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Posts Tagged ‘journalist’

TV talenet show exposes China’s race issue. Or, really?

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

CNN website published a story about a black Chinese girl causing controversies allegedly due to her skin color, and concluded that racism is a serious problem in China. Is this reporting objective?

Picture from: SMG

Lou Jing, 20 years old, was born in Shanghai to a Chinese mother and an African-american father. The only difference she has with other Chinese girls is her black skin.

Four months ago, she participated in a TV talent show in Shanghai called “Go Oriental Angel”, and was eliminated before the finale.

At the stage, she said she was raised in a single-parent family, and now wanted to find her father.

Off the show stage, Lou became the center of heated discussion. She was “attacked” on the Internet. Some Chinese netizens even made racial discriminative remarks such as “she shouldn’t have been born” and “get out of China”.

Did she lie?

This is basically the CNN version of the story. But, was it really her skin color that sparked those hostile remarks as CNN claimed?

Let’s hear the other side of the story.

With the help of “human flesh search engine”, some Chinese netizens claimed Lou was lying.

Lou’s mother was married to a Chinese man. When she left work to pursue further study in a Shanghai college, she had an affair with an African-american who also studied there. The man left before Lou was born.

The Chinese man was protective of both Lou and her mother. He said Lou’s black skin was because her mother ate a lot of Chinese herbal medicines when she was pregnant.

For three years, the Chinese man protected “his” family until he could no longer undertake the never-stopped finger-pointing. He gave up his career and left for Japan.

However, Lou said she had never had a father and was raised by her mother single-handedly.

Those who believed she was lying felt it was unfair for the Chinese man who sacrificed so much for three years to bring her up. They started to pour their anger over the web.

Has CNN been objective?

I’m not here to judge which side of the story is true; I can’t prove anything.

But I’m sure that CNN was absolutely wrong to say that it was Lou’s skin color that was the center of the disputes.

Totally disagree. The central issue of the disputes was honesty.

Besides, those racial discriminative remarks were made by just a few. They were not the main voice on the web.

In fact, I had some doubts about CNN’s reporting of this story.

  • The story happened in late August and lasted until mid September. Since then, it has subsided. Why did CNN pick it up after three months later?
  • Why didn’t CNN mention the real controversies about Lou Jing? For fear of defamation? Then why didn’t CNN ask Lou or her mother to clarify?
  • Was it right to say that a few unreasonable people’s remarks stand for what most Chinese people think? Search “Lou Jing” in Chinese in google, there are only less than 600,000 results. If you can read Chinese, you’ll see nearly 80% talked about her story instead of racial problem.

These is nothing wrong to report a single case to address a general issue, but there must be a solid connection between these two; otherwise, it’s like you call a white cloth “black” when all you see is just a black dot on the cloth.

Jounalist’s code of conduct

When we talk about news reporting, there are four rules that journalists have to abide by:

  • objectivity
  • fairness
  • balance
  • impartiality

Richard Sambrook, Director of BBC World Service and Global News Division, had an article “Holding on to objectivity” in which he talked about the differences of these four principles.

Sadly, none of them is loyally implemented in the CNN story.

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Hope and fear, the world of Murielle

November 30, 2009 2 comments

A Chilean girl dreamt of becoming a poet grew up as a journalist who went undercover to reveal a gang of pimps in Concepcion, the second largest city in Chili. She almost got herself raped. “I try to keep fears to myself; I won’t do things like this again,” said Murielle Gonzalez Oisel.

After 8 years as a Chilean magazine journalist, Murielle is now studying in London for a master degree of Journalism. She is proud of herself having the guts to come to a foreign country where everything is new to her.

“My biggest fear is failing the course and not getting my diploma,” she said. But the same woman has the courage to fight against crimes.

A fearless warrior

In 2007, Murielle worked on a story about a pimp gang recruiting countryside girls to work as prostitutes in Concepcion. She went undercover for three weeks and successfully published her investigation in NOS magazine she worked for.

“I got myself into trouble, and the situation was so dangerous,” the fear at that very moment seemed to strike her again before she continued, “I won’t do things like this unless there are more protection measures.”

Despite the great courage she demonstrated in work, Murielle said she didn’t like challenges in general.

A strong woman

She was a distinguished student and everything worked fine for her, but she somehow got lost after she left college and started her career.

“I used to live in a bubble when I was a student, but the real world is quite different,” Murielle said, “I made many stupid mistakes, and I was afraid sometimes.”

She is not the kind of person who talks to people about her problems. “I put fears inside myself, and I want to be strong outside, now matter how fearful I am,” said Murielle.

Hope and fear

But she used to have somebody to talk to.

“When I was afraid, I used to talk to my mom, but she died in 2001,” she looked up for a moment to keep tears from dropping.

“Now I can talk to my boyfriend. He is willing to do everything for me, even giving up his well-paid job in London and move to Chili with me, if I can’t find a job here after graduation,” Murielle smiled.

Hope and fear. This is the world in Murielle’s eyes. This is also why she likes this verse in Whiteman’s poem: “Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done.”