Chris Tomlinson: Will cameras help in Haiti?
Jan 29 2010 By Chris Tomlinson
While watching rolling TV news I began wondering why I was viewing live footage from Haiti while eating my cornflakes?
Being presented with death and suffering, before you’ve even left the house, is a bad way to start a day, but guilt wouldn’t let me turn it off.
I then started wondering why valuable plane space was taken up flying a Kate Adie wannabe with camera crew to the scene of a disaster just hours after it had happened.
Did the piece-to-camera clips really need live earthquake scenes behind it?
We’ve all seen the aftermath of an earthquake before – piles of rubble and human bewilderment.
The Haitians have complained that too many US soldiers have been flown in with guns, but I’d be complaining about the army of men with cameras.
I know broadcast media help galvanise aid, but unless one of the dozens of “news” videos features your family, what useful information do they actually provide?
With over 280,000 members, “Earthquake Haiti” is now the largest group on Facebook.
Let the sceptics of social networking take note: not only are people using social media to find missing loved ones, but using it as a source of on-the-ground information.
More harrowing is that by searching for #helphaiti on Twitter, you’ll find tweets of longitude and latitude with request for food and water – grim.
What finally made me turn the TV off, was when Simon Cowell appeared.
I love it when rich people want to “give something back” as long as it’s not actual the money they made, and they get plenty of publicity thrown in.
I feel sorry enough for the people of Haiti, without some piece of pop pap, to induce my sympathy. I’ll give to the cause, without getting something in return.
However social media is not immune to the words “band” and “wagon”.
Birmingham tweeter @stevegerrard (not the footballer), promised to donate £2 for every comment he got on his blog.
Not the most altruistic of Twitter marketing as many of the comments, now removed, pointed out.