The ongoing search for MH370 quietly marked a milestone on July 8, 2014: Four months have elapsed since the Beijing-bound Malaysian plane went missing. As the days pass and little progress in the search is made, the passengers's loved ones are struggling to keep momentum in efforts to find the plane.
“We have had a slower start than we expected, but the response has been steady so that is a good sign,” Sarah Bajc, the partner of passenger Philip Wood, said via email. Still, she said, “I think compassion fatigue is a good way to put it.”
The mysterious saga of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight has been an enormous story in media everywhere. CNN was heavily criticized for saturation coverage of the missing airliner, exhausting all angles and continuing to focus on it even as other important international news events took place. To its credit, the network was able to double viewership in the crucial 25-54 age demographic for the month of March, when the aircraft went missing.
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker told Mashable that the criticism didn’t bother him because numbers suggest that it’s what the audience wanted to see. “I think that if people want to be critical of CNN for overcovering a story, that’s totally fine with us. Clearly, the audience has spoken and said that what CNN did was correct.”
But as months passed, even CNN has moved on from the coverage, and so has public interest in the story. MH370 headlines are no longer dominating news media, even though more theories and narratives continue to be introduced, and that slowing interest is reflected in Bajc’s fundraising efforts.
Writing to the International Business Times last month, Bajc said that their Indiegogo campaign, Reward 370, “needs lots of nudging.” The parameters of the campaign have been tweaked since its initial conception, lowering its fundraising amounts to a more attainable goal. When the campaign first started in early June, the group aimed to raise $5 million. As of June 14, Bajc said, the campaign received 543 donations, totalling $31,643 -- far from the $5 million goal.
The fundraising goal was changed to $100,000, and funds instead will be used to supplement efforts to secure the $5 million donation through separate channels, wealthy donors who are able to give larger sums. As of Wednesday, the campaign had raised $92,643 from 933 funders. Yesterday, fundraisers announced they would be extending the fundraising time for an additional 30 days to help reach that goal.
“Whilst there is never a good time to commence a campaign, recent world events have conspired against us. World Cup, Iraq, Israel, to mention a few, have come and taken the focus from MH370 and the plight of the families still waiting for news,” Ethan Hunt, another organizer, wrote on the campaign website.
“Many families must move forward with claiming insurance and such, so a death certificate is needed,” Bajic said. “From a personal perspective, I refuse to believe that Philip is dead until I have a body to bury.”