Wednesday, May 09, 2012

How To Report On Issues Related To Construction

1- Hire construction reporters: there are business reporters, crime reporters, science journalists, life-style editors, etc. So why not construction reporters? It's a huge sector. And no, I don't mean the "business" side of construction, but someone who can delve into the nuts and bolts of things.

 2- Ask an engineer.

 3- Ask another engineer.

 4- Ask a specialized engineer (e.g. fire protection engineer).

 5- Engineers are generally interest-driven and motivated by competition and not above slandering each others. So if a claim is being made, take it in the context of where it is coming from.
6- Do not spread fear-mongering stats in order to grab headlines: safety of construction is not less important than food or transport safety. Unsubstantiated claims (or ostensibly sound but substantially erroneous or misleading claims) are dangerous and could drive people to panic and act irresponsibly.

 7- Sympathize with the resident/tenant/user of the building: it's not enough to tell me 90% of Abras (for example) are not seaworthy. Tell me where to find an alternative route. Tell me how to figure out whether an Abra is seaworthy or not. Tell me what to do in case of an accident. I know it's not your responsibility, but you'd certainly appear more responsible when you do so.

 In other words: when you make an apocalyptic statement like "hundreds of towers across the country are enclosed with dangerous non fire-rated panels made of petroleum-based plastic cores that can burn within minutes", it would be nice if you could also tell the poor bugger who lives in such building and still has 11 months on his tenancy contract what to do. Which government agency should he approach to find out whether his building is clad with fire-rated tiles or not. Should he panic? Can he force his landlord to revoke the contract and return the down-payments/security checks? What he should do in case, God forbids, a fire of that nature began?

1 comment:

Paige said...

I hope your family is ok!