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We need to talk about News's addiction to disaster porn...

OpinionSteve Molk

Image - Seven

OK. Let's talk about the TV coverage elephant in the room that is Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

It's getting crazier by the minute in North Qld. Absolutely we all should be concerned about everyone's safety as a massive cyclone bears down on them all.

This, however, is what commercial TV networks *live* for. The chance to go live & deliver rolling coverage. It's their crack.

It's absolutely important that the media are there to capture the before and the after of the storm. Important for those there & us distant. Historical. The risks that many journos take in the getting of these pictures, however, is ludicrous. And it keeps happening, & getting worse.

By now we should have all seen a journo out in the storm saying "stay indoors". Again. AGAIN. It happens 👏 every 👏 time.

The push from their COS/Networks to get the defining shot is paramount. Absolutely their safety is important - but you get the shot & you're golden. So journos/camos take risks. Unnecessary ones. Ones that I'm surprised we haven't seen more serious injuries because of. PLUS with all those hours of coverage to fill, we can't keep crossing to journos sitting in their dry hotel room telling us there's a storm!

If you get a storm gig like this, it can make your career. The right place at the right time means your report will be *everywhere*. Add to that - this is how a young, hungry journo gets noticed by the bosses down south. Give a great PTC or stand up & suddenly they take notice.

The audience takes notice too (which is why the bosses notice). These are significant moments to build trust so show your mettle.

So, for journos, a massive event like this is a perfect storm (apologies) for their career. Fail to capitalise & you risk missing out on the fast track.

We, the audience, enable all this. By tuning in obsessively to watch the coverage. It's the worst chicken/egg exercise ever. Our insatiable appetites for news/disaster/emergency porn has meant the Networks *have* to go to rolling coverage, which means risks *must* be taken.

By all means be concerned. Worry about your friends & family being affected. Do you really need the TV/livestream on all day?

Maybe by changing our consumption patterns when the disaster isn’t directly affecting us we can change what gets delivered to us.


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