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Questioning Weekend's Media Silence About Ebola

“When will Ebola news go 24/7?,” asks a US/Canadian professor Crawford Kilian:

I have long been used to outbreak news dropping off on weekends. The media, government agencies, and NGOs all knock off on Friday afternoon and show up again Monday morning.

But after the last few weeks of Ebola, I'm losing patience with the folks who make a living covering the outbreak. Yes, good for them and the collective agreements that give them eight-hour days, weekends off, extended holidays, and excellent health benefits. 

But if Ebola is as unprecedented as Dr. Chan says it is, how about finding the money to pay those folks overtime so Ebola news carries on over the weekend (not to mention statutory holidays)? Can you imagine news about Pearl Harbor waiting until some reporter sauntered in on the morning of Monday, December 8, 1941? Or JFK's death going unreported until the following Monday, November 25, 1963?

But the West African media, with a few exceptions, go into hibernation on Friday afternoons and revive sometime the following Monday. So do WHO and the other major health agencies. I know very well that they've suffered budget cuts by governments that still think austerity is the road to recovery from the crash of 2008.

Follow our in-depth coverage: The Struggle to #StopEbola in West Africa

  • Nevin Thompson

    Crawford Kilian is a fairly well-known education commentator here in British Columbia. During a recent strike his well-researched columns shaped public debate, despite the fact that Kilian reports for an alternative news outlet.

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