Friday, December 05, 2008

Lustig on our international news values

A good piece by the BBC's Robin Lustig who takes a look at journalism's new values over at his excellent blog

We journalists are good at reporting sudden events. We're good at surprises, the bigger the better. We call them "news".
We're not so good at things that happen slowly, or over a long period of time. We're also not very good at things that happen in places that are dangerous or difficult to reach, where there's no reliable power supply to recharge our cameras, mobile phones and satellite transmission equipment. In other words, we're much better in big modern cities

He is referring in particular to coverage of Zimbabwe and DRC ongoing crises that have claimed many lives but doesn't necessarily take the headlines

(Interestingly as I type this Zimbabwe is the first story on Radio 4's PM-Maybe someone at the BEEB is listening to Lustig)

Back to Robin who points out that in the five major terrorist attacks starting with 9/11 and ending in Mumbai,around 3,500 people died whereas

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the other hand, an estimated five million people have died as a direct and indirect result of conflict. In Darfur, an estimated 200,000 people have died. In Zimbabwe, we don't even have an estimate

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