Suggestion noted, Robby, and I might do it later on. I just think it's too soon to try to rope these topics in, so I'm going to leave them alone for the time being.
Velvet, I'm going to address one more point... at the risk of not agreeing to disagree. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] Honestly, I'm not trying to argue... I'm trying to explain.
Let's back up from 9/11 for a minute. Why do you think the Chronicle spends the money to send reporters to horse shows all over the country and the world? (Trust me, sitting at a H/J show in Podunk, Idaho, is not everyone's idea of fun! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] )
Because being there is integral to being able to tell, and show, the story.
The Chronicle can and does cover some shows by phone if budget or time doesn't allow someone to go in person. The reporters call up people who won, interview them, get photos from photographers who were there, and put a story together. But what's missing is the details that good reporters weave into a good story. All the "news" is still there -- but those intangible little details are missing.
Beezer's paper won a Pulitzer for their stories on the riots because they were there, and were able able to make the readers understand what it was like to be there. I'm sure they could still have informed their readers about the riots without actually living through them (I'm sure they would have PREFERRED that it happened that way!) but, by being there, their stories had that something extra.
Reporters go to the scene because they want to show the scene, and they want to talk to the people who are at the scene. The fact that any news organization that can get a reporter and a camera there is allowed to do so is a GOOD thing. This means that no one single entity is able to control or skew the coverage. (A la the official government "newspapers" in countries where the press is severely restricted.)
You said you don't see the necessity of having reporters at "ground zero"... You said those reports don't add to the impact for you. Fine and dandy. But for some of us, they do, and I'm glad the reporters are there. I hope you wouldn't deny me my right to get the news in the way that I would prefer, just because it's not the way you would prefer.
BTW, I don't think anyone would hold the OJ fiasco up as an example of the media's finest hour. But, again, it's easy to criticize in hindsight and it's a different story when the drama is unfolding live...
Also, why did ALL the stations have 24/7 coverage? Because it would seem ridiculous to talk about anything else. That's why Leno, Letterman, et al were off the air last week. They couldn't just pretend all of this wasn't going on.
ONE more thing. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] I take exception to your statement that the media goes for what is "easy"... OJ, for instance. Sorry, but no news organization worth its salt is just going to decide NOT to cover that story. It's big, it has to be covered.
But if you look a little closer, you'll see the media trying to champion the little people sometimes... I know the Chronicle tries to do this. Yeah, they have to write about Ms. Big Bucks when she wins at Big Horse Show on Milliondollar Moe. But if someone has a good story, they'll tell it... although I wonder sometimes if anyone actually reads those. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]
I'm really not trying to be argumentative, and I'll be the first to agree that there are some real pinheads in the media. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img] But please don't just brush off what they do as being unnecessary without trying to understand it.
Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
Points taken. I know I shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, but sometimes out here conversations devolve into generalities when things get heated.
As for the Chronicle, I think horse shows are different than these dangerous events. If someone is already there and the event happens, they should write about it, but I don't see why someone needs to run into a burning building to describe what it's like to be on fire. (One of those points where we have to agree to disagree.) I mean, telling me what it looked like, and what other people who experienced it because they had to (they were involved as victims, or they were firefighters and policemen/women) makes more sense to me. And, for the Chronicle's part, they need to go to all the shows, because no one else in this country covers the same events.
When I see every one of my local stations sending people to Washington and New York, that's when I see it as a feeding frenzy, or a battle for ratings. Usually they just repeat each other, and then I wonder why they are all bothering and not just pooling their resources (ah, but it's a business...)
I don't necessarily think that they should have been showing "Jerry Springer" instead of covering the news, but why can't they have someone in the background putting together more in-depth (instead of picking up on rumors) stories on the events and then putting them on TV.
I think the WB did the right thing by showing some innocuous movie the next night, and letting the other channels duke it out. I actually wish (yeah, this is a pipe dream) that the other channels would have gotten together and each decided to cover one aspect so people could just go to what interests them most. Maybe then the repeating of the image over and over wouldn't have bothered me because I wouldn't have seen it if I didn't want to.
I'm just rambling here. I'm not really annoyed anymore; just still disappointed by the behavior I saw the evening of 9/12 and all of 9/13 (not 9/11). Then again, hearing Katie Couric also made it better. When they admit to their mistakes, it shows that someone out there is actually aware of it and is willing to take responsibility. It's when they go into the overkill mode and don't seem to think there's anything wrong with some of the things they show and the image that they project ON TO (I use that term because most American's are passive viewers of news--and that information is in many studies) the public.
I'll repeat it again (and I know you get it, Erin) this is--JMHO.
There's lots of things I wish I didn't have to do as far as covering news is concerned...but let's remember...it is my job. That's what they pay me to do (and the reporters too). We DON'T like it. We usually try very hard to convince the higher ups that it is a bad idea to go to the disaster sight. And don't forget the all important police line. WE ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO GO AS CLOSE TO THE "SCENE" AS POLICE DEEM SAFE. (sometimes it still feels too close.)
We hate knocking on doors to ask the recently widowed woman how she feels to have lost her husband...
We hate going to funerals and looking like vultures...
We hate going to crime scenes...
We hate standing out in blizzards and hurricanes warning people to "stay inside at all costs" while we freeze/get blown away...
We are being paid to do a job, and the job is often unpleasant. Just keep that in mind when you think about news. Don't be angry with the reporters, or the photographers, or the cameraman. It is never our idea to be there. Be angry with station managers, news directors, editors, and producers. They are the decision makers...
Remember...though eagles may soar, weasles never get sucked into a jet engine.
The Southern California freeway system, stuck in an endless commute
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jennasis:
Don't be angry with the reporters, or the photographers, or the cameraman. It is never our idea to be there. Be angry with station managers, news directors, editors, and producers. They are the decision makers...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hey! I resemble that remark!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
****Bulletin Board Goddess****
Congratulate me! My CANTER cutie is an honor student at Goofball University!
Our paper is local, although the distribution's nearly that of the Washington Times, it's pretty much within the Washington DC/Metropolitan area, with the exception of a few places in Northern Virginia. Our editor went up to NY this weekend to take a look. Why? Because we paid him to? No, he went on his own time. He went up not because he'd get a pulitzer or any recognition for what he was writing -- let's face it, no matter how good our paper is, it's small, and our stories probably won't get mentioned to the big time.
However, he went up there because he wanted to understand his story and know what he was writing about. Yeah, we went to the Pentagon too (though that was easier). He said that he had some time and he wanted to see firsthand so he could report from beyond what's on CNN, with a firsthand view of it.
If they asked me to go, I'd do it. I know I won't win any huge awards for it, but to me, that's irrelevant. Why do I do this job? For me it's that taking pictures is one of the only things that makes me happy (besides riding) and writing a good story is another thing that makes me happy. It's a rush to see my stuff in print -- the good moreso than the bad. I love to write and take photos -- and this is a way for me to be able to do that.
I'm with Jennasis also -- none of us enjoy doing harsh news stories with sad endings. I've been blessed with the ability to turn off my emotions when I'm working with that stuff, but like I said before, when I go home, I feel it. And I'll say quite articulately that it really sucks to do that job, but someone's got to do it.
Actually, I went to the local mall last night - something I do once each year whether I need to or not (and always incognito, since I would die of embarrassment if someone actually saw me there) - and there are some really cute things out now. I sort of quit shopping during my 3.5 years with Willow as her shoes and my garb were more important (I have 2 custom made riding jackets and a plethora of other "show apparel"). This year there are actually clothes that a 30 year-old male can wear and not feel like he's attempting to look like a thug.
When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.
The Southern California freeway system, stuck in an endless commute
Velvet's question about *why* journalists do what they do is a good -- and important -- one. And I honestly value her opinions, no matter how much they might personally bother me. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
I work with photographers but am not one, nor do I assign them to stories -- since I feel can't I can truly speak "for" them, I'll stick to reporters and editors; I'm also talking only about print folks here -- I don't "know" TV and radio.
Reporters and editors (who generally used to be reporters) are born with more than their share of curiosity. They're nosy; they're amateur detectives; they want to know why and how, what "that" means and how "this" works. They like stories; they like to hear them, they like to tell them.
Other facets of their personality -- and life experiences -- dictate what area of news they turn that curiosity on: "investigative reporting" (think Watergate, the Olympic bribery scandal), "hard" or "breaking" news (that'd be your cops and robbers, criminals and courts, fires and floods), civic affairs (government, including all its endless agencies), business, environment, science, "soft news" (those would be the ones who do the "lifestyle" stories, travel, food and -- yes, for Suzy and Robby -- fashion).
Foreign correspondents are a whole 'nother breed. Ditto war correspondents -- who are usually foreign correspondents lucky or unlucky enough (depending on one's viewpoint) to be posted to a country that the rest of the world suddenly turns its eye on. They are generally the best of the best, the elite reporters who are enmeshed in the lives, policies and politics of the country they are assigned to. Many U.S.-born reporters heed that call; in many other cases, U.S. media outlets hire the best and brightest of the local journalists to be their eyes and ears overseas.
We're also really, really good observers -- a personality trait that our training builds on. "The human condition" fascinates us. We're intrigued by that old "who, what, where, when and why," and we have a talent for explaining it to those who may also want to know but don't know how or have the time to find it out.
On a story of this magnitude, yes, we are all tripping over ourselves. We can, do and will make mistakes. But consider us part of the team that is trying to find out the "who" and "why" and "how" so that it never happens again.
One of my reporters is a Vietnam vet. He is a wonderful character, even though most of the newsroom considers him a bit of a loose cannon. Having dug under the bluster, I've discovered a very kind -- and while he'd rip me a new one for ever saying this, even though he'd be blushing at the same time over the praise -- a very, very sweet, tender man with great wells of compassion for the people he interviews.
He -- like all of us -- took these attacks very, very personally. He's mined every source, tapped every tip, in hopes of rooting out a few terrorists. Silly? Perhaps. But it was a mission to him. A war to him. One he needed -- indeed, was compelled -- to fight. He "found" that a couple of them had lived locally; he uncovered details of their lives that even the police had missed. He shares with the FBI, the FBI shares what they can on the record and what they can't off the record, and the public gains.
I'm not sure if I've helped explain or just made things worse. But I am truly very, very proud of the work my reporters, and my paper, is doing. And I am reminded of just how important it is when I get calls like the one I fielded yesterday, from the teary-voiced woman calling to thank us for the stories we are doing. She had me crying, too, before she was done. Not that it takes that much to do that these days.
****Bulletin Board Goddess****
Congratulate me! My CANTER cutie is an honor student at Goofball University!
I for one was truly grateful for the 24-hour coverage. I was away in Massachusetts last Tuesday. Had I been home I would have been walking through the trade center at 8:45 AM on my way to my office in the world financial center. Being able to watch the events unfolding back home helped me out enormously- because phones weren't working all that well in New York City (if at all), that was my only link to friends and family back home. I watched constantly for a glimpse of anyone I knew.
If you don't like the coverage, don't watch it. But don't take it away from those who are looking for any detail about missing friends, family, coworkers.
Someone early on mentioned the pictures of people jumping out the windows of the WTC. As awful as those photos are, they are most certainly news. A friend of mine was nearly hit by a body when leaving his building.
Now, over a week after 9/11, I'm quite glad that stations like MSNBC have continued their continuous converage, but glad that some TV has gotten back to normal- particularly stations catering to children. But I honestly can't imagine being interested in soap operas or music videos right now- I'm certainly not.
I think the news coverage has been excellent thus far. I think there's been a good balance of hard news and more personal stories. How can anyone watch Howard Lutnick of Cantor Fitz talk about his missing brother and coworkers without feeling his pain? One other particularly touching moment that stands out in my mind was when Tom Brokaw first saw the picture of firefighters raising an American flag at ground zero and started crying. Even after all these years in journalism, he's still unable to hide his emotions when it comes to this. That says something.
One thing that I do wish is that the networks would do differently is to use a different shot of the ground zero area. What I've been watching here in NY on NBC is a shot of essentially West St.- which in a way I don't mind because I see my building all the time. But that's really just looking at the street, and not the actual area where the towers stood. But until you see the aerial shots, you can't comprehend how large the disaster area is- and how tough this is for the rescue workers, firefighters, and everyone else involved, no matter how remotely.
[This message was edited by Lily on Sep. 20, 2001 at 07:04 PM.]
Lily, I have a number of friends in NYC who say you can't appreciate just how devasted the area is from the news photos alone. I guess they're right. On the air, you only see a pile of rubble, filling up a small TV screen. You don't see how huge the area is, you don't smell it, and you don't get the soot in your eyes/on your clothes/in your lungs.
dogchushu, that's exactly what I meant. I actually just edited my post to clarify a little bit. The (relatively) small pile of rubble showed in most of the shots of the site doesn't do justice to the destroyed area. Not only did the towers come down, but so did two of the other buildings in the WTC complex. One Liberty Plaza, the Millenium Hilton, the remaining buildings in the WTC complex, and the four buildings of the World Financial Center are all heavily damaged- and those are just the buildings that immediately come to mind. The Winter Garden in the WFC was an absolutely beautiful atrium, complete with palm trees. I was looking on yahoo before and was devastated to see pictures of what it looks like now.
Of course, it's not easy to get those aerial shots of lower Manhattan, and I'd rather see West St. than nothing at all of ground zero.
Usually when I'm passing New York City on one of the bridges, I try to pick out my building, and this is pretty easy since I just look to the right of the trade center. When I was driving home from Massachusetts this past weekend, I tried to do just that, and obviously couldn't- that's when it really hit home for me.
I agree with you guys...I think it's very hard to totally absorb what it is really like at the scene of any disaster from pictures and video. Even though there was tons of news coverage of the Northridge Earthquake here, it didn't come close to what it was like to really be here and see the disaster first hand. And with the riots here, you just can't capture the odd silence in the air (in a suburb where the violence was minimal) and shutdown of businesses when we were under curfew after dark. And I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for people close to this disaster.
My husband is a firefighter, so I asked him his perspective on the media and whether or not they get in the way. He said that a long time ago, he sort of thought the reporters would get in the way sometimes, but now he's actually appreciative of their efforts to capture the scene. He really likes the great pictures that they are able to take, and appreciates that. Of course, he really likes it when they get a pic of him and it winds up in the paper. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]