So, which Australian journalists are where at the moment as the Asian tsunami story continues to unfold? There are now an estimated 50-plus Australian reporters on the job, plus more than 100 other technical and support staff which begs the question: is this the largest contingent of journalists ever sent offshore to cover a story since World War II? Check out the ever expanding list of Australian media covering this huge story:

Peter Alford: The Australian, Tokyo to Thailand
Tom Allard: SMH, Jakarta
Anne Barker: ABC, Jakarta
Sean Berry: SMH, Sri Lanka
Scott Bevan: Nine News, Aceh
Phil Black: Seven News, Sri Lanka
Sarah Blake: Sunday Telegraph, Thailand
Simon Bouda: Nine, Sri Lanka
Clair Brady: Seven News, Thailand
Mick Bunworth: ABC, Sri Lanka
Andrew Burrell: AFR, still in Jakarta
Mark Burrows: Nine News, Thailand
Elizabeth Colman: The Australian, Thailand
Ellen Connolly: Age/SMH, Thailand
Anne Davies: SMH, Indonesia
Shaun Devitt: Nine, 60 Minutes producer who was on Phi Phi, now home
Eric Ellis: Fortune, Bulletin and The Times stringer, Sri Lanka
Farah Farouque: The Age, Sri Lanka
Peter Ford: Southern Cross Broadcasting, in Phuket on holiday but now home
Mark Furler: Chief of Staff Sunshine Coast Daily, Sri Lanka
John Gatfield: Sky News, Thailand
Kieran Gilbert: Sky News, Indonesia
Stan Grant: CNN, Sri Lanka
John Hamilton: Herald Sun, Thailand
John Hill: Ten Network, Phuket then Aceh
Chris Hill: Nine’s ACA, Thailand
Julietta Jameson: Who Magazine and People in the US, Aceh
Connie Levett: The Age, Thailand
Peter Lloyd: ABC, Thailand
Kimina Lyall: The Australian, Phuket on holiday
Steve Marshall: ABC, Aceh
Ray Martin: Nine, A Current Affair, Aceh
Shane McLeod: ABC, PNG to Aceh
Brett Mcleod: Nine, Aceh
Neil McMahon: SMH, Thailand
Leonie Mellor: Ten Network, Thailand
Matthew Moore: SMH, Jakarta then Aceh
Alexa Moses: SMH, on holiday in Thailand
Lindsay Murdoch: Age/SMH, Aceh
Veronica Nivatongs: The West Austrailian, Thailand
Tom Noble: The Age, Thailand
Tim Palmer: ABC, Aceh
Geof Parry: Seven, Jakarta for summit
Steve Pennells: The West Australian, Sri Lanka then Aceh
Denis Peters: AAP Canberra, Sri Lanka
Sian Powell: The Australian, Banda Aceh
Jeremy Pudney: Ten Network, Thailand
Anita Quigley: Daily Telegraph, Colombo
Hugh Riminton: ex Nine now CNN, Sri Lanka
Sarah Sayekti: SMH, Aceh
Brad Schmitt: Nine Network, Thailand
David Spiers: Sky News, Thailand
Christine Spiteri: Nine News, Sri Lanka
Nina Stevens: Nine News, Maldives
Ginny Stein: SBS, India and Sri Lanka
Mark and Raechelle Tang: Nine staffers who were honeymooning in Phuket
John Taylor: ABC, Aceh
Nick Taylor: The Sunday Times (Perth), Thailand
Geoff Thompson: ABC, Sri Lanka
Tony Vermeer: News Ltd, Aceh
Jamie Walker: The Courier-Mail, Thailand
Neil Warren: Seven News, Thailand
Rohan Wenn: Today Tonight, Sri Lanka
Phillip Williams: ABC London, Thailand
Cindy Wockner: Daily Telegraph, Banda Aceh
Ahron Young: Southern Cross Broadcasting, Thailand

Feedback, corrections and updates to boss

Linda Mottram on the supporting crews

Meanwhile, former AM host Linda Mottram makes some good points in this email from Cyprus:

G’day, another Australian media type in the field is Andrew Kilrain, BBC video producer in Nagapattinam, India.

Okay, he’s not working for an Oz outfit, but he’s got the passport and his work is bound to be seen on the Oz networks as they use other networks’ coverage. (Yeah and he’s my beloved)

And that brings me to the question of why you’re not accounting for the shooters/soundos/editors/producers/fixers/translators
in the field. Let’s not overstate what a lot of correspondent do. And let’s not ignore the massive contribution made by many “behind the scenes” in getting many a good story out.

But its all just a bit trivial really under the circumstances, this listing of who’s who in the field for the media. Should all be anonymous (like The Economist does and like newspapers used to do in the good old days) so the story is the focus, not the people.

And what a truly numbingly tragic story!

Best to you all, and to those poor blighters…

Linda Mottram
Safely on Cyprus and drumming up donations

Aunty flogs its commercial rivals like never before

From the December 31, subscriber only sealed section

Five days on since the Asian tsunamis struck and it really has to be said that the ABC has whacked everyone else out of the park.

For instance, the ABC’s Jakarta correspondent Tim Palmer was in Aceh on Sunday night and his first packages were broadcast on AM on Monday morning as you can see here. Amazingly, no one else got electronic stories out of Aceh for a further 48 hours and the Seven and Nine crews have only just arrived on Thursday afternoon.

Even the BBC and CNN were 36 hours behind the ABC.

What’s more on virtually every key point (such as that Meulaboh and Aceh’s West Coast would be the worst hit) the ABC has led the way nationally and internationally. However, it was 3AW’s Peter Ford who we think got the first professional report to air out of Thailand on Sunday afternoon.

The story of ABC dominance was similar in Sri Lanka and Thailand. First there and the most thorough. Some insiders at the ABC have already declared this the biggest defeat of their commercial oppposition on a major story in more than a decade.

Then there’s the whole issue of covering Thailand first because of 20 dead Aussies as the commercials have done. Isn’t this distasteful in the extreme if you’ve seen the piles of bodies representing maybe 75,000 dead in Aceh. Does it set a new standard for the Australian life to Non white life index.

We can all criticise the ABC but it is at moments like these that the timely deployment of real foreign correspondents comes through. We look forward to predictable Murdoch critics such as Andrew Bolt and Piers Akerman acknowledging what has so far been a fine performance by the national broadcaster.

Max Uechtritiz updates on the Nine deployments

Former ABC news supremo turned Channel Nine news boss Max Euchtritz writes:

G’day Crikey,

Nine has:

Brett Mcleod for National Nine News and Scott Bevan (ACA) in Banda Aceh with two full crews. We’ve also sent AKA security/medical expert, Bahasa speaking Paul Jordan there to look after them logistically, medically (avoiding diseases) and for obvious safety reasons.

Simon Bouda in Sri Lanka for both News and and ACA (throw in “Today” and “Nightline” plus 11am and 4.30pm bulletins for them all). Bouda has travelled all over the island nation for his reports.

Mark Burrows and Brad Schmitt in Phuket. Both have had mini-hosting roles for National Nine News bulletins as well as reporting out of Thailand.

Nina Stevens flew to Maldives and Colombo on a Qantas mercy flight.

Just arrived back today Thursday are three Nine staff who were holidaying in Thailand and immediately leapt into action producing for Schmidt then Burrows and all outlets.

Sixty Minutes producer Shaun Devitt videod the Phi Phi islands tragedy as it unfolded and his powerful footage was used in our first reports. Sydney based tape editor Mark Tang and new wife Raechelle (a Nine producer) were honeymooning in Phuket and alerted Nine of the tragedy before the wires had picked it up. All three worked around the clock with our coverage from last Sunday on.

We also hired freelancer Justin Hale, who lives in Indonesia, to file from the disaster zones.

Cheers, Max

CRIKEY: Whilst Nine was a little slow out of the blocks and is certainly missing the experience of someone like Hugh Riminton, currently in Sri Lanka for CNN, they are putting in some serious resources and it will be interesting to see if they can match the ABC on this story in the coming days and weeks.