Shouting into the wind
For a news pictures editor in charge of Asia yesterday was a tough day. The death toll was rising steadily as the enormity of the tragedy slowly unfolded and we worked hard at getting pictures from staff and stringers. Handout pictures from pressure groups were scrutinized and checked for usage rights usage and potential bias. We had staff waiting at airports to speak to tourists who may have had images of the scene as the cyclone struck.
The day was a stream of planning meetings, coordination with text and TV meetings, safety meetings, negotiations with wide eyed tourists all believing they had shot a million dollar picture, editing and captioning the results, trying to find staff with the requisite experience for the conditions, stroking those who had volunteered but lacked the experience and speaking to the photographers on the ground (compared to whom my day was a walk in the park - no power, no water, no food was the least of their worries).
So what was all this stressing about? The bottom line is to tell the story, honestly, fairly and objectively so the rest of the world can see something of this disaster in one of the most closed and oppressively run countries in the world.
At the end of yesterday I went home believing that a caring world knew about what was going on.
Once at home, after explaining to my 12 year old son why so many had died in a cyclone, I browsed a few of the international news sites to see how the world was reacting to something I felt was the most important news event of the day.
The first blog I read under a slide show of pictures on a major US news site read (I paraphrase as it has been removed now) “why should we care about this dirty little washed up country and who gives a damn anyway”
This comment on the blog chilled me, not because it was there but because it was supported by many other comments.
But I care and so do the team who will deliver today’s file and tomorrow’s.
Am I just shouting into the wind? Should we all become wedding photographers?