I hate having to do this (especially given that I’ve been so slack in my blogging herein in recent weeks/months and that I’ve just been told off elsewhere — lightheartedly — for not being patriotic enough online) but fuck it, someone has to, or should.
In case you missed it, big news in South East Asia — that bit of the world just north-west of the Gold Coast if you are confused — floods of a semi-biblical nature (and they probably are of a similar magnitude to those which inspired a scribe to write in ancient times blissfully unaware in his misplaced bronze age faith that it would expand idiotically over the years) are overwhelming and trashing large parts of the region, killing to date some 700+ people.
In Thailand the death toll has hit 315 today, over 14,000 factories are underwater including huge Honda and Toyota plants, and a Western Digital complex which produces 25% of the world’s hard drives.
Some 600,000 people are unable to work and vastly more have lost their homes, livestock and worlds.
It’s horrendous and unimaginable.
To put it in terms that many in the west may understand: the cost of a computer (and rice) will likely rise.
Many New Zealanders live in the region, but just as importantly many people who live, work and have emigrated to New Zealand are from here and have families. I can’t begin to comprehend how worried — distraught — they must be. And anxious for updated news.
So, I thought I’d do, what I’ve done before, and check the NZ media. I’m aware from family and friends that both the main TV networks and the paid OZ based networks are covering this.
Stuff has a comprehensive AP sourced story with added Reuters video. It was up to date and also featured on the home page.
And so to the New Zealand Herald — the newspaper (and I use the word cautiously) that sees itself as the newspaper of record in the country.
Nothing on the front page. Lots of rugby. A story about a woman who was fired for taking a bus to work or not taking a bus to work or something. A couple of crime stories, a bubble from the aways foolish Garth George who would have trouble getting a letter to the editor printed most elsewhere, and an important — although not as important as the rugby day to day in the Herald — story about the awful Rena disaster.
I went to the world page. Nothing — although a featured story told me that ‘Police bust an elaborate scam involving a private eye, former showgirls and corrupt officers’ in LA.
I went to the Asia sub-section. These were the top stories:
At number five there was a story about the South East Asian floods, with reference to Thailand. It was this. It is four days out of date in a story which is fluidly (sorry..) changing hourly.
And frankly, it’s disgraceful and appalling.
As a newspaper, the New Zealand Herald has become almost worthless, so much so that my father has now cancelled a subscription active since the 1930s. And he’s neither a liberal or a radically right wing person. ‘None of our friends get the paper anymore — there’s nothing in it’ he told me. My sister also no longer subscribes and told me the same.
Perhaps they are not average and perhaps most of the target demographic enjoy news subsumed by rugby, crime and endless facile travel columns about Tuscany and the like. Or worthless ‘opinion’ pieces by the likes of George, Paul Holmes, Deborah Coddington and Kere Woodham.
I suspect not in the long term, and The New Zealand Herald looks like a flagbearer for the decline of the newspaper industry from here.
In case anyone did want news from the floods, these two maps, both sourced from The Bangkok Post might be both shocking and instructive. The site itself has news and I’d recommend The Nation (they are the two major English language papers) and — for more detailed stuff either the facebook page ThaiFlood Eng or the twitter tag #thaifloodeng -rt (the last bit cuts out the endless retweets).
Or, hell, just go to any online news source of any substance worldwide — they’re all on to it — just not The New Zealand Herald.