By Charlotta Lomas
What is it with the media and mining disasters?
You would’ve had to be on another planet these last months to have missed the story about the Chilean mine disaster.
The world stopped this week to watch the much-anticipated rescue of 33 Chilean miners who for the last 70 days have been trapped in the San Jose copper mine.
Would they make it out of the mining shaft alive?
We could only hope.
In the quiet remote desert area of San Jose mine, media networks from all over the world have been set for months waiting to capture the moment the miners emerged from the shaft.
According to News.com.au there were 2000 media people based at the mine in the lead up to the rescue and television crew had built their own platforms to speak over the noise of electricity generators.
They waited and waited until, finally, on Wednesday 13th October, the first miner, Mr Avalos, was brought to the surface after a 10 week ordeal.
Yet, the incredible celebratory mood surrounding his rescue was immediately ruined by the rampaging media desperate to be the first to interview him.
The media went berserk – literally.
Journalists and camera crew invaded the tent in which the family of the miner waited to greet their much missed relative.
As Mr Avalos went to embrace his wife and son,
“The journalists pulled on the hair of those in the way, threw punches and almost knocked others to the ground to be the first to interview them. The family retreated but the media mob kept advancing, crushing furniture and finally toppling the family’s humble tent.” – ABC
Obviously the intense build-up and mounting pressure had taken its toll on the media but this kind of behaviour is such poor form.
The Chilean mine disaster parallels Tasmania’s Beaconsfield mine disaster in 2006 where similar bizarrely intrusive media behaviour took place, for example, when journalist David Koch jumped in to the back of the ambulance with the rescued miner Todd Russell.
While every one of loves a mine rescue story which is clear in the wide media coverage it received internationally (USA Today called it “the most gripping reality TV show you’ve ever seen”) but at what point does a journalist’s invasion become too much?
Sometimes, the media becomes so entranced and obsessed with a story that it forgets to see the disaster it, itself, creates.
Yes journalists are supposed to show the world what the world can’t see, but is it really necessary to destroy someone’s tent?