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Bushfire coverage 101

As squallish winds and sporadic hail storms continue to irritate pollen-sensitive Melburnians, NSW deals with the deadly threat of extreme dry conditions.

Bushfire season has hit early. One man has already died protecting his home in Lake Munmorah on NSWs east coast and 200 homes are suspected to be destroyed in and around the Blue Mountains.

With emergency warnings continuing to pop up in surrounding areas, this is a an issue that will fail to ease up for months. And Victoria will not be immune.

The plethora of bushfire coverage, from live blogs, climate change discussion and tribute stories already saturating our national news is impressive.

Natural disasters have a peculiar effect on the way we expect to recieve the news.

We want to know absolutely everything as its happening.

For journalists, that means being quick to act and quite often, being in the right place at the right time. An iPhone camera is as good as any in the time of an emergency. And citizen journalists will often beat the “real” ones at the initial break of news.

Also, consumers of news quite often want someone to blame when disaster strikes.

With bushfires, that means opening up the climate change discussion for closer scrutiny.

Climate sceptics (including the Prime Minister of our country) are invited to explain themselves.

Usually their response is arbitrary. Here is an example snapped from The Age thread:

“Could you all lay off this whole ‘Climate Change’ issue.
This thread should be used as way to show compassion and give support to those affected during this tough time.”

For Australia, it is an unfair reality that with the festive season comes bushfire season. That means bushfire coverage will be prolific for a significant portion of the year. Pointing the blame during a natural disaster may seem insensitive but there comes a point at which we need to open the conversation about why this period is kicking off earlier and earlier with every year.

Posted under: Uncategorized
Dated: Oct 18 2013

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