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Media priorities give reason for worry

by Archives February 2, 2005

It seems that the media is on its final legs with regards to the tsunami disaster that devastated so many countries five weeks ago. While many will claim this is an injustice to those who have suffered, many will also be relieved they will no longer be bombarded with the same horrifying images day in and day out.

There’s nothing wrong with supporting either of the above schools of thought. At a university student newspaper it would be assumed that, by now, we have exhausted all possible angles pertaining to one of the most significant natural disasters since the dawn of mankind.

So, have we really explored all angles? Well, there will almost certainly be some far-reaching points of view and less significant relief efforts out there that could be included, but we’re relatively satisfied we’ve done our part. That’s not intended to be arrogant or self-righteous, we could always do more, but there really is only so much that can be said while keeping the story relevant and connected to the lives of thousands of Concordians.

However, for those out there who have donated to the cause in an effort to help the suffering, there will still be a sense of unfinished business with the matter. It would be hoped the Concordian population that helped the school raise over $260,000 for relief thus far, would remain eager to stay informed about the allocation of the funds. It would also be expected that mainstream media would do its best to keep us all informed about progress made over the last 38 days in helping to rebuild the lives of the victims.

When taking into consideration the past week in news, it’s no surprise that tsunami-related stories have been bumped down a few notches in their significance. With the historic election that took place in Iraq, where millions of people looked past death threats made by insurgents and went to the polls in hopes of bringing their country a step closer to becoming peaceful and democratic, it’s no wonder. There are also many local concerns that may need to be covered in various cities before delving too deep into foreign relations and politics. This is completely understandable.

In Montreal, for instance, we’re worried about where our new superhospital is going to be built, or if it will even get off the ground at all. Then there’s the story of private Jewish schools trying to organize cultural exchanges with public schools, despite the Education Minister nixing plans to give about $10 million to the project. We have our own issues that take precedent, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is a ‘however’ to all this.

There was an article printed in The Gazette on Tuesday (Feb.1) about the 800,000 Indonesians that require food aid from the United Nations. The story appeared on page A14 of the paper, which isn’t so bad, considering that it was on the lead page of the WORLD section. The bigger problem has something to do with the fact that the world section of so many publications in North America takes a backseat to local political conflicts.

Also featured on A14 was the story of a UN report that determined no genocide has occurred in Darfur, and we all know how the western world has responded to past cases of genocide or potential genocide. Although last week’s editorial stated that there should be a growing sense of optimism about our dealings with the third world, in retrospect, the sentiment was fleeting at best. Page A14 did a wonderful job of bringing this journalist back from a temporary state of delusional hopefulness.

Maybe it would even be possible to overlook the placement of the section if an effort was being made to draw the readers into that part of the publication. However, on this page, with two stories explaining the hardships facing two different populations, there is also a story about how monkeys like to watch porn. So, which one of these was advertised on the front page of the paper? You guessed it – the monkey porn.

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