Blog Post #4

What is the best way to report the news?  Is tradition media and written word the only way?  On the contrary, new media has been growing both in popularity and in size.  These new media help us to understand the world in ways traditional media cannot  To examine the differences in how a story is covered, I looked at a stories about foreigners in China.  I looked at a video report by Vice and a written article by The Diplomat.  Both of these articles discuss how Caucasians are being hired to act as people, often professionals, that they are not in order to promote a business. These videos are different in many ways, but I will examine two ways in which their reporting differs.

The biggest difference between the Vice Video, entitled, China’s Rent-a-Foreigner Industry Is Alive and Kicking and The Diplomat article, ‘Monkey Shows’: Being a Foreigner in China is the format.   The Diplomat chooses to use the written word.    Written word is one of the most traditional formats for any type of reporting.  It is effective because it is concrete and specific.  Visuals are often not a large part of written articles, but sometimes they are added to provide additional interest.  However, the Diplomat choose to use purely written word, staying in a very traditional format.  The author misses an opportunity to interest their audience with imagery.

In contrast, the Vice video balks at the idea of traditional media.  Instead of creating a written article, Vice chooses to do its reporting in a strictly video format.  Many journalists choose to use video nowadays, but usually in combination with written word.  Vice finds this unnecessary.  The video format has strengths that words do not, by capturing the viewers’ attention with imagery.  This imagery provides the viewer with much more contextual and visual information about the contrasts of whites in China than mere words.

The other main difference between the Vice and The Diplomat piece is the way information was gathered. For the Vice video, the reported was on site, gathering information and actively interviewing individuals about their participation acting as a white professional.  This is fairly typical for interviews.  It is highly effective and the interviewer gains a sense of credibility by conducting the the interviews at the source.  In addition, the author of the Vice video, actively participates in a way to more fully understand the white actors.  He himself portrays businessmen and other roles.

In contrast, the Diplomat author does not do their own investigation at all.  This is a major fault with the article.  This is common, such as in the The Business Insider, but it does not make a good sense of reporting.  The author loses their sense of credibility because they were never on site. They did not get to learn firsthand about the whites in China.  Rather than gathering their own info, they gathered information purely from other news sources such as this one (The New York Times)  They offer a lot of quotes from other news sources, but do not provide any new material.  This type of media is a summary rather than true investigative reporting.

While both of these articles have some merit, I would argue that the Vice video is a better form of reporting as it goes to the source.  The Diplomat purely summarizes other findings instead of investigating its own.  The video imagery of the Vice video also provides much context that the Diplomat article was missing due to its written nature.  New media, such as the Vice video, provides new ways to understand and see the world.

Borenstein, D. (2015, April 28). ‘Rent-a-Foreigner in China’. Retrieved March 29, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/opinion/rent-a-foreigner-in-china.html?_r=0
Bertrand, N. (2015, April 29). China’s ‘Rent-a-Foreigner’ industry is booming. Retrieved March 29, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/chinas-rent-a-foreigner-industry-is-booming-2015-4
China’s Rent-a-Foreigner Industry Is Alive and Kicking | VICE | United States. (2016, January 21). Retrieved March 29, 2016, from http://www.vice.com/read/chinas-rent-a-foreigner-industry-is-still-a-real-thing (Start video at 14:00)

‘Monkey Shows’: Being a Foreigner in China. (2015, May 05). Retrieved March 29, 2016, from http://thediplomat.com/2015/05/monkey-shows-being-a-foreigner-in-china/

 

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