Obviously, it's a terrible situation, and it needs to be reported, but the style of the coverage has been tabloid, prying into the private suffering and grief of the community. It's a sign of how relentlessly subjective the news media has become, when a disaster like this immediately becomes and excuse to present the rest of the population with images of grief and mental agony.
Several things have struck me as deeply off putting. Within hours of the initial explosion the NZ Herald had put up a (presumably old) NZPA story titled "NZ's worst mining accidents: Gas, explosions kill dozens," which seems a bit ghoulish and likely to cause confusion and distress - my initial reaction when I googled up the stroy was 'Fuck, they're all dead.' It took a few seconds for me to realise it was a catalogue of previous mining disasters. The shock and distress that someone more initmately connected with the missing miners would have experienced in those seconds can't really be imagined. It's a tasteless attempt to max out the drama and fill their ewebsite with 'relevant' content. never mind how tastless, stupid or repugnant.
(The NZ Herald has changed the headline slightly since then, dropping the reference to deaths - but the headline in its original form has been preserved on other sites mirroring or linking to the story (1).)
Conversely, in other ways the media has offended me by its pussyfooting around the likely fate of the miners. They have continually refered to the miners as 'trapped' and after the resuce efforts were aborted on Saturday night due to the persistance of gas levels in the mine, we were told that the 'trapped' miners 'faced a second night underground.' The implication being, throughout the media coverage, that the miners are alive - a possibility, but an increasingly remote one.
Obviously, the media are gearing their coverage for another Chilean miracle. But it isn't the media's job to be continually optimistic in the face of disaster, or to construct a narrative, just to report. The fact is that there has been a substantial explosion underground, and only 2 miners have made it out. It is likely the air in the mine is poisonous, and it is unlikely that anyone can have survived down there for 48 hours.
1 - "NZ's worst mining accidents: Gas, explosions kill dozens - New Zealand Herald." This provides a link back tot he Herlad story, with the new version of the title. It looks like the article was actually written some time before. It's originally a NZPA piece. (http://latestbusinessreport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=433903:nzs-worst-mining-accidents-gas-explosions-kill-dozens-new-zealand-herald&catid=38:topstories&Itemid=1)