White Island – do we care?

Let’s be honest. We do not empathise anymore with the tragedy that happened on the White Island volcano last week. Neither does the media. The dead toll has risen to 17 now, while the news do not stop sending out all the same images again and again with varying wording beneath.

Whether it is a newly emerged video (i.e. a new cut of them) or that the military is going in to recover the bodies. It’s been the highest priority, one newspaper writes, to get the bodies safely home. Australia mobilises military planes, etc. etc.

When there’s no emphathising anymore, where is reverence about the dead and their families a week after the incident? There is none. No one of the media outlets lets the story rest but is still putting the Whakaari drama on to the front pages. It is one of the latest examples on how we (have to) consume information.

The medial tide has turned shortly after the incident. When an avalance of news started hours and days after it became clear, New Zealands volcano is guaranteeing attention. Even half around the world, in Germany, news are putting pictures of White Island boldly on front pages.

While the world kept turning for 8 days, about 20 humans in Ukraine died from stepping on land mines, 210 people died from being shot in the US, 65 civilians died in Syria, about 70,000 children died of hunger. It is not in the spirit of humanity to weigh lives agains each other. These numbers are merely to illustrate the medial focus we put on issues and problems and how journalism has deteriorated. News are local on a global scale. While a well set Westerner is able to fly around the world to go on volcanic adventure tours, his peers are able to relate.

Let’s stay honest: The White Westerner does not care nor empathise with black children starving, neither does anyone care for the lost souls on Whakaari unless directly involved. Not after one week. Why are news still covering every move about the volcano? Is there any yield from reading about military helicopters or that a whole Australian family has been lost on the tour? Are there any news that teach the consumers about tectonics or the things to be aware in case of natural desasters? Anything?

Journalism lost its respect for people affected by the news they put out. Journalism lost grasp of the value of information. Simple as that.

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