Media coverage of the quake and tsunami in Japan
matteo.boscarol at gmail.com
Sun Mar 20 04:37:55 EDT 2011
Let me add just an example of rubbish-journalism from Italy:
La Repubblica ( the second largest circulation newspaper in Italy):
"Saitama, the stadium-shelter of contaminated people" (of course
there are many photos focusing on people wearing masks...)
Sent from my iPhone
On 2011/03/20, at 15:35, faith <faithbach at yahoo.co.jp> wrote:
> Thanks to Maria Jose and everyone else who has tried to talk back to
> these idiots. They should know (altho I daresay they would decline
> to report it) that here in Kansai seven prefectural govts, under the
> lead of Gov Hashimoto of Osaka, have begun to organize serious long-
> term shelter relief using empty govt-owned condos, school
> dormitories and other comfy places. Present capacity 22,000 at
> first report with more on the way. [Daily Yomiuri today, p.2] They
> are ready to welcome evacuees as soon as transpo networks allow them
> to move down here, and are organizing so that current shelter
> populations can stay together to remain with friends & neighbors in
> Kansai. Food, medicine & other supplies will be laid on
> indefinitely by the prefectural govts and administered by govt
> workers & volunteers.
> This is how the Funny Little Japanese deal with their crises. I for
> one am bloody proud of them.
> FB, Kyoto
> --- On Sun, 2011/3/20, Maria Jose Gonzalez <tkarsavina at yahoo.com>
> Thanks for your insights,Roger.
> I have been dismayed at the coverage myself and the endless lists of
> lies,misinterpretations and ignorance/arrogance in all the European
> media.I turned on to the BBC World channel yesterday and only lasted
> three minutes.A special correspondent sent from China appeared on
> the screen.This has been key to the whole issue,most journalists are
> now based there,not in Japan,and have thus little or no language
> skills and surprisingly very little general and basic knowledge
> about Japan which has suffered greatly from this absence since
> newspapers and TV channels decided that they had to move to the new
> economic power in the area.This correspondent was about to interview
> Chinese nationals waiting outside their embassy and happily
> introduced his report by saying that "more than half of the workers
> in Japanese factories are Chinese"... Stunned,I switched off.
> A few days earlier,Spain's most important paper announced that the
> Japanese emperor in an extremely unusual move had addressed their
> people for the first time in history...When I complained,they said
> they had not taken into account official acts but addresses like
> this in a time of crisis.I then asked if addressing the nation for
> the first time to announce inconditional surrender after the bombs
> in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WW2 was crisis enough for them.They
> ended up elastoplasting the article here and there with little
> Of course,the news theatre has now moved elsewhere and Japan,or
> should I say the foreigners in Japan whose fate so seemed to worry
> their governtments and the media,forgetting the real victims,does
> not feature as prominently today.After all,the big nuclear explosion
> did not happen and their audiences might be getting tired of yet
> another funny report about those odd Japanese.
> A while ago,I was watching a press conference organised by the Tokyo
> Fire Brigade chiefs that had travelled to Fukushima to help.One of
> them was really moved and teary trying to convey the disaster zones
> he had travelled through (by the way,foreign media has discovered-
> and made a big point of-the capacity of the Japanese to cry) while
> another,ten times more verbally able and confidence-exuding than any
> of the Tepco engineers and Nuclear Agency spokesmen,explained how
> they had carried their operations and stretched their hosepipes to
> better dose the reactors.
> While he was doing so,he was showing a photocopied diagram to which
> he had added some fire brigade cars in red,I found this most
> endearing and called my attention again to the whiteboards with
> written words and numbers we had seen all week.What in other
> countries would have been simulations,powerpoints and slides,here
> had been basically pen and paper or board.
> Long again,apologies,so much to reflect upon...
> Maria-Jose Gonzalez
> --- On Sat, 19/3/11, Roger Macy <macyroger at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> From: Roger Macy <macyroger at yahoo.co.uk>
> Subject: Media coverage of the quake and tsunami in Japan
> To: "KineJapan" <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
> Date: Saturday, 19 March, 2011, 9:45 PM
> Media coverage of the quake and tsunami in Japan
> Dear KineJapaners,
> I was also glad to have the silence on this list broken and to hear
> from friends. I sincerely hope that those I have not yet heard from
> are safe and do not have friends or relatives afflicted by these
> There have been direct and indirect references to media coverage of
> the disaster on the threads ‘Fundraising Screening of CALF …’
> and ‘the eerie silence on KineJapan …’ [which we have well-and-
> truly broken!]. But I would like to hear of members’ takes on the c
> overage when they are ready. My own contribution is a little long,
> so feel free to file or delete.
> When I turned on this Saturday morning, here in the UK, just before
> 8am (in fact, to set my radio timer), there was a studio interview
> started, on BBC News 24, in a ‘Newswatch’ slot, of Kevin
> Blackhurst., who I see is Controller of the channel.
> I should straightway give some credit that the interview took place,
> even though, to me, Blackhurst this week has seemed like
> pornographer-in-chief. The interviewer (didn’t get a name) was rela
> ying viewers’ complaints that the BBC and other channels had unneces
> sarily despatched and fronted star reporters, when some pooling with
> other channels, namely ITN news, would have been more appropriate,
> and that the reporting had been too excitable. Blackhurst posited t
> hat his people were reporting, not presenting, a proposition with wh
> ich I absolutely disagree. He also answered in a way that the ‘that
> ’ he purported to be answering was the presentation of the nuclear s
> ituation, not the actual disaster that has actually already happened
> . To my mind, that was a full admission of guilt.
> The other topic of viewers’ – no, the audience’s – complaints
> that I heard was not being able to hear the headlines over the jingl
> es. In this brief discussion ‘hear’ and ‘understand’ were
> used interchangeably – an equivalence that is fundamentally misconce
> ived for reporting from a non-english-speaking country. This, to me
> , was the subject that should have been discussed and wasn’t.
> The jingles for 8am then came on – somewhat muted, I thought - and t
> he Libyan situation was covered. When we got to Japan , a named rep
> orter was interviewed with a Tokyo backdrop and presented only the s
> ituation concerning the nuclear plants at Fukushima . We were told
> that the Fukushima fifty were getting massive amounts of radiation.
> “Massive” was a naked epithet, given fully pornographic emphasis.
> [ I have read, read in the Guardian, I think, that that the team had
> been both considerably reinforced and rotated – any clarification g
> ratefully received.] He did say that radiation in Tokyo was negligib
> le but that was it – nothing else in Japan was newsworthy – onto
> the next story, this one’s dying.
> To my mind, it’s the editing that’s at fault. The stars perform
> as directed. Nothing gets corrected. The nearest to a correction i
> s that ‘large/massive earthquake in Tokyo ’ on Radio4 gets
> superseded by maps. But we were told, for example, that several tra
> ins were missing, including a shinkansen with 400 people and we get
> shown pictures of mangled local trains. I’m told that the Japanese
> media have reported that all trains were evacuated, but desensationa
> lizing isn’t newsworthy.
> I had sworn, after the Twin-towers attack, and its toll of time and
> depression, never again to inflict upon myself those weeks of
> woefully edited news. It should not, in 2001, have taken weeks for
> the purported death toll to come down below 100,000 and for us to
> understand that just about everyone below the impacts had got out.
> Numbers, thankfully, seem to one thing our transported stars seem to
> be able to pick up, so the casualties, although of an appalling
> magnitude, are already being reported more responsibly than in 2001.
> [But they have to be served up in western numerals for them; ‘daiich
> i’ is conveyed as a place name.] Alas, that responsibility seems to
> be confined to that one ‘island’ where they are following the
> Japanese media.
> The complaint I hear here is of the sheer imposition and
> insensitivity of imposing our stars upon the hospitality of
> desperate people in need - and there are, after all, hundreds of
> national audiences to be entertained by different teams. I accept
> that conveying the tragedy and getting a sense that some survived is
> important news reporting and is best done by interview. But if the
> interviewees need to be translated, what is gained by having an
> english-speaking interviewer? – given that so much understanding and
> initiative has to be lost in the process? More importantly, in ter
> ms of ethnic prejudice, why is a victim report only true if mediated
> through an english-speaking star?
> Lack of language skills in the newsroom is deplorable but actually
> surmountable in this media age, with a little humility. Since many
> clips are endlessly repeated in ‘breaking news’, a posting on-
> line would rapidly elicit a translation (which should, for safety’s
> sake, be attributed). If newsrooms want to prefer voice-overs to s
> ubtitles they will doubtless pursue that. Even without necessity, t
> here is some acceptance of small-screen subtitles (http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/mar/04/the-killing-bbc-danish-crime-thriller/print
> ) but, in any case, there is no excuse for ducking both formats and
> bluffing it out without star-led descriptions of pictures already se
> en. By that stage, we have descended to something that should fairl
> y be called pornography
> Postscript: clearly, I did not keep my media-self-denying vow, to my
> bitter regret. It’s harder, of course, with everyone phoning to ask
> after my daughter, sensationalised by coverage by more unbridled po
> rnography elsewhere. [Mrs Kamahara is fine in Tokyo, a bit demorali
> sed like others, about the ex-pats leaving, but happy that her siste
> r-in-law with a baby to feed has gone down to the family in Nara. An
> d she’s found toilet-paper.]
> If you got this far, thanks for reading it.
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