The Chilean miners now reaching the surface are quickly finding out just how outnumbered they are by journalists on the ground: roughly 60 to 1.
NBC's Kerry Sanders, one of 2,000 members of the media staked out in Chile's Atacama Desert , said Wednesday morning that the press pack includes reporters from Finland, Yemen, Russia — even North Korea. "The whole world is watching all of this unfold," Sanders said during an on-air broadcast. "And in this 24-hour cycle, whoever's waking up, in whatever part of the world, they're watching."
It's estimated that more than 1 billion people watched the first miner, Florencio Avalos, emerge from the ground at 12:04 a.m. Wednesday local time (11:04 p.m. Tuesday ET) — a historic moment aired by television networks around the world. And for viewers riveted by the story, there are still hours (or perhaps days) of extensive coverage to come -- whether live from the mine site or through interviews with the miners who are still trapped underground.
[Read more: Trapped miners had to move 3,000 tons of rock]
Knowing a good opportunity for exposure when he sees it, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has reversed his earlier position on barring state-run Chilean television from broadcasting the rescue. Pinera himself is also on hand, greeting each new freed miner with a bear hug. The high-profile spectacle is an undeniable boon to his administration, which has been dogged by criticism of allegedly sluggish and inadequate responses to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the South American country shortly after Pinera came into power.Read More »from Mine rescue turns into worldwide media spectacle