Broadcasters’ respond to Haiti earthquake

January 26th, 2010 by Mark Perry


With 24 hour news channels we have instant access to the latest information when incidents like the Haiti earthquake happen. Within hours broadcasters have teams reporting from the front line.

But what we don’t often think about is how many people broadcasters like the BBC, Sky and others are committing to the story and how they are able to sustain themselves while all around there appears to be hardship and suffering. 

This was the subject tackled on Newswatch, a 15 minute weekly segment on News 24, where the public get to ask questions about the BBC’s news coverage.

It was interesting to learn from John Williams, BBC World news editor, that a team of 20 people including reporters, engineers and cameramen were providing coverage across the BBC news outlets. ITV News has 22 and Channel 4 News 14 while the figure from Sky is unknown. That is just from the UK and other news organisations from around the world are also on the ground in Haiti. 

Is there really a need for 56 people from different organisations to provide the UK with news about the earthquake and its aftermath?

You just wonder if in unprecedented circumstances like this if the news organisations should not have an agreement where they can pool resources, much as they do in conflict zones. I am sure there would still be opportunities for them to get their own ‘take’ on the story.  

What John Williams also revealed was that the supplies they need in terms of water and ration packs are brought in so not as burden the emergency aid. They had also been able to locate a hotel which was still standing after the earthquake to use as their base.

It cannot be denied, however, that their pictures have played a key part in driving public donations to the charity appeals.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

One Response to “Broadcasters’ respond to Haiti earthquake”

  1. Damon McNeil Says:

    It seems there should be a better way to get news out to people without having to flood a disaster torn country with hundreds of reporters and camera crews. But with so much competition with ratings and prestige of having the news first, it seems likely that companies would ever coordinate their crews and work together. If news agencies are going to send so many people over there, they should sent people to actually help instead of just document the pain and suffering.

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