Sunday, April 22, 2007

media should stay as the role model

The TV media in U.S. such as CNN and NBC have gradually given up replaying the video sent by the gunman in the Virginia Tech Massacre. But the question is: should the TV media exaggrate those video 24 hours that day? The shocking images didn't send a positive or even neutral signal at all, but instead, increase the pain for the family who lost their children in the massacre, or lead to a few people's bold idea to do something more terrible than this. (A few students or grown-ups in U.S. were arrested yesterday for threatening to destroy some other schools after watching the VT massacre). Also, for print media, Time magazine set a good example for all the other media, while its front page is 32 portraits of the people who were killed, instead of the gunman's pictures with gun and knife.(Many newspaper made the gunman pictures as the frontpage picture, which is really terrifying and disturbing) It's those people, including young students and respectable professtors, that should be remembered and known by the public.

All in all, we have to think about media's responsbility in the current competitive environment, especiall for TV which could show the raw material containing terrorifying or misleading content directly to the public. We used to focus on the quality of journalism a lot, but now with the spreading of unlimited info, could media still stay as the role model and a good watchdog? or should we do something to fight for it?

The media's role in VT's reporting will be a very memorial day to me, especially as I am travelling in U.S. and watching the media's development directly. Luckily, I gave my voice on this. Here is a piece of news reported by WKYC, an affliate of NBC, in Cleveland. I was in the show, telling my concern. (You could either read the news via here or watch video here)


Ed Lee said...

I sincerely doubt that Asian news organisations would not repeat distressing footage over and over again - as you commented. Okay so we haven't had anything like VT in HK, but take the sensationalist inquiry into cop-killing Tsui Po-ko - all news broadcasters show the same dodgy still pictures of Tsui and library footage of the three respective events over and over again. Think how Tsui's mother feels seeing all this media exposure! In essence, any competitive news organisation would do the same if they had the opportunity.

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Amy or koala said...

Hi, Ed Lee, you made a good point, and that's exactly what we discussed about in U.S.. Is it too juicy to be missed? Since there is no VT-similar event in HK, I have to guess this. But compared with U.S. media and Asian media, I still think U.S. media will repeat much more violent and distressed footage. On that day Cho's video tape received, CNN and other news-dominated channel repeated for over ten times. The total period shooting Anchor, analysts and commentator is much less than the length of showing video itself. I believe that will not be the case in HK or anywhere else in Asia since we have the tradition of shunning violent content. Speaking this, I know it will be hard, especially in such competitive media environment. That's why media professionals should have the basic ethics and principle.