Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So Cal Shark Encounter: Reasonable Media Coverage

Living in Southern California has its advantages   And one of them is that when the rare shark-human interaction occurs, it is usually put into relatively fair perspective by the media with a modicum of hysterical hype.

Such was the case for a recent encounter off of Catalina Island involving a paddleboarder and possibly a juvenile great white shark.  ABC News covered the event with interviews with my friend, Luke Tipple, and it was a fairly balanced piece of reporting; balanced in the sense that they didn't treat the shark as a roving man-eater, nor did they treat it as a cute but embarrassed little fish who made a silly little mistake.

SharkDiver.com covered it in its blog, Ultimate Thrills: Swimming With Sharks and added the ABC News video segment.  This network has repeatedly provided fair coverage of shark-related events.  I have supplied shark footage for them in the past and have yet to be disappointed in how it was used.  CBS News also does a fairly good job; I provided some on-camera color and a reasonable voice when there was a rare fatality that occurred in San Diego.  NBC News, on the other hand, has been a bit more prone to stirring up fear and excitement.  Here's SharkDiver's post:

Catalina Shark Nibbles and Good Media 
Monday, May 7, 2012
Fortunately when occasional shark attacks occur in Southern California there's a few solid voices out there with ready quotes for the media.

This week was no exception and the quotes given were without the typical "re-branding effort" of top order predators that we are beginning to see in the conservation space.

Sharks are sharks, occasionally they attack things and sometimes those things happen to have a human element to them.

Sharks are not misunderstood, they are not soft and cuddly, and they are toothy.

Accepting the basic tenants of sharks does not make them less viable for conservation, but it does allow people to make "informed decisions" about where they should be when sharks are present.

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