Many of us have had family members involved in the recent Victorian bushfires. And the media has played no small part in keeping us all informed. Even Google jumped on board by providing a dedicated Victorian Bushfires map.
Onlinepeaks with excitement whenever a tragedy befalls a nation. As the fires unfolded the online chatter increased at almost the same rate as the fires themselves.
It’s all part of informing the public and creating relevant content … and of course remaining popular for the sake of advertising. But at what point is the line drawn when so-called analysis is used to discuss a certain catastrophic event? When is the right moment to start making comments on what could have been done better?
One article appearing in The Guardian The ‘continent of smoke’ is still burning certainly stirred up the online forum. It showed that we as journalists need to first have a large dose of empathy before making comments on tragic events. It showed that patronising journalism has no valid place to exist. However, this particular newspaper has been noted for its quick criticism of all things Australian.
Update Feb 11/09: A response from the Australian media. The article Brit’s fire blast patronises pioneers by Journalist Rosslyn Beeby is worth a read.
Then of course there are the first-hand accounts. The type of journalism that brings the reader along for the journey and says nothing more than what actually happened. And nothing more moving than I now understand the word ‘firestorm’ which appeared in The Age. Or, this first-hand account by journalist , a senior writer for The Australian titled How we cheated flames of death.