Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Media - the good and the bad.

This morning I ate my porridge whilst watching the chile miners being brought to the surface - a pretty tearful breakfast, I can tell you. What a wonderful feat of
engineering which has allowed these 33 miners to see the light of day again after
700,000 tons of rock trapped them for 69 days. (They are not all up to ground level yet but we live in hopes that it will all end happily).
The Atacama desert is a pretty unforgiving environment to start with - these chaps would have had a pretty awful life down that mine in normal circumstances - my goodness me, they are tough - and they have needed to be over the last 1600 hours. I suspect that this is an area where men have to be seen to be tough - and they have not disappointed.
There seems to have been a marvellous community spirit down there too - as all the men wanted to stay at the head of the shaft to welcome their comrades. But they are being taken to a field hospital instead. And don't let's forget the brave rescue workers who went down to them and who are staying until the last man is brought up.

Where did I get this information? You know, of course. I got it from the television live broadcast this morning and from The Times which I read from cover to cover every day. The media can be a wonderful thing, bringing this amazing feat live to our living rooms.

Why then did that same media - The Times, yesterday - find it necessary to go all the way to the Scottish Islands in order to pester, and photograph, the grieving
parents of Dr Linda Norgrove - the brave woman who has tragically been killed in
Afghanistan? They had said they did not want to make a statement. They have maintained their dignity throughout and have apparently been well-supported by the local community. But it is still thought necessary for us to see Linda's parents out walking with their dogs. And still maintaining their dignity, I might add. You could have forgiven them if they had set their dogs onto the photographer.

There is a line which should not be crossed and I really feel The Times has crossed it this time. I am sure our hearts go out to the parents and sister of Dr Norgrove - but I am equally sure that we would rather not see a photograph of them,
thank-you.


P.S. If you have enjoyed the few poems by my friend Joan Cairns which I have put on my blog recently - go to Poet in Residence's blog today (from my side bar) where he has done a feature on Joan and her poetry.

22 comments:

Jinksy said...

The line between news and intrusion is indeed fine. It would seem too many peope allow it to blur...

Penny said...

How horrid, I agree the media these days just doesnt really know when not to go in.
About your milk thing yesterday, I can see that if we are not careful here in Australia no one will drink pure milk, what people forget is that milk is not 100% fat and yet we are all being told to drink low fat or no fat or even soy milk which has to be adulterated so much so that you can take up the added calcium that probably came from cows milk in the first place. The world has gone mad, we are now having huge ads about not eating butter (again!) at least the chef programmes are making people realise that you need butter not margarine. we will be put out of business if we are not careful ( by we I mean my family who are dairy farmers).
Good fresh food in moderation never hurt any one, junk food does.
But publicity, politicians and the like are all prepared to put those who produce it out of business.

Gerry Snape said...

It's very hard nowadays not to be a voyeur. I love the newspaper every morning and am thankful that we are just about as open as possible compared to let's say China or Iran but the down side as you say is the peeping into the lives of some who are grieving and doing it in a dignified way. Hard to get a comprimise.

Heather said...

I get very angry with the press at times for their thoughtless handling of some events, and have written to complain on more than one occasion. I get the reply I expect - 'After long consideration it was felt to be in the public interest ......' Rubbish. It was more likely to be felt that they might sell more newspapers. If we wanted sensational gossip and voyeurism we'd buy a different paper.
Thank Heaven those Chilean miners are being brought out at last - what an horrendous ordeal for them and their families and what an amazing achievement for the engineers and rescuers.

willow said...

I'm off to check out Joan's poetry. Thanks for the suggestion....

Grizz………… said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grizz………… said...

Grizz………… said...
It is often a fine line between information and intrusion…and the guiding principal behind any such choice needs to be integrity. This is possible when one person owns the newspaper/magazine/TV outlet/radio station/ etc.—but nearly impossible when it's run by a board of financial investors where the autonomy of decisions favoring honor, compassion, and human dignity is trumped by the lust for profits.

As a longtime member of this selfsame media, I'm appalled at what I see, and thankful every day that what I write about is considered too far removed from "real news" that I'm given free rein to say—or not say—whatever I wish, invisible to editors and committees alike

Derrick said...

I suppose there are two sides to every coin and we don't get one without the other. But the media could allow people to grieve in private.
I don't have the slightest interest in today's celebrity culture but on the occasions when they (celebs) do transgress I think their misdeeds deserve just as much attention, which wouldn't be the case if the individuals had their way!

Pondside said...

I too have enjoyed the news of the rescue and all the media reports, but more and more the media are becoming an ugly thing. From reporters who skew public opinion with half truths and sensation, to those that intrude on grief to feed the prurient interest of some. I believe that one of my worst nightmares would be to come to the attention of the media for any reason.

Titus said...

Thanks Weaver, excellent post and food for thought. I too cried at the first miner's appearance (Boys: "MUM! It's great news!" - they have been avidly following the story and the engineering involved) and we read the same paper. Media intrusion has pros and cons - currently enjoying the Tommy Sheridan trial up here, of course, and that's all down to the News of the World, whose prurient interest in Mr Sheridan's private life appears to have exposed some truly apalling behaviour and attitudes - still, no verdict yet. But I think he's going down...
I am still mulling the "How Equal is Britain" reporting, and marvelling at those Chinese girls, both taking and not taking free school meals.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments - I think we are all agreed that there is a fine line and that sometimes the media crosses it.

The news from the Atacama desert continues to be wonderful - let's hope all the miners and the rescuers are soon out.

Leilani Lee said...

The good the bad and the ugly when it comes to the media. I cringe every time the morning news people stick a microphone in the face of some grieving person and ask "what did it feel like when you found out xxxx had died?" or some similar incredibly stupid question.

Victoria said...

fascinating blog - I found it from Derrick's - don't have time (at work) to explore much now, but I'll be back, and will visit the poetry bus too.

Victoria said...

fascinating blog - I found it from Derrick's - don't have time (at work) to explore much now, but I'll be back, and will visit the poetry bus too.

Tramp said...

Weaver
I shared your elation this morning. I got up early to finish some preparation for school today and I switched on the BBC world service to catch the tremendous atmosphere as the first miner came to the surface.
A few years ago I travelled through north through Chile and up into Bolivia. You are certainly right about it being an unforgiving environment but we experienced the community spirit you mention. Any moans I had about my workload at the moment seemed little when I tuned into this rejoicing.
...Tramp

George said...

While there are occasional good stories, like the one we are seeing unfold presently in Chile, I have finally come to the point of limiting my exposure to the media. I am usually frustrated with what is being covered or the way that it is being covered. I personally think that we were better off before the world was subjected to the 24/7 news cycles.

Reader Wil said...

I've just heard that already 24 miners have been rescued, still 9 to go. So tomorrow morning they will all be on ground level.
I am surprised that The Times took photos of Linda Norgrove's parents. I've always regarded The Times as a quality paper.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Always thoughful,sensitive,intelligent, considered and interesting news on this blog Weaver.

ChrisJ said...

Oh I think the media cross the line all the time. It's my favorite rant. I blame the media for so much -- but I won't rant here and to be fair we do need the media, I just wish they would use better judgement and think of the consequences of their efforts.

Caroline Gill said...

Jinksy is spot on.

Golden West said...

Seems like there are plenty of people eager to get in front of a camera and expose every thought they've ever harbored... The press should leave grieving people alone.

I just read that snow may be on its way to you, Weaver! Seems early!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems we are all agreed that the media can be far too intrusive. Thanks for the comments.