Friday, April 6, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: In the News: Safety at Work

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "In the News".

In a perfect world, the conditions that lead to accidents and disasters would be in the news rather than just the disaster itself.

I'm thinking of this statement in relation to coal and other mines to begin with. Invariably, when a coal mine has a water break or when a collapse occurs, safety conditions in that mine are sadly lacking.

I'd like to see such lapses be in the news.

I realize that the conditions that lead to mine disasters are not nearly as dramatic as the disasters. I realize that if these conditions were in the news, it would not provide a heroic story line. I realize that if these conditions were in the news, it would lack the drama of a vigil, of anxious wives and lovers and mothers and siblings waiting night and day to see if their loved ones will emerge.

To me, the real story in mining towns and in other dangerous and extractive industries is the story of workers going to work every day to face danger and potential death.

In essence, every day is a vigil of waiting for the mothers and wives and others who are not underground or not in the woods and quietly pray that their loved ones will return home safe. I'd like to see these everyday stories of workers and what they face be more predominant in the news.

I know why these stories are not in the news. Part of it is the way we humans have to block danger out of our minds. In order to make it day to day, families whose members work in mines or steel factories or in high rise construction, have to act like their loved ones are not doing the work they do.

They probably don't want it in the news, either.

But, if the journalist is a watchdog, I wish there were ways that women in sweatshops and men in heavy industries had journalists as watchdogs for them. It might help make their work safer.

Instead, the dangers and safety short cuts and lax regulations remain out of the public eye.

They are never in the news.


Go Figure said...

Never in the news...reason? Guess who buys the advertising that pays for the "news" to be distributed? For a newspaper to start printing real news, would spell financial d-e-a-t-h. I'm getting all wound up now, time to leave. Hope you have a nice Easter.

Jen B said...

This should be in the news, it reminds me when the sweatshops that children were working in, in the early 1900's, were questioned. It wasn't in the news at first either and the ones who did put it in were threatened and boycotted. But their persistance paid off. It would make for a heroic story line, these people are true everyday heroes.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your comment, Raymond. Your post is very thought-provoking, and it got me thinking again about what isn't in the news. Books like Naomi Klein's No Logo hit the headlines from time to time, but it would help if there was a proper "watchdog", as you say.