McGuinness on…will stranded miners don our screens again?

Posted on November 19, 2010


Following an explosion in a mine in New Zealand, 27 people are still missing. But what will come of it?

Probably very little. New Zealand isn’t the end of the world, but it’s not Australia, and it doesn’t have a history of many newsworthy stories. Only really arguments with midgets about appearing in The Hobbit.

After the coverage that the 33 Chilean miners received over the summer, this is unlikely to have the same effect. We’re now bored of mining and mining accidents. Every few weeks something goes wrong in China, but no one reports it here because it’s not interesting. Or it’s not well advertised. Or the nation’s don’t want people to know about their poor safety record.

Essentially, though, it won’t be either of any of those things that prevents it from becoming a major story. Even if they all die (and I hope they don’t), it won’t receive anywhere near the same amount of coverage. Firstly, we were bored of the Chilean story about two weeks before they got out, but because we’d stayed with it so long we had to endure the next stage of the actual escape.

Secondly, the Chilean miners had interesting back-stories and were part of a community that cared for them. They were Christians, mostly, and that faith was something that united the Catholic world in hard times economically and socially. I’d be surprised if the New Zealanders have the same background.

I really hate the way that it is the editor that decides what is news, but that’s the way it is. Until all the editors get scared into thinking something is news, no one does anything different just in case it’s wrong and they end up with egg on their face. The old media may not have as much influence in this way any longer, but especially with broadcasting this still holds true. I defy anyone to find me a story on the BBC that isn’t already three days old (unless it’s a live report).

For those who care about what’s happening in New Zealand (and I’d like to add here that a completely unintentional comment by the initial report on the BBC News 24 broadcast was ‘2 are being treated for minor injuries), you can keep pace at:¬†


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