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Mining the miners for all they are worth

It was great news when the last of the Chilean miners came up to the surface. (Or, as the BBC entertainingly put it at one point, the 'Chile miners'. I was immediately imagining a Lewis Carroll style chilli mine.) But the way it was treated by the news faintly nauseated me.

Sky News, for example, simply stuck to the miners emerging with occasional split screen views of boring stuff like Prime Minister's Questions (and yes, the odd diversion to a real story). I'm sure it challenged their team of 12 on the ground in Chile and the anchors to keep coming up with something new to say. It's bad enough with the general election, where at least there's more going on at any one time, but here...

Similarly, yesterday's Times had a good 12+ pages totally dedicated to the rescue. I'm afraid I didn't bother to read them.

My problem is not the reporting of good news, or the human interest, but the contrast between this and the way (say) the rescue of a similar number of people from an earthquake zone would be reported. Because the news teams knew exactly who these people were, they were able to give us life stories and sob stories, family details and inane roller coaster experience accounts - yes they were using exactly the same kind of audience manipulation we see on programmes like the X-Factor. I know a lot of people like this kind of stuff, but I would have much prefered the kind of approach used when people are rescued from an earthquake. It's great to hear they are safe, we seem them emerge... and then we move on.


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