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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tornado: path of description

So much coverage of Auckland's killer tornado. Haven't heard if Ken Ring is blaming it on the new moon or not.

It struck in Albany and then ended up in Pt Chev. But typically the NZ media have failed to provide the first thing I wanted to see after the initial pictures - a map of the path it took. Is it too much to ask? Am I the only one interested in where it went? Most of the damage may have been in Albany, but if this did end in Pt Chev it must have travelled more than 10km across Auckland to get there. Where is the path of destruction?

There was some Google Map thing with a tornado symbol (on Stuff I think it was) but that wasn't loading properly so no result. That is the only thing resembling a map I've seen from the online NZ media (no doubt however the paper version of the outrageously over-priced NZHerald must have a map in today's edition that I will not be buying).

Why are the NZ media so slack with things like this? There have been several events where something simple - like a map - would have put things in perspective for the audience, but is frustratingly absent from a report. One reason may be under-resourcing - they just don't have the staff to do things like diagrams and maps and graphs because it takes too long. One reason may be that the modern, dumbed-down editorial policies put a priority on immediate images etc. gathered online (esp. via social media) rather than carefully collated information. One reason may be a gender bias with a lack of male staff - as I don't think women value data like maps and tables etc. as much as men do. Maybe their Adobe graphics/media licences have all spontaneously expired? Whatever the reasons the professional media are letting their audience down when they skimp on these aspects of coverage.


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