Media rant

Reporting by the media fails miserably again.

I was able to listen to radio news reports on the gigantic Japan quake through the night, courtesy of insomnia.

And again, after a nap, in the hours past dawn.

And yet again after I arose in late morning.

And not one report mentioned the epicenter! All reporters and show hosts referred merely to Japan.

Japan is an extended string of islands. Reporting that a temblor struck Japan is as informative as reporting that a hurricane is approaching the U.S. East Coast.

I’m so disgusted by the abysmal state of the vast majority of reporting (“reporting”), I want to pull my journalism hairs out by their roots.

An example of what could’ve been said:

A massive earthquake with a magnitude 8.8 hit off the Eastern coast of Honshu, the main island of Japan. Its epicenter was x-miles from Sendai, some 190 miles north-northeast of Tokyo.

(Quick check of AP Style indicates that Richter scale is no longer widely used.)

My journalism brain and ears are under continuous assault. In fact, if I hear “a quake hit Japan …” with its woeful absence of key information inherent to good reporting one more time, I’m gonna mutter curses hotly and switch off that danged radio button!

Look! Damn! Already did!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Erin Michel
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 14:15:40

    Although your point is not just valid but important, I think that most of the general public will accept the broad information being given; that particular detail isn’t as pressing as the news of hundreds of lives lost and even more affected by the results of the quake.


    • allycatadventures
      Mar 11, 2011 @ 14:26:59

      @Erin – No. Reporting “a quake struck Japan” fails to meet the most basic journalistic standards. Of course the human element cannot be avoided.

      However, journalism is journalism and its purpose is to report and meet the bar of objective information. The human element can be and should be included but not to the total exclusion of journalistic standards.

      Unfortunately, pandering to the emotions now too often replaces journalistic reporting; audiences long fed crap that passes itself off as “journalism” and “reporting” no longer recognize or appreciate true journalism. Or don’t care. They find nothing journalistically inappropriate about a camera shoved into the face of a grieving mother whose child just went missing. Sensationalism and emotions dominate. Those aren’t journalism.

      Sorry, Erin, I know of what I speak and on behalf of journalism will defend this one to the death. 🙂


  2. Erin Michel
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 15:24:44

    I wasn’t really trying to argue with you.


    • allycatadventures
      Mar 11, 2011 @ 16:38:09

      @Erin – I know that. I couldn’t but speak up ardently on behalf of the field that is my background and education and more importantly is in dire straits. When professional reporting that fails to meet the most basic of journalistic standards becomes publicly perceived and accepted as journalism, our world is a sorry one indeed, not only as a reflection of society but its future implications. In short, good solid reporting can and should be combined with human interest. Why must the baby (professional standards) be tossed out with the bath water?


  3. Karyn @ kloppenmum
    Mar 11, 2011 @ 15:31:08

    Tune into National Radio in New Zealand or TVNZ – both are on line, they both had great reports from about an hour after the earthquake. Damned awful for all involved.


    • allycatadventures
      Mar 11, 2011 @ 16:47:37

      @kloppenmum – My choice is Fox but getting up to go online or switch on the TV in the midst of an insomniac struggle is unwise and promises no sleep (as opposed to the 4 hours I may get by remaining in bed tossing and turning – lol). Among the innumerable Japanese in my life there, one I recall was/is from Sendai (near the epicenter) and so my many heartful thoughts are with him and his family, if they’re still alive, and of course the country and place that was my home.

      Japan’s early uncharacteristic requests for and acceptance of assistance speaks volumes. Soon as I heard that, I knew that they recognize the extent of the disaster.


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