Whisky Magazine Issue 95
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?This is not really the column I was planning on writing for this edition, but something has been on my mind. One thing that the Japanese disaster has brought home to me is the changing role of reporting and journalism in the modern age. Gone are the days of news taking time to reach people, it is all pretty instant these days.
This immediacy is good in terms of getting stories out there, but also devastating at the same time. I had heard that the Japanese media had a team in the air within minutes of the earthquake, covering the tsunami as it smashed its way inland. The footage, which I don't think is impossible to miss, is chilling. The force of the inky black water levelling everything in its path. Then you spot cars turning round on the roads trying to get out of the way. God only knows what happened to the occupants.
After a few days mobile phone footage started to emerge from ordinary residents caught up in this extra-ordinary event. This took the viewer right down to street level, in some cases into the path of the oncoming torrent. The audio, even in Japanese, has that universal note of terror and shock at the scene.
This left the regular media, certainly outside of Japan, with problems. Most media, except the BBC, had reduced the number of correspondents in Japan during the past years as the country was getting along fine and the Asian stories were coming from China and other places.
So what we ended up with was some of the worst reporting to date; because it was...