Chaitén and the follies of the press 23 February 2010Posted by admin in Chaitén, Chile, volcano monitoring.
Tags: Chaitén, Chile, volcano monitoring, volcanoes in the news
Chilean newspaper El Repuerto has harsh words today for the sensationalist reporting by some sections of the press of the recent ‘red alert’ story. Under the rather neat headline ‘Chaitén: entre la alerta roja y la prensa amarilla’ (‘Chaitén: between red alert and yellow journalism’), the article points out that the red alert was nothing new and SERNAGEOMIN were simply reminding everyone that the volcano remained dangerous.
The writer argues that the press, however, were not interested in the facts, just in headlines about looming catastrophe. Nor are journalists generally interested in the South of Chile (or Argentina, for that matter), they only discover the place exists when they can write about a disaster there:
Once again grandiloquent journalism tempts us with its follies. This time it’s about the South, which exists, when convenient. ‘Red alert in Chaitén’, read the lurid headlines as old archive material showing southern localities under ash was dusted off.
Coverage in the Argentinan Clarín newspaper is held up as a particular example of the sensationalized reporting the writer is condemning.
(Under the ‘any volcano will do’ rules applying to the images used in news reports dealing with volcanic activity, El Repuerto‘s article is illustrated with a picture of Cleveland volcano in Alaska.)