Aftershocks — What Remains After Earthquake-Disasters
If you think of natural disasters, which happened in 2016, you’ll probably remember the devastating series of earthquakes, which struck Italy in August or the recent fatal quake in New Zealand. Both of these tragedies have in common, that media coverage in those two cases, had been provided very consistently.
The mentioned articles deliver a rash of “scientific” information, like the respective quake’s magnitude or the exact position of their epicentres, “numeric” information about the number of casualties and the costs of the caused damage, as well as “personal” information, such as reports and stories of eye-witnesses and survivors. All of these news are accompanied by videos and pictures of destroyed areas and social interaction amidst the chaos. Even the time after the first, major catastrophe gets covered, especially in the case of Italy, as seen in this example:
11/13/2016: “Earthquake in Italy — Nothing Learned From History”:
Nach den schweren Erdbeben in Italien hat die Regierung den Menschen versprochen, dass schnell mit dem Wiederaufbau…www.deutschlandfunk.de
Apart from simply reporting facts concerning the natural disaster and its consequences for the people affected, this article opens up a whole new level of political discourse, based on the former news about the earthquake. Maybe, this kind of in-depth coverage contributes its part, to make this disaster especially rememberable.
“Especially rememberable” to whom? And compared to what?
Of which natural disasters in 2016 did you really think, after reading the introduction of this article? Were those two events actually part of it? And were you aware of the fact, that none of these earthquakes are actually the worst that happened in 2016, so far?
In terms of death toll and magnitude, the most severe earthquake of 2016 happened in April, in Ecuador. However there are, at least in german-speaking media, much less news articles available, which provide video- and photo sources concerning this and almost none, which actually discuss political consequences and rebuilding efforts. The fact that there are articles written in german media, which deal only with the aftermath of Italy’s quake 3 months ago, shows how relevant this topic seems to be for a german audience — apparently more relevant than the same questions regarding Ecuador.
Of course one could argue that Italy is, geographically and politically spoken, much closer to Germany than Ecuador. But does this really mean Ecuador’s future and its status quo deserves less attention in german media? What does it say about a society, if “relevancy” and “interest” is only determined by adjacency to the own home?
And apart from this, shouldn’t good journalism rather create interest and relevancy by the quality of its report, instead of only providing news material that becomes temporarilly interesting, due to its urgency and gets forgotten a few weeks thereafter?