Sunday, October 4, 2009

Force of nature

Thanks to Jordan for spotting this one. As he notes, it seems that the tsunami was more powerful than first thought - it seems to have pushed Vanuatu more than 1000km east, where it now nestles snugly between Fiji and Tonga. From page A2 of Friday's newspaper:

Thanks, Herald graphics team. For those whose knowledge of Pacific geography is as rough as mine, here's Google to the rescue:


View Larger Map

20 comments:

  1. Monk De Wally De HonkOctober 4, 2009 at 9:31 PM

    Hello, James. Is that your full critique of the Herald's coverage of the Samoan tsunami? One mistake among all that excellent coverage.

    As an aside, TV3 couldn't even get a bloody reporter there for two days.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's more than fair to remark on that map blunder. It's a pretty amateur mistake to make, especially when reliable resources are so readily available.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 'Monk': No, it's not. But it's all I'm putting up here about it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Monk De Wally De HonkOctober 5, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    Know your geography, do you? You'll notice then that the actual landmass has not been moved, merely that there is some erroneous text.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Monk De Wally De HonkOctober 5, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    James, then you're clearly not the 'authority' you claim to be. The biggest story in the region for at least a year and your one entry on its coverage is the Herald transposed some text on a map.

    PS the last message was intended for ccs.

    ReplyDelete
  6. MDWDH - James also has a job. If he isn't blogging to your satisfaction, perhaps you should write your own critique of the Herald's coverage!

    ReplyDelete
  7. James - Great initiative, this site

    The Herald's redactional quality is a disgrace. Errors like this one with the map are but one of many sources of irritation.

    I used to be annoyed by how small a share of redactional content the Herald generates. The map reminds me that content generation might well be left to serious journalists.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Time to add voting to the comments section.
    Wordpress, wordpress, wordpress!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Monk: None of that changes the fact that it's an amateur mistake to make. I do wonder how this sort of thing occurs. Does the graphics guy say to himself "Hey I know where the islands are. This has gotta be Vanuatu right here!" and just slap the tag on without cross checking?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Monk De Wally De HonkOctober 5, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    No, I would wager that when the original map was shrunk the word 'Vanuatu' was moved but never deleted.

    I'd wager that the fault lies with the proofing of the graphic rather than someone believing Vanuatu is a small speck of land off Fiji. A pair of eyes focused on the information about Samoa would probably overlook the general content.

    I've seen how these things happen many a time, and I've done it myself.

    And lastly, I would defy anyone save for Vanuatans who would claim to know the precise location and topography of that island without resorting to a map. If the word 'Russia' had been transposed it would have been an easy spot but I am willing to understand how such a mistake could be made.

    It's not because people are stupid, or malevolent towards the people of Vanuatu, or indeed because they are lazy and don't give a monkeys - it's because they are human.

    But like I say, lets focus on one minor typographical infraction and ignore all the good work that a very small team of Herald journalists have put into this story.

    On the day it happened, TV3 ended up speaking to a woman with a dog on a bench in Devonport. The Herald has given New Zealand four days of broad, comprehensive coverage of the Samoan earthquake and tsunami.

    A website as negative and whiny as this can't be expected to see the good in things, I realise. Not would I expect it of the general readership who wish to congregate in one place to spit venom and moan. But it should be noted.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 'Monk': Wait, so did I write too much about the tsunami, or not enough?

    I'm not a bloody reviewer whose job it is to mark everything in the paper out of ten.

    I'm sure that the - as you say - very small team of Herald journalists have done the best job they can with very limited resources. But you obviously haven't been to this blog very much if you think that my main point is that "people are stupid". Most of the point is that you can't run a respectable newspaper like this, with about two journalists.

    The map screw-up isn't interesting because someone messed up while making a graphic. It's interesting because NZ's premier newspaper didn't bother to do a basic check on a story that was very important - probably because no staff member existed to do it.

    Now *that* is a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Monk De Wally De HonkOctober 5, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    No your job appears to snipe from the sidelines when you spot something they didn't.

    The underlying message I get from this blog is 'I could do so much better'.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Monk De Wally De Honk - from where I stand, your job seems to be to snipe from the sidelines at a blog you can't stand. Surely there are more constructive things you could do with your time.

    I don't think James would claim that every story the Herald writes is wrong or misguided, but it worries me that you seem to think he isn't entitled to comment on it at all.

    And for what it's worth, I'm pretty damn sure he could do better.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 'Monk' - I think this blog is about making people aware of the serious deficiencies in the information consumed by most of the NZ public. James happens to have chosen the Herald.

    Now in more serious matters: Does 'Monk' work for the Herald?

    - Long rambling block of text with little information or argument, clearly missing the point of this website.
    - "And lastly, " less than half way through
    - "...I've done it myself..." - of course you have!
    - "the good work that a very small team of Herald journalists have put into this story"
    - "Not would I expect it of ..."

    All he needs to demonstrate now is an autistic amnesia for anything he said in the past....

    ReplyDelete
  15. Monk De Wally De HonkOctober 5, 2009 at 8:23 PM

    Oh well fuckity do to you Ken, well done for badly editing a comment left on a blog.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Monk De Wally De HonkOctober 5, 2009 at 8:27 PM

    @Harri, I take your point but I'm sorry, it seems this blog has being going for several months now and yet all it does it pour scorn and misery on one subject.

    That might be dedication but it's certainly not healthy. The author needs to widen his interests a little, and perhaps see the good in life sometimes as well.

    Maybe then he would come across as a po-faced misanthrope with an axe to grind.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Monk: Chip on your shoulder much?

    Looks like anonymous has finally revealed his real name.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Monk De Wally De Honk said...
    No, I would wager that when the original map was shrunk the word 'Vanuatu' was moved but never deleted."

    Oh, so just a classic cock-up then? No harm, no foul, eh?


    "And lastly, I would defy anyone save for Vanuatans who would claim to know the precise location and topography of that island without resorting to a map."

    That somehow excuses the error?


    "I take your point but I'm sorry, it seems this blog has being going for several months now and yet all it does it pour scorn and misery on one subject."

    That's pretty much the raison d'ĂȘtre. I guess you just don't get what this blog is about? Certainly one of us doesn't... I'm fairly confident of my understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  19. no, i'm anonymous and you're all cunts.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You fools....you've jinxed Vanuatu now!!

    Maybe the Herald will get it right this time though??

    ReplyDelete