As predicted, the debate on the media coverage of the chile miners’ rescue continues this week. Yesterday, Media Standards Trust director Martin Moore expressed his disappointment at what he saw as a missed opportunity for news organisations to change the way they do foreign news.
At a time when most news outlets are having to cut costs, this would have been a prime opportunity for them to look at “doing foreign reporting on the cheap”, he said. But instead we heard that the BBC, for example, had spent more than £100,000 on its coverage and will now have to make cuts in the budgets for covering other events.
This was also, for the most part, conservative journalism that hugged close to audience expectations and demand. Much of the mainstream coverage wouldn’t have looked out of place a couple of decades ago. There were close knit professional teams (in the BBC’s case 26 people strong), doing much talking to camera, with frequent two-ways updating the audience.
Where were the local reporters? Where were the voices of the Chilean people? Where were the collaborations with other news organisations and with NGOs? Where was the creative use of all the content that was being streamed from the mine and elsewhere? The result? News organisations have less money to spend on stuff that needs more explanation.