Archive for the ‘LA Times’ tag

Is China using the earthquake to political advantage?

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The LA Times has a distinctly different take than most newspapers on the Chinese earthquake on its front page today. The article – ‘Amid the tragedy lies opportunity’ – suggests the Chinese government is using the disaster as ‘an opportunity for a dramatic image makeover’.

‘After months of relentless coverage of Tibetan clashes and human rights abuses,’ Barbara Demick writes, ‘the earthquake shows a new China, one that is both compassionate and competent’. Demick emphasises how ‘much of the footage seen at home and abroad so far comes from state-owned CCTV television’.

Too cynical? Well, if you compare it to the New York Times it is. The NY Times, which also assesses media coverage of the earthquake, comes to a very different conclusion. For the NY Times, ‘the rescue effort playing non-stop on Chinese television is remarkable for a country that has a history of concealing the scope of national calamities and then bungling its response’.

Like its West Coast counterpart, the NY Times notes that the Chinese government news agency, Xinhua, has ‘offered an unusually vigorous stream of updates about casualties and problems confronting rescue teams’. But the East Coast paper has a much less sceptical explanation. Indeed it concludes by quoting a Chinese media professor saying that ‘this is the first time the Chinese media has lived up to international standards… I think the government is learning some lessons from the past’.

Still, Chinese media’s recent reaction to the Olympic flame debacle adds some fuel to the LA Times’ scepticism. During the protests Chinese television news was screening, on a repetitive loop, the moment when a protester tried to grapple the flame away from a disabled flame carrier. In other words – you got it – protester horrid and bad, carrier of the flame good.

Written by Martin Moore

May 14th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

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News goes global

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Three stories in the last 24 hours indicate how little the news media now respects national boundaries. The Daily Mail’s front page lead – ‘The rice with human genes’ – is a scare story presumably intended to elicit responses like that from Maggie in Bournemouth: “When they fed animal parts to cattle we got BSE. Isn’t this a step towards turning us into cannibals?”. But Maggie is in a minority. Hers is one of 10 comments from the UK (at the time of writing), there are another 26 from the US, and one each from Japan, Canada and Ireland.
Yesterday Roy Greenslade reported that US editors may be taking a lead from the Sun’s website and integrating sexier content to drive readership.
And in the Media Guardian today we learn that three reporters are leaving The Times – one for the think tank Policy Exchange, but two for US newspapers – Stephen Farrell to go to the New York Times and Ned Parker to the LA Times.
If readers, editors and journalists are becoming this global it can’t be long before we see this reflected in the media’s content and approach. The Mail and the Times might want to start thinking about what they can learn from the FT and the Economist.

Written by Martin Moore

March 6th, 2007 at 10:47 am

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