Missing Plane Coverage: What Does MH370 Teach Us?

Over the past two months, you can’t listen to a newscast without hearing some new development about MH370. The missing plane has dominated headlines since it disappeared on March 8 and nearly two months later we are no closer to solving its mystery despite several false leads that have sprung up along the way. Here is a clip from CNN’s first week of coverage, which raises a large swath of questions (many of which are still unanswered):

This clip shows that from the beginning, CNN couldn’t decide what it wanted to focus it’s coverage around. There were too many questions being asked that diverted viewers’ attentions away from the real issue at hand. My sticking point with all of the coverage is that CNN and other media covering the plane can’t seem to convene around a central theme. They wait for daily press conferences from Australia, which is where search efforts are based out of, and listen to what updates officials have to give.

While the missing plane is a tragedy, regardless if by some miracle the passengers are still alive somewhere or if they are all deceased, the story isn’t about where this plane is or whether or  not if was terrorism or mechanical failure. Of course the real story incorporates elements of both of these side stories, but the real story is how  something like this could have happened in the first place.

The plane is missing and regardless of whether it is ever found or not is not what the world should be focusing on. Of course saving lives is always a priority, but if there hasn’t been any sign of life in the past two months the chances are bleak for any survivors at this point.

The coverage of the plane should revolve around how something like this can happen and how it can be prevented in the future. How can we make security stronger? How can we make air travel safer and more secure? The media needs to stop waiting for the Australian government to tell it what to focus it’s coverage on and instead start asking the hard-hitting questions that will ensure that this plane did not disappear in vain and will help solve future aviation problems.


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