In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake I thought the two main TV networks did a pretty good job. Radio NZ shone, and proved its worth once more.
On the day of the event Hilary Barry was on the telly on TV3 for hours and hours. She did tremendously well, in spite of the awful news she was having to relate. How she didn't collapse in a blubbering heap is something I will never know. I thought a couple of times that she was going to crack, but she never did.
Since then there's been an awful lot of repetition with the TV coverage, and I've largely stopped following the earthquake news on the telly. It's probably time that they scaled down the coverage. There is little news to report. Most stories seem to be individual tales of survival, bravery or tragedy. Given that there must be thousands of such stories across the city, it's possible they could draw this out for months if they really wanted to.
I've been less impressed with the newspaper coverage, which has been part good and part bad. Generally both the Herald and Stuff sites have been pretty good, although Stuff had very little to say for a couple of hours after the quake struck. That's probably understandable, considering what happened at The Press. The websites have managed to combine the human interest survival/tragedy stories with useful information about what is going on and where, and important links.
The hard copy of the Herald has just gone for exploitation. Rather than a front page telling us useful stuff about the what, where and how, we've been bombarded with images of the dead or missing. The front page picture of the baby last week was particularly unpleasant and unnecessary. God only knows how the family of the poor child must have felt when they saw the story.
And now, a few days after the event, you have to hunt quite hard to find anything in the Herald about the quake other than survival/tragedy stories.
The blogosphere has been mostly restrained and, apart from a few people accusing John Key of using the opportunity to parade himself in front of the cameras,. and a few just strange posts (like this one - WTF?), the commentariat have been mostly civilised. Provided they are not discussing what should happen to looters and burglars. The consensus among the Kiwiblog usuals is that the police should have impunity to beat and bludgeon lawbreakers into a pulp during this period. So no change there then.
******Having just written this post I have now watched John Campbell interview Ken Ring, the wacky weather prediction guy. Although "interview" might be putting it a bit charitably. I don't like it when the interviewer uses the opportunity to attack and belittle the subject. That's not what they're there to do. Campbell wouldn't let Mr Ring finish a sentence before jumping all over him. Now I happen to have a very dim view of people like Ring whose theories lack scientific credibility and who just end up scaring the bejeesus out of people. Ring has predicted there will be another big quake on or about the 20th of March, and a number of already-shaken people are paying heed to his warning.
But you don't bring a quack down by yelling at them. You present evidence to rebut their theories and you do it calmly. You also probe the experience and background of the subject. If you do it right the bulk of the audience will know who's to be trusted and who's a charlatan. But Campbell was so eager to "nail" Ring that he wouldn't let Ring speak, and instead just berated the man. I almost felt sorry for the guy. Imagine how Ring's supporters must have felt having watched their guy being beaten up. John Campbell is a top-notch interviewer when he's calm and collected, but this was by far the worst I have seen from him. Perhaps the emotion of being amongst the ruins of Christchurch got to him.
Update: Brian Edwards is much more scathing of Campbell that I am.