Do Media Personalities Hurt Haitian Relief?

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Both CBS and CNN sent about 50 staffers to Haiti in the wake of the recent earthquake. Fox sent 25. ABC, NPR, newspapers, websites, and other media outlets all sent their own reporters and photographers, too. Meanwhile, nurses and search-and-rescue teams were stranded in the United States–ready and waiting to help the Haitian relief effort–unable to get there because of transportation bottlenecks. Once in the country, reporters need to find places to stay, supplies for their reportage, and places to eat. Based on admittedly anecdotal evidence, Noam Scheiber writes in the New Republic that these media personalities inevitably raise the price of goods, occupy valuable places to stay, and take resources away from the Haitian relief effort.

And the journalism that has emerged from the army of media that has descended upon Haiti has been largely redundant. To curb the deluge of media personalities, Scheiber suggests the creation of a “disaster pool” of reporters, who would share their reportage with all the major networks. Just as with White House coverage, where a single interview is often used by many news outlets, smaller teams of reporters could be sent to disaster-stricken areas to cover the story for multiple networks. The news is still broadcast throughout the world, and more resources go where they’re really needed.  

Source: The New Republic

Image by Nehrams2020, licensed under Creative Commons.

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