Sending Reporters To Disaster Areas For Live Reporting: Good Idea?

It just seems sort of silly to me.
First of all, the last thing those areas need is another mouth to feed, body to house and crew to deal with at the site.
Secondly, most of the real work is done by camera crews out getting footage, or using local footage from local news.
And lastly, do we really need to see “name celebrity” newscaster standing in front of the little doll found in the mud, showing a child might have died?

Of course we want to see coverage of the disaster - but surely there are reporters locally who speak enough English to convey events. Why ship a crew of reporters/camera people, production assistants and drivers, etc. to an area that needs every scrap of food, supplies and space?

Besides, this is dangerous stuff!

Executive Producer: Hey DMark, pack up and get ready to go - we have an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown happening and you have to be there!
DMark: Uh, maybe I should just wait until the locusts and plague arrive…
Executive Producer: No, you have to be there now. The audience wants to see you in a nice suit, standing next to death and destruction.
DMark: How about using a green screen - they could CGI me into the scene and I could point to stuff…
Executive Producer: Your flight leaves in half an hour…
DMark: Anne Curry is a bitch - send her instead…
Executive Producer: She’s already there and checking into the Four Seasons as we speak - oh, and she asked if you could bring some Brie cheese as it is hard to find there right now…

Send them all to Fukushima?

I think part of it is a branding thing. The networks want “their guy” on the scene…so then the world knows that (Big Network Name) really cares. And shit.


Ratings no doubt confirm that people do in fact like their reporters to be out in the midst of it all.

Ratings = revenue. Pretty simple.

The previous posts NAILED what I trying to say b4 my PIECE OF @#%! computer crashed!

I agree with you. And it’s not just ABC/CBS/NBC sending a couple of people each. There’s also all of the cable news networks. Plus there’s probably media from ten or twenty other countries there as well. This seems like the sort of thing for which a pool reporter would be a good idea.

Every news organization wants to put their own stamp on things. CNN might cover the disaster from the standpoint of the death toll and comment about how their possible meltdown affects our efforts at nuclear power here, while Fox might cover the disaster from the standpoint of whether the Japanese deserve this payback for Pearl Harbor or some other stupid shit

Reporting is not about conveying the facts of a story; if it were, your alternative proposition would be quite sufficient (or even radioed-in voiceovers with video footage of what’s going on, with no need for the actual reporter to be on camera). Reporting is about promoting sensationalism while raking in fat wads of cash, and a well-known pretty face is more likely to do that than a face and voice you’ve never seen/heard before.

I especially enjoyed watching the footage of the damaged powerplants where they intercut several shots of Chernobyl with no comment. Based on the voiceover, you’d expect all the pictures to be more or less live footage of the plants in Japan.

Never, and I mean NEVER, allow facts to intrude on a good story.

The talking heads have arrived, Anderson Cooper in his big gun busting Tshirts giving us the disaster tour…missing people boards, crushed buildings etc etc…

What news is this anyway? not impressed…

What I do want to hear about are narrow escapes, the missing but turned up alive stories, these are already making news without the help from A/C and co.

I’m sure there are branding concerns, but to cover some stories, you do need to be where the events are happening. You want to show people what’s happening and you want the journalists to see things for themselves. Lord knows what coverage of Libya would look like if people couldn’t refute Gaddafi’s version of events.

And not to be overlooked is that the journalists want to be there. That’s why they take these jobs. If there’s a revolution or a major disaster, they want to be there, see it, and tell people about it.

…and allow me to hijack my own thread.
On NBC news they, like all the other stations, already have their nice graphic design for this disaster. However, whenever they cut to that graphic and show pictures of Japan, they have to have the flute playing “oriental” music in the background.
Is this to remind us the disaster happened in Asia? Are people confused that Japan might be north of Luxembourg?

Which brings me to a question - when a disaster strikes in the US, what “typically American” background music do other countries use when showing photos of death and destruction here?
Born In The USA? Theme song from Bonanza? Jimmy Crack Corn?

That’s called not giving your audience any credit. Or just plain old insulting their intelligence.

My sister used to be a local news TV reporter, and she always laughs at obligatory “Here I am standing outside in the storm” footage.

Yeah, storm footage is another category. That shit is ridiculous.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
ETA: :wink: (In case it wasn’t obvious.)

I agree it’s a waste of money. I am so sick of ABC News how all their reporters and anchors do the “low talk voice,” and constantly strive for the “humanity” angle of it.

Like Diane Sawyer and her “and amid all this rubble is the picture of the little baby and his shoes, and yet there is a clock still ticking to say ‘life goes on’.”

I was like, “Yeah it’s a battery operated clock, why shouldn’t it work.”

It was especially bad since there was a cow behind her all the time that kept eating and looking into the camera. And the cow kept looking like, “See what happens when your people. Your stuff is all destoryed, but here am the supposed dumb cow, and my life is still the same as it was last week.”


Whenever there’s a Big News Orgy going on, I always secretly hope a camera will accidentally pull back to a wide shot to show umpteen reporters from every major news network around the world standing shoulder-to-shoulder while doing their “oh the humanity” routines.

That would be very funny.

Despite the pomp and the absurdity that sometimes goes with these broadcasts, there’s really not much of an argument against this kind of reporting. (And so what if it’s expensive? You’re not paying for it.) There are a lot of situations that cannot be covered as well from a distance over the phone or email.

For some reason I’m picturing a glurgey female soprano solo, like they have on those “feed the starving children” and Humane Society commercials