Media coverage of the quake and tsunami in Japan

Me matteo.boscarol at
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...)

Matteo Boscarol

Sent from my iPhone

On 2011/03/20, at 15:35, faith <faithbach at> 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>  
> wrote:
> 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  
> interest.
> 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> wrote:
> From: Roger Macy <macyroger at>
> Subject: Media coverage of the quake and tsunami in Japan
> To: "KineJapan" <KineJapan at>
> 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  
> tragedies.
> 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 ( 
> ) 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.
> Roger
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