There are times when we toilers at the workface in the SBS TV newsroom
wonder if we really exist. To read in Crikey that the ABC was the only
Australian network to provide a decent coverage of the Pakistan/India/Kashmir
quake takes the biscuit.
For the record, SBS World News Australia was the ONLY network news to LEAD with the story
just a few hours after the quake happened on Saturday afternoon Australian
time. It took until the next day, Sunday, for everyone else to catch up.
Even then, coverage from the others, including the ABC, was far less
comprehensive than that on SBS.
On Sunday night we devoted approx 50% of the bulletin to a
multi-layered coverage of the disaster, including a report from Dateline
correspondent Chris Hammer who was fortuitously on assignment in Pakistan.
We took another report from Chris the following day (Monday). Also on
Monday we carried a report on the reaction to the quake in the twenty-thousand
strong Pakistani community in Australia in addition to ongoing extended reports
from all areas affected.
We continued to devote significant time to the story throughout the week,
including live crosses to Australian reporter Lisa Upton in Muzaffarabad on
Wednesday and Thursday nights.
I’m sure the ABC did a creditable job, they often do. But what do we at SBS
have to do to persuade our fellow scribes that we provide the most comprehensive
international news coverage in town?