Why so many British reporters covering the Japan disaster

My wife’s family lives in Tokyo, so we were glued to the TV for days, while trying to contact them. Fortunately, they were able to get up to relatives in Nagano Prefecture, north of the city.

We watched cable stations, the network news stations in the evenings, and some radio news. All of these seemed to cut to numerous reporters in Japan, a very large number of whom seemed to be British. At least they spoke with British accents.

How come?

The BBC is a major newscaster. Perhaps the news shows you were watching were using footage from the BBC. Other than that, I don’t know–

The anecdote I have is that the BBC keep a well staffed news group in many places around the world, and they’re a favorite source for other news gatherers to cite. This came up when that plane crashed in the river in NYC (remember, Captain Sully?) – wikipedia was citing the BBC, and on the talk page people scoffed and said, “Yeah, how about a local source, one that’s actually there?” And people shot back, the BBC is there, and they’re more more reliable than some local papers."

Are you sure you weren’t seeing CNN International reporters, or Sky News, ITN, or reporters from non-British English-language broadcasters? I watched some of the BBC coverage, and they seemed to use the same few reporters most of the time, as well as coverage from other broadcasters. I didn’t get the impression that they had a vast army of reporters on the scene.

Because they’re the best at putting that “tragic” tone in their voices? I swear they could make frolicking puppies sound like armageddon.