MEDIA GETS TOGETHER TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE TSUNAMI VICTIMS
Now here's a cool
thing. For the first time in Australian broadcasting history
the three commercial channels are simulcasting a fund-raising
event to raise money for the people who have suffered at the
hands of nature. Channel 10 will be in control of the event,
with channels 9 and 7 patching into the events. Top presenters
from all three channels will be hosting the show, which will
feature top Australian singers, broadcast "live" from
the Sydney Opera House this Saturday night.
has never happened before. Australian TV is fiercely and agressively
competitive - using the US style of broadcasting - but this
is quite extraordinary. I don't know if you're a broadcasting
buff, but I'll tell you this. Channel Nine in Australia leads
the way. There's NINEMSN, just as there is MSNBC in the United
States. Channel Nine is the king of TV here. However, Channel
Ten was the one with Australian Idol, and the Idol singers will
be dominating this show. So Channel Ten got the gig, and Nine,
for once in its life, has to not just step back from the limelight,
but actually carry a Channel Ten show. It's hilarious! I love
this shit, because the underdog is winning. I will give you
a report on how the show went when I update this site on Sunday.
If you care, stay tuned!
January 4th 2005, Sydney Australia
creates a media frenzy across Asia
Just twelve days
ago I wrote a story about the media "doing a runner"
in Summetime here in Australia because there was simply no news
to report during the silly season. (more)
Well, unfortunately this year I was very wrong.
Australia is in fact
part of Asia. Just to our north is Indonesia - one of the many
areas affected by the Tsunamis. Our primetime reporters - who
are normally on holiday - are now in all the troubled areas,
reporting the horrific events every moment of the day. As much
as I hate to say this, news organisations get a buzz from these
events. I was watching our Nine Network last night, and just
like the other commercial TV stations here, we are being fed
news of the events in a magazine style format - personal stories
of particular families, with interviews of screaming mothers,
sisters, brothers, fathers. These people are still in shock
- their worlds torn apart, and its a 7'3" segment for each
story, squashed in between highly paid-for commercials, with
millions watching their private personal grief.
The ad-reps for the TV stations are prematurely back at work,
because the silly season has abruptly come to an end, and the
advertising has tripled in price. This is big business at a
traditionally baron time of the year for advertising. There's
big money in broadcasting emotions - especially tragic ones.
So they pump out the stories day after day, and we who are just
as guilty, watch it with a kind of gruesome fascination.
I can't even comprehend or visualise 150,000 people as dead.
The figure seems too unbelievable, or unreal, or something.
It's interesting that the Tamil Tiger guerrillas, a splinter
group operating in the north of Sri Lanka for autonimous control
over the past twenty years, are now getting support from the
official government so they can all clean up the mess there
- together! How ironic that an act of nature of this
enormity is what it takes to bring feuding sides together -
and how sad. But it is good coming out of bad.
And here's another thing. There were four car bombings in Iraq
on December 4th. It barely rated as a news story under the weight
of what's going on in Asia. These terrorists feed off the media,
and now they are starving for attention and no one is really
listening. Terrorists don't see the point in bombing places
when there's no media to report it.
I spent 6 days, between December 26th and January 3rd on a remote
peninsula off the south of Victoria where we had no electricity
- or communication - for the very period since the tsunamis
erupted. I had heard of an earth quake before we left on 26th,
but had no idea of what was about to happen - until yesterday.
I thought it would be great to get away from radio and television.
And it was, but when I came back and switched on BBC World,
I was watching - for the first time - the images everyone else
had been watching for a week. It was strange being so behind,
especially with such a big event. Someone asked me "where
have you been
- out of civilisation?". "Well, actually
yes" I replied.
It's hard to imagine what its like when someone you care for
is missing in one of those countries right now. Last year my
girlfriend went to two of the areas effected, Sri Lanka and
India. I'm just glad she didn't leave it to a year later.
Fox News has been showing the most gruesome coverage of the
tidal wave events in Asia, having managed to get amateur footage
of the tides coming in, from some US tourists videoing from
a hotel balcony. Interesting that CNN and BBC World have not
done this. Perhaps its an ethics code or something.
Anyway, the news ain't gonna change for some time now. The media
has enough bait on its hook to bleed those advertisers dry,
and we'll be watching all the way.