Blog 3

Audience Rating or Reliability?


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Photo by: Tianyi Wang Location: The Summer Palace in Beijing (left) The Central Park in New York City (right)

I actually feel better after listening to the podcast today, the situation of those factories in China or in Shenzhen is not that bad, right? As I wrote in last blog, people like me, the ordinary citizens, know something is happening terribly in the factories, but what exactly is the “something”, we will never know unless the reporters or the journalists tell us. I didn’t say anything about the underage workers or the meetings in Starbucks in my blog 2, because I didn’t believe that would happen in my country. In other words, I doubted Mike Daisey’s research, but as I don’t have the chance to investigate myself, so I won’t write them as a part of my passage. Mike Daisey, as an American public figure, standing in front of his audience, told them his experience in China, however parts of his story are not true. I assume he is a famous person in the U.S, because I personally don’t know him, and what he said will be generally trusted by others. Could he just make up stories and pretend they are factual? He said that he wanted people to care about the issues happened in China. However, I think he should do it in a positive way that make people want to know more about the fact, but not the negative way that horrify people and make them think badly of China.

I would agree with Charles Duhigg’s sentence in the talk, he said: “I don’t think holding them to American standards is precisely the right way to look at the situation.” People from China and people from the U.S grow up in totally different ways, we understand different cultures and traditions. The workers of the factories share a room with ten people or more, I would say that is a normal thing in China. Even if you are a college student in a typical university, you will be in that kind of situation. That will certainly be a terrible thing to the students in the U.S, Mike Daisey could share this fact with people, but he needs also share the background. Charles also said that in China 8,700 industrial engineers could be found in 15 days comparing to 9 months in the U.S. That suggests the reason why there are overseas factories, not only because of the cost of labor, but also the other factors like this. It reminds me of the film 2012, I cannot remember the exact words but the character said that those arks could only be possibly made in China.

Facts are so important to the people who are interested in that topic, any publisher or public figure will lead them to a new direction whether right or wrong. There are still lots of misunderstandings of China among the Americans, when I show the pictures of real China to the classmates or friends, they are always surprised. This makes me think how the media reports the news come from China, are they biased? Do they focus more on the audience rating or the reliability?

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2 thoughts on “Audience Rating or Reliability?

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience! It really gives a new perspective on the situation in factories in China. Are the factories often talked about in the news in China, or does censorship keep those reports from reaching the people? I also brought up the reference to the cultural differences between China and the U.S. What seems horrifying to us may be commonplace and necessary in China. Are people used to living ten people to a room because of the large population of China? Is there a lack of space, forcing people to live in close quarters?
    I like the question you pose at the end of your blog; “Does news focus more on audience rating or on reliability?” I think that news stations have to be careful in what they publish, because if they say things that aren’t true, then people will never believe their stories. I also think that a lot of journalists are very tricky in the way they write things, making readers believe they say things that they don’t really say. I don’t think that news agencies can get in trouble for implying something if they don’t come right out and say it. People can read stories how they want to and form their own opinions on the issues that are brought up. Because of this, I believe news agencies do focus on audience ratings, and if they have to twist their stories a bit to make them more interesting, they will.

    • There are news from the factories, but not many, and always they want to report the positive ones instead of the negative, unless there are some serious issue like the suicide happening. And yes, people are used to live with many roommates in China, one of the reason might be the huge increase in the number of college students and the universities don’t have enough fund to build up new buildings, as the tuition in China is relatively low.

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