News and information at what price?


Past weeks, everybody across the world has been paying attention to Hurricane Irma news. The hurricane that has devastated 10 countries and took the lives of 60 people, has attracted the attention of every news media corporation.

Irma has been covered by all the news shows. But these shows, with an enormous competition, look for formulas to fill their programs with attractive content to steal the audience of the competitors.

That’s all right so far. But the issue is that the fight between news media for getting the most impressive coverage has been sometimes irresponsible.  Scenes of reporters risking their lives have been repeated. In the middle of the hurricane and in the most dangerous areas, when the order of the government was to evacuate, there were many reporters reporting live in the middle of the storm for their channel.

That’s unacceptable because of two reasons. First of all, journalists have to be a role model to viewers. And disobeying safety orders of government, such as evacuating a dangerous area, is not exemplary behavior. People will try to imitate them or just underestimate the situation and risk their lives, too.

The second reason is that audience could view a death live. Fortunately, they didn’t. But it wouldn’t be surprising if that had happened, when we have seen reporters near to the sea with great waves, in the street when lot of objects were flying and they could crash into reporters, or when reporters were tied with ropes to prevent them of blowing away.

Television news can be an entertainment show and behaviors contribute to that show, but we need to think where are the limits of what we do as reporters. If the purpose of news media is to inform, I’m sure there are other safer ways to do the job and show the reality to an audience.