My wife asked me last week why it was that the world media had been so captivated by the story of the 33 miners trapped underground in Chile. There was no doubt in our minds that this was a tragic ordeal, and as the rescue is completed today there is nothing but relief in my mind and in the hearts and minds of those more directly affected by that ordeal. We discussed whether it was all about good PR by the mining company.
Just a few moments ago the same question came back when an acquaintance pointed out the relative lack of fervent media concern about the death and displacement of people and their homes in the floods in Pakistan last July. According to reports that I can find, 2000 people died and over one million homes were destroyed since the flooding began. The United Nations estimates that more than 21 million people were injured or homeless as a result of the flooding, exceeding the combined total of individuals affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004), the earthquake in Kashmir (2005) and the earthquake in Haiti (2010).
We know that the national and international media have their relative values for ‘newsworthy’ but this is something worth pondering.