Some more reflections on how the news media has been covering the Christchurch earthquake (#eqnz on twitter).
My previous post reflected my reaction as a member of the public without much access to technology and media during Saturday and Sunday. I was aware of difficulties in quality media coverage getting off the ground in the first few hours after the quake but was reasonably happy with what I saw during Saturday and Sunday when I could access media.
However it’s becoming more apparent that there were issues and that they need to be looked at.
TV3′s lack of continuous coverage on Saturday has created some ructions within that broadcaster. Mike McRoberts has expressed his frustration about this as reported in today’s NZ Herald.
RadioNZ did have a special morning report on at 7am, but resumed ordinary programing and didn’t get it’s act together until well into Saturday morning. That’s simply not good enough.
TVNZ had ongoing coverage throughout the day and into the night. Not sure exactly when they kicked it off.
Prime TV too seemed to have coverage throughout the day. And well into the night. (update on this coming)
I’ve had a number of emails from people reading my previous post saying that they got better coverage from overseas media.
And I’ve discussed the important role that social media has played. Allowing people to make contact with each other via their mobile phone applications for Facebook and Twitter. And providing people with up to date information that the news media wasn’t providing.
It appears that social media was the place where meany people went to get information. I think it’s certainly worth investigating more the important role it plays. Many organisations, including Civil Defence are now using social media effectively, in particular Twitter.
I received info on this new Govt website on the Canterbury Earthquake today via Twitter before any other media.
Blogs like Red Alert are also playing an important role.
My colleague Brendon Burns and Lianne Dalziel are reporting directly on Red Alert from their Christchurch electorates on the extent of the devastation and the human stories they are encountering. All Chch based MPs are affected and working tirelessly. I, like many of my colleagues, feel a bit helpless.
I hope that all NZ media reassess their ability to respnd quickly in an emergency to provide the nation and those directly affected with accurate information and quality reporting. One of the things this emergency has revealed is that there appear to be no working journalists overnight in our country and that our ability to respond quickly at a weekend leaves quite a bit to be desired.
Our public media services; radio and TV and web-based are the most critical at a time like this. We need them to be resourced and responsive.