Viewers 'unmoved' by bad news
16 January 2014 Last updated at 05:08 GMT
An academic study suggests that people who are told about awful things happening abroad in the news often remain unmoved by the reports.
Aid agencies refer to so-called compassion fatigue, which means people do not feel sympathy for the victims of war or natural disaster indefinitely.
However, journalists argue that if reporters can find a way of bringing the reality of suffering home, then audiences may feel sufficiently moved to demand that something be done.
Jim Reed reports for BBC Newsnight.