Is it time the media started scaling back the coverage of the Christchurch earthquake and its aftermath? I think so.
The saturation coverage is inescapable. It’s overwhelming and threatens to become oppressive.
It is also wearing thinner as journalists have to search harder for new angles. As time goes by, reporters will inevitably be tempted to keep the quake drama running by sexing stories up with tacky sentiment that demeans the victims of the tragedy.
I’m not suggesting the major media organisations suddenly pull all their reporters out of Christchurch. It will continue to be a running story for weeks. But the time has come to start giving space to the other important issues have been shunted aside over the past two weeks.
In saying this, I'm not backing away from my previous comments about the crucial role of the media at times like this. As in so many things, it's all a matter of balance.
After 10 days, the wall-to-wall quake coverage is in real danger of inducing reader, viewer and listener fatigue. When the radio news bulletins vary little hour after hour, you know the story is running out of legs.
Radio New Zealand National, for instance, is still running half-hourly bulletins throughout the night. That was justified in the immediate aftermath of the quake, when the story was changing constantly and there was a huge public appetite for information, but it now seems gratuitous.
Besides, it may be time to give Christchurch some respite from a relentless 24/7 media scrutiny that at times hovers on the edge of being voyeuristic.