When Words Can Be Powerless

One night, a very close friend of mine said via Yahoo Messenger on how afraid she was when watching a news program at the television. The presenter of the television informed that mount Merapi produced hot lava at the time when it actually produced cold one. She admitted she almost burst into tears for being very frightened that something bad would occur to her family who lives about 14 kilometers from the mountain.


The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) disbanded infotainment program SILET from airing ever since it said there was going to be a disaster happening in Yogyakarta on November 8, 2010. Many Yogyakarta people cursed the program, saying this provoked them to leave their respective places in a rush.



Thank God my television is still broken. I updated myself by reading news about the disaster from online media or asked for information from my friends who stay there. I believe if I watched television at that time, I must have been very angry to know how television journalists exaggerated any conditions about the mountain. I remember one of my lecturers once said that journalists sometimes exaggerated things more than what they actually were.

“The journalists say the street is flooded while in fact it is only inundated,” my lecturer said.

Then this funny lecturer said journalists should have let their cameras rolling on live at the television without saying too much to viewers. Just say what needs to be known by public. Unnecessary words may ruin the show. Pictures are enough to tell public on whats going on. People can understand everything by watching them. Cameras will not lie.

I agree with my lecturer. I used to be a faithful TV watcher back when I was at the school. I could spend hours sitting while watching the television. Since I was keen to be a journalist thus my favorite show was news. I adored lots of news anchor at that time. But once I become a journalist and deal with lots of kinds of journalists from various media I disagree if they speak too much for things which are yet clear. Too much narration will sometimes spoil everything. The old concept of good news if bad news and vice versa is getting ugly for lots of reporters use immature judgement, unchecked statements to lure more viewers watching their shows.

Not only television but all journalists from any means of media must be careful with what they say because unexpected results may come out beyond our thoughts. This, too, goes for me…


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