February 20, 2010

Context: A vital part of journalism

I just unloaded on some of the reporting coming out of Haiti, especially the reporting on the 10 just-released Baptist missionaries.

Rather than repeat everything here, go to DR and Haiti stories: Where's the context?

TBH, I've been shouting at the reporting since the first day of the earthquake. Granted, most of it is pretty straight forward but there was/is enough to get me riled.

I worked on search and rescue during the 1985 Mexico City earthquakes (8.1 and 7.8). Most of the SAR techniques used in Haiti came from the experiences in Mexico. The SAR teams from the USA and Europe all credit the work done in Mexico as the reason their teams and training are set up the way they are.

Yet, there was nothing about this in the media reports. (Hint: GMU j-students, go talk to the Fairfax County special team that went to Haiti. They will explain how 1985 shaped what they are doing today.)

And now there are stories about Baptists, child trafficking and Dominican-Haitian relations.

Is it really too much to expect that there should be SOME explanatory grafs in these stories to talk about what is going on beyond the immediate?

Context! Context Context!

It sure seems to be missing in most of the stories I have seen/heard on Haiti.

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