It’s 8.30 on Monday evening. I’ve been up since 4am, and have had 90 minutes sleep in the last 36 hours. I’m a little frayed.
My day started very early with a taxi tour of Tokyo as I tried to locate a docklands site where world media had set up satellite links in order to facilitate live interviews with aid workers about the Japan quake and tsunami.
A freezing cold morning, I had been invited to go on Australia’s high rating Channel Nine Today to talk about Save the Children’s response to the earthquake and tsunami.
A four-minute interview, it was the start of a long day of media interviews for broadcasters and newspapers all over the world.
In fact the demand for interviews has not stopped. As I write this blog post my colleague and friend Stephen McDonald, our team leader, is doing a round of interviews for BBC local radio stations in the UK. He’s been on the phone for 90 minutes.
The lesson is clear. Never underestimate media’s insatiable appetite to report disaster stories from every conceivable angle.
Without doubt though the triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami and two explosions at a nuclear reactor makes the Japanese crisis an incredibly compelling story.
All that said, it can be taxing trying to “stay on message” and to ensure all the pertinent details are imparted during media interviews such as donation hotlines and website addresses – not to mention, of course, how we’ve helped children.
But aid agencies like Save the Children know that media interest is short in covering humanitarian crises, even major ones, and therefore must pounce to ensure community engagement remains high so that we raise the funds needed to help children and families affected by disasters like the Japan earthquake and tsunami.