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Being a journalist is a pretty thankless job. Especially those who report on war and conflict or disasters, these intrepid reporters risk their lives to bring us the stories. In the case of this past weekend’s volcanic eruption on Mt. Ontake, journalists scrambled to the scene to report on the situation. Or, most of them. Some took the path of least effort and leapt at the chance to do some “reporting” from the comfort of their own home, through social media.

The surprising eruption of Mt. Ontake came suddenly and seemingly without warning on Saturday, September 27, 2014. This can clearly be seen by a tweet made from near the peak of the mountain a mere minute before the eruption.

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“Enjoying Mt. Ontake alone (^^)”

While @enari_’s 200 twitter followers were obviously very worried for the safety of their friend, news reporters jumped at the chance for an “on the scene” comment.

The questionable Tweet translates as follows: (Note: The Japanese uses an extremely polite form of the language, keigo.)

“Hello, my name is Nakano and I work for the Asahi Newspaper. As you are right next to the scene of the eruption, have you been hurt? I pray that you are safe. If you are able to send out a message, could you share your situation now? Of course, any information within reason is sufficient. Thank you very much.”

Seems pretty bold, huh? If the reporter had taken a few tweets to confirm @enari_’s safety and reassured that help was on the way, details of the situation on the mountain would likely have been forthcoming. Then again…the mountain you were on just blew up.

Criticism has been swift for this journalist, and even though he stated he was worried about @enari_’s welfare, it’s still fairly transparent the angle he was going for.

And it wasn’t only Asahi Newspaper that approached this Twitter user for an exclusive, other interested parties including TBS and NHK (whose tweet has since been deleted) also requested information.

“This is TBS TV’s “N Suta”. Do you have any injuries? We are sorry to impose on your terribly difficult situation but, please let us use photos related to Mt. Ontake that were uploaded.”

The TBS tweet didn’t even sugar-coat its request.

As of September 27, 8:00pm JST, there were more than 6,000 people following the account. Thankfully @enari_’s has notified all followers and said that they got off the mountain safely, but due to the amount of negative Tweets, deleted their account.

In situations like this, it is commendable for people to find new ways to reach those affected, but perhaps a little sensitivity is needed. Our first responsibility should be the safety for all those involved.

What do you think? Was this a case of reporters going too far? Or were they just doing their job? Let us know in the comments.

Other pictures of the eruption:

Source: Grape, Grape
Image: Twitter (@mori____mori), Twitter (original uploaded by @enari__), Twitter(@rougannekoze)