Thursday, August 16, 2007

Earth to TVNZ

Last night I saw the item on the news about the bridge collapsing in China during rush hour traffic, it was shown at 6.22pm. I was thinking “Gosh, doesn’t this sound a bit familiar?”

On 1st August a bridge collapsed into the Mississippi in Minneapolis at 6.10pm local time (11.10am 2nd August NZ Time), it was first reported that 7 people are believed to be dead. This news led the TVNZ news bulletin along with the Brauer verdict. The story was very in depth with pictures along with the story, then crossing to no less that two internationals correspondents TVNZ’s own Tim Wilson and ABC’s Andrew Colton, the live crosses took up a total of 3 minutes as well as everything else, the story may well have had 5 or 6 minutes coverage.

Jump forward almost two weeks, 13th August 4.40pm local time (8.40pm 13th August NZ Time) a bridge collapsed in Fenghuang, China, it was first reported that “more than 20 people had died”. This story came 22 minutes into the new bulletin and took up a total of 19 seconds….literally 19 seconds.

Let’s figure this out, both bridges collapsed in rush hour traffic, both had fatalities (American for deaths). So why does TVNZ put more focus on what appears to be the less important/serious event?

In the Minneapolis story TVNZ had less than seven hours between event and live 6pm news bulletin, in that time they organised two international correspondents and made the decision to lead with the story. In Fenghuang they had more than 21 hours before the next live 6pm news bulletin and we get a 19 second piece at 6.22pm.

So a bigger tragedy, with more time to organise a story gets less coverage than a smaller tragedy with less time to organise…?

Anyone care to offer suggestions as to why this is?

Let's be honest, this is not a case of Earth to TVNZ, this is a case of Earth to the NZ Media. I am sure all the others followed suit, so let’s not necessarily pick on TVNZ. Lets ask the people who decide what we see on our screens what makes news in this country...