Once digging, everyone has a story. Good journalists never give up finding a better central character in their stories. However, to me, I feel the biggest challenge is not finding an idea, not shooting visuals, not writing scripts, but getting access to the strongest character.
Recently I watched a Pulitzer story entitled “Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides.” This masterpiece features the young girls who are forced into marriage. They are vulnerable and helpless. They suffer from abuse, but they have to endure. The photographer, Stephanie Sinclair, spent over eight years in India, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia, and got extremely compelling photos to tell this unique story to the world.
For fantastic stories like this, the biggest challenge is access to certain sources. The topic is so sensitive, and the local conservative culture makes it even harder. As journalists, we need to approach them as a friend. We need patience, and make ourselves trustable. We want to have audiences see their struggles, and hear their voices, which is a basic function of journalism.
NEVER GIVE UP COMMUNICATING. People may be afraid to expose their own life to the public, or they may be afraid that others would talk about them. In these cases, journalists sometimes act the same role as negotiators, because we persuade people to participate in our stories. We need to make people understand how important they are in order to tell a better story and get better visuals. It’s a profession that most people don’t understand, so we need to communicate and explain.
KNOW THE SUBJECTS. Another important thing to get full accessibility is to know the subjects. Their rejection always goes with invisible difficulties or controversies behind that. We need to understand them, and find a best approach that benefit both sides. This is why journalism sometimes is all about problem solving. Once you get full accessibility, the story will definitely go deeper and deeper.
New technology time and again renovates how journalism works, from text to video, from paper to online, and so on. To wear a technology sounds like a science fiction, but it’s happening.
Currently Google is developing another interesting tool – Project Glass, which is able to display all sorts of information in front of your eyes. It’s just like a wearable computing process, with combination of smartphone, GPS and so on.
Take a look at the technological breakthrough from the official video release.
New technology could easily bring excitement to the media industry. This is once again the case where the new gear will assist future journalism development.
With the gear, you not only see things you normally see, but also see things you don’t normally see – virtual information. For journalists, the glass means more data collection, faster information researching, quicker communication, as well as free of hand to do reporting in the field. You tell the glass what to research, and it immediately displays everything in front of your eyes. Journalism has a lot to do with communicating and researching, and the tool will help journalists on both sides in an amazing way.
Now the glass is at the very early stage. Allegedly, it carries a high definition camera, and has a relevant app on its scream, which allows journalists to do interview with someone who feels uncomfortable in front of a camera. The person just needs to look at your eyes and talk like in a daily conversation. Another advantage is so obvious in breaking news. Reporters will be able to know latest information on the way, and do recordings at the scene, even without a camera or laptop on hand.
At the same time, this brings concerns as well. Since we could use the device without holding it in hand, it’s even more unnoticeable to know what others are recording or researching. It could lead to more privacy conflicts in the future.
Despite that, I believe Project Glass could be another round of storm.
People make protests to show their objection by words or action. That’s the case in Iran where people show anger towards the anti-Islamic film, in China where people against Japan’s purchase of Diaoyu Islands, and else wherever people feel irritable with the government action.
In China, I haven’t seen people being so angry until news came that Japan purchased Diaoyu Islands. Tracking the source of anger, it’s due to not just the current islands conflict, but also the historical origin – Japan’s invasion into China during World War II. There’s a deeply-rooted hatred lying in the mind of Chinese people, especially for the elder generation.
In response to Japan’s purchase, Chinese people rally together across the nation to demonstrate on streets, burn Japanese cars, destroy Japanese properties, etc. They hate everything related to JAPAN. Protest crazily upgraded into violence. But what does that bring about? Success? NO! We are hurting our own Chinese people, we are smashing our own humanity conscience, and we are turning into monsters, while these acts do tiny help to address the conflict.
Here’s a short story:
Jianli Li, 51, met the demonstration while driving in his Japanese car on Sep. 15, 2012. The demonstrators destroyed his car, and more seriously, his head got hit by a U-shape iron lock. His wife begged the demonstrators by saying: “Buying this car cost us years of saving. Don’t do that to us! ” But that does no help. After being sent to the hospital, Li was in a coma for three days.
See what has been done? The islands conflict brings nationalism and patriotism. Everyone has their rights to demonstrate their anger, but not in this way. We don’t have rights to hurt others, and to damage other’s property. We should never blind ourselves with stupid patriotism. Refusing to buy Japanese products means less free trade and economic slowdown. Smashing Japanese cars means extra money are needed to repair, or even to buy a new car. Let’s do things in a smarter way.
Hey, guys! We are hurting more!