Archive for October, 2009

Faked in China

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

More than thirty students from over 20 nationalities sat in a classroom in the University of Westminster, talking about their preconceived impression of one another’s countries. Here’s a list of what they said about China: faked products, cheap labour, speech control, one-child policy, pollution, among other things.

Wait a minute. “Made in China” became “Faked in China”? How did this happen?

Well, the history went back in the early 1990s. At that time, China was emerging as a world factory, attracting many overseas companies with favourable tax policies, less expensive raw materials, and most importantly, extremely cheap labours.

Engines roaring, numerous “Made in China” items travelled across the globe. Usually, factories produce more than order quantity. They started to sell them at cheaper price without brand tags.

Later they found that people were willing to pay more if they put a brand tag on the items they sold. They started to fake brand tags. Still, the product quality was good.

This was not a serious problem when these faked brand products were sold in small scale. However, some speculators seized the opportunity and spread them into many big cities across the country. In some developed cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, markets selling exclusively these faked brand products came into being.

Things turned nasty when those extra items failed to meet demand. Some factories started to produce faked items. Same faked brand tags, but no longer the same quality. For example, a faked Gucci bag might looked exactly the same as a real one, but the faked one was made of artificial tan instead of genuine leather. An authentic one cost $400, but a faked one cost less than $4.

Many people chose to have a faked one out of economic concern. Even some international stars went to China to buy faked items. At the same time, huge amounts of fakes items were exported, or precisely, smuggled to other countries. “Made in China” has become “Faked in China”.

Realizing the seriousness of this problem, the Chinese government launched several nation-wide campaigns over the past years to crack down faked products.

As we criticise “Faked in China”, we also have to ask ourselves this: if we stop buying faked products, will they stop producing them? Who is to blame ultimately?



Learn from BBC news

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

On Wednesday 28 October, an explosion in a crowded market in Peshawar in Pakistan killed over 90 people and injured more. BBC journalist Orla Guerin reported the story, and below is what I observed and learned from this video clip.

  1. The warning text at the beginning served two purposes: one was to alert people about coming “graphic images”, and the other  was to, most probably unintentionally, lure people to keep on watching. It is human’s nature to be curious about uncommon phenomena.
  2. The journalist didn’t waste words on elaborating the images. Images themselves told the story, such as ruins, smoke, flames, injured people, shouting, running, and so on.
    The first line “Chaos and carnage returned to Peshawa, shops ablaze and lives destroyed.” set the best footage for the chaotic scene. The journalist didn’t describe what was there in the images; instead, she provided information that images couldn’t tell, e.g. location of the explosion, a burning shop that had already been ruined.
  3. Sentences were loosely connected. That pause left time for images and sound that dragged audiences into the story by providing on-site experiences.
  4. “Locals tried to find survivors, then this.”–destroyed buildings collapsed. This was the power of images. In newspaper, all you could say was “As locals tried to find survivors, destroyed buildings suddenly collapsed, roaring dust chasing people who sprinted for lives.” Well, newspaper journalists undoubtedly could tell the scene a thousand times better than I did, but they still couldn’t defeat the live images. This was  a big moment. Lucky for the journalist, though disastrous for the suffering people.
  5. When it came to Hillary’s press conference, it was obviously post-production work. Even the size of the images were different. I guess Hillary’s images were from news agencies.
  6. No interviews. People were busying saving lives. The journalist could have someone before the camera to express their sadness and anger, but that would be inappropriate. Maybe she did, maybe not. I don’t know. This was an issue of ethics.
  7. Piece-to-camera on the top of a fire truck. That’s the privilege you get when you work for an influential media organization.
  8. Altogether there were about 18 shots. They came in various formats: fixed camera images (11, symbolised with – ), tilt down(2, + ), pan(2, & ), and track (3, * ). These different formats, together with various time allocated for every shot, provided a comfortable watching experience. Using above stated symbols, the clip was presented in the following way: – – – + – & * – – + & – – * * – – –
  9. Hillary’s soundbite was 15 seconds long, and the journalist’s ptc 20 seconds. Typical standard.
  10. The journalist used plain words, even for verbs. Except for “shops ablaze and lives destroyed” in the first line and “then this” before the collapse took place, there were not many “listening-to-me” words, as Wynford said in his book English for journalists. The journalist did say “coffins were rushed in…” but the images didn’t show that. Check for yourselves. There were places that could be improved. For example, “A rickshaw brought this man to hospital.” In fact, the rickshaw left the second when the man got off, which showed how urgent things were going on out there.

This is a great piece. There are so much for me to learn. I need time to watch news, but I need more time to study them in order to learn better.

God, please give me more time.

Back at twitter

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Glad to announce that I’m back twittering now! Follow me @

Years ago, I was like an Internet addict, spending over 10 hours per day surfing the web for new and funny staff. When twitter became hot, I joined and started to twitter. I was among the first in China who set their hands on twitter.

But the essence of twitter is instant updating and following, as I understood at that time; however, my friends didn’t twitter. I had no interesting in following people whom I didn’t know. So after a while, I abandoned it.

Years gone, now I’m back. For me, it’s not about following or being followed. I found it a great tool to jot down what I read in the news, especially with a firefox extension that enables instant twittering while reading.

Surprisingly, this wordpress host site has twitter widget. As my memory becomes worse, I really need a handy tool to write things down. At least, this will help the news-of-the-last-week test that we have every Monday morning.


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Media monitoring report

October 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Royal Mail and the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) have been in a protracted dispute over pay, jobs and working conditions. CWU threatened to call for national strike. If a national strike does take place, it will cost the British government £1.5b; about 9.2m people who will file their tax returns by post will be affected; the company risks losing more clients besides Amazon; small businesses will find themselves in trouble for failing to deliver goods to customers; and an estimated backlog of 30m letters and parcels will build up in the company’s sorting offices. This issue has become one with such vital public importance that all types of media including newspapers, radio, TV and online websites have been covering it on a daily basis. Different types of media, however, used different ways in their reporting. This paper studied the news reporting of this issue on newspaper The Times, BBC TV and website The Guardian, examining how they approached the story, how they moved it along, what kind of languages they used, whom they interviewed, etc. Apart from that, this paper made comparisons of news coverage on the three media. News reporting monitoring lasted for three days from 15 October 2009 to 17 October 2009.

Read more…

Armistic Day

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Sorry about my ignorance but I’ve never heard about Armistic Day untile Constantine, our teacher of English for Journalists told us this afternoon.

Well, Armistice Day is on the eleventh day of the eleventh month every year, which commemorates the armistice signed by the Allies and Germany announcing the end of the World War I. China was not involved, so I have an excuse for knowing nothing about it. 🙂

It was interesting to see that this day has so many names in different countries: Armistice of Villa Giusti in Italy, Polish Independence Day in Poland, Veterans Day in US, Remembrance Day in British Commonwealth of Nations, and Day of Peace in Belgium.

Having listed the different names, I realized that I actually knew this day. I’ve heard so much about Veterancs Day. I just didn’t know it is Armistic Day in other former allies countries.

See the powerfulness of US cultural invation. It’s so true that US contributes over 70% of the news around the world.

Closeness = newsworthy?

October 26, 2009 1 comment

“The closer to home, the more newsworthy it is,” said Gary Hudson & Sarah Rowlands in their book The broadcast journalism handbook.

While having dinner, I watched the 19:00 news reporting on BBC News channel. As far as I remember, there was only one non-UK story: the trial of Karadzic in Hague. Other stories included investigation of a crashed RAF plane, swine flu vaccination, scale back on terrestrial army budget cut, etc. There was also sports news and weather forecast.

I was wondering what happened in the other parts of the world? How could it be that only Karadzic was included in this one-hour news reporting? English people really did not care about the rest of the world?

If you watch news reporting on in the US, you’ll notice the same thing.

Could this be because UK and US are developed countries, with one as the ex-center of the universe and the other the present center of the universe? 

This reminded me of the news reporting back in my home country China. There is news reporting from 18:00-19:00. With advertising, sports and weather contents deducted, the actual news time lasts about 40 minutes. Guess what is the proportion of national news and local news to international news? 1:1. There are 20-minute reporting of world news. Strangely, the audience-reaching rate during the international news time is higher than that in national & local news time.

Is it true that “The closer to home, the more newsworthy it is”?

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A grammar mistake called dangling modifier

October 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Wynford Hicks listed 10 common mistakes made in journalism in his book English for Journalists. The first one is the dangling modifier, and a particular case is the floating participle.

In the past few days,  I have looked for a printer on amazon, and this morning I got this email as you can see below.

Amazon grammar mistake

As someone who has recently browsed our range of scanners, we thought you might like to know about our bestsellers.

My first reaction to this sentence was that it was grammatically wrong. Should it be like this:

As someone who has recently browsed our range of scanners, you might like to know about our bestsellers.

It was “you” who was this someone who had recently browsed scanners, not “we” the seller. Or you may say it was grammatically correct, but the sentence itself just does not make much sense.