Out of nine lives, I spent seven / Now, how in the world do you get to Heaven?

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.

News.

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).

TAN has a 24hr live TV feed in Eng­lish and there are sev­er­al 24hr online Thai lan­guage chan­nels includ­ing TNN.

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.

6 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Sam Smersh on Face­book
October 20, 2011 at 12:10 PM

noth­ing on tvnz either — http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news

Simon Grigg on Face­book
October 20, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Aside from a small per­cent of the pop­u­lace, it’s awful how uni­formed as a nation we’ve become. Has it always been that way? Maybe but I don’t think so. Those that are gen­uine­ly curi­ous about the plan­et we live in go else­where for their infor­ma­tion — off­shore.

Rob Mayes on Face­book
October 20, 2011 at 12:10 PM

take away access to high­er edu­ca­tion and see what you get. We came from a time of free or cheap uni­ver­si­ty.

Sam Smersh on Face­book
October 20, 2011 at 01:10 PM

Well there was cer­tain­ly a lot more world info avail­able in the main­stream Oz media when I lived there.
Won­der if Her­ald assumes that those keen on int’l news will search online or change Sky chan­nels? Per­haps tvnz thinks same.
My NZ co-work­ers in Oz used to access Her­ald for NZ small-town news but lit­tle else.
Yes I do think we’ve remained unin­formed, & even though tech per­mits real-time int’l report­ing, it’s not going to be gift-wapped to the NZ home by local media…

Simon
October 20, 2011 at 01:10 PM
– In reply to: Rob Mayes on Facebook

@Rob I was real­ly dis­turbed to see Hamilton’s plan to cut library hours (to times when most of the pop­u­la­tion can’t get there) and start charg­ing $2 per book

steve
October 20, 2011 at 02:10 PM

if its nat­ur­al dis­as­ter in the asian region, for­get about it…millions affect­ed but bah…now if it had an euro­pean type angle.…Headline stuff

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