. We, as humans cannot focus our energy on all issue or all countries' plight. It is better for Haiti to be receiving help now and being cared about then never.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:43 AM
seannetta wrote:

We should hear about more of the nuances--how Haiti's infrastructure is making it difficult to distribute aid, for example. And a good news story will also look forward--now that this has happened in a country that was already so impoverished and terribly run, what will it take to rebuild?


Which is why I get my news from NPR. :)

Dani
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:32 PM
See the main issue I have with people whinging about too much coverage of Haiti, is that a crisis of a smaller proportion with less people killed will get the almost the same, sometimes more than what Haiti has received. Noone whinges when it's an American crisis that shown on the news for months, has nowhere the amount of lives lost as the Haiti crisis. It basically devalues a Haiti life compared to an American.

I think that American news networks have a responsibility to, and should, focus more on American stories. International news coverage in America should focus mainly on countries that are important to American interests, and only lightly touch on topics of major concern in other countries. I would expect the same of any foreign news network. I think that it is the responsibility of the media to bring to light topics that are important and of relevance to its audience. It has nothing to do with devaluing, it's the plain and simple fact that for the wide, sweeping, vastly large population of all countries other than Haiti, this has no impact on their lives at all and never will. Should it be mentioned? YES. Should we provide support? YES. Should it be the 24/7 Extremely Graphic Images of Dead Haitians Network? HELL NO.

Speaking of which, it used to be considered completely inappropriate to display a corpse on the news. The army will freak out if you post a picture of a dead solider anywhere. When did this change???

And yes, I would expect the same of foreign news networks reporting on American tragedies.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By kandykanePremium member
On Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:36 PM
Edited by kandykane (157761) on 2010-01-18 12:39:17 add a bit
oz_helen wrote:

hylndlas wrote:

However.....do we really have to be shown people screaming for help and dead bodies without ANY sort of warning that what we are about to see may be graphic?


You don't have warnings for graphic news stories?
We do here in Australia.

Helen


Occasionally, we do get a warning, but that is left up to the discretion of the particular news show's producer or the newspaper's editor. It doesn't happen often.

This is hardly something new. 9/11, Katrina, the Tsunami, etc. A disaster happens and the media floods us with news. It's a current event. I find it all a little graphic, which is why I usually watch The Weather Channel. But, even the weather channel has joined in on this one because it was a geological event, hence related to weather.

Speaking of which, it used to be considered completely inappropriate to display a corpse on the news. The army will freak out if you post a picture of a dead solider anywhere. When did this change???


Probably about the same time it became ok to show a toilet on primetime TV. It also used to be taboo to show a married couple in bed together, even if no sex was happening. Think of all the shows that had married couples in twin beds in the 50's and 60's. It used to be taboo, but media taboos have been pushed away through the years.

kk~
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 18, 2010 01:13 PM
^ Nuh uh, it's been taboo muuuuch more recently. The army has been freaking out about photos of dead or injured soldiers in Iraq.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By kandykanePremium member
On Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:42 AM
^ Probably because they don't want the soldiers' families to find out on TV that their loved one is dead in the field before they can be told. (This happened to me, by the way. I heard about my policeman uncle being shot and killed on the news before I could be told by family. It's not cool.) But, I was thinking about the corpses that have been shown on TV and in newspapers from previous wars, WWII, Viet Nam, Cambodia, etc.

kk~
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 19, 2010 04:47 AM
If people want more geographically close news network stories, why don't they watch their state news or local news. Most American networks are marketed for a global audience and therefore need to touch non American issues. Not overshadow any American news but be given the same coverage a crisis would warrant somewhere else.

And with the the crisis of Haiti not affecting anyone in America, what if they were was a disaster in Canada or Mexico? Would you not want it on your American new network because you only want US news? Or is it geographically close enough to be of more relevance?

But in the end, the news providers can decide to run their stories on whatever they want at the end of the day.
re: How much media attention is appropriate for the crisis in Haiti, or any other tragedy?
By seannettaPremium member
On Tue Jan 19, 2010 06:15 AM
^True, but careful in saying that the disaster in Haiti has no impact on anyone in America. What about all the Haitian-born Americans who are concerned for their own country? Or who are desperately waiting news to see if their families in Haiti are alive? Or what about American aid workers who were in the area at the time, or ones who are now being deployed there? What about American military, or the fact that the U.S. is basically operating the airport there?

The disaster hits closer to home than you might think.
Page:
Page 1 of 2: 1 2

ReplySendWatch

Powered by XP Experience Server.
Copyright ©1999-2021 XP.COM, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS