By Li Xinran | April 15, 2014
THE mysterious disappearance and search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 have dominated headlines, broadcast news and the internet since the huge aircraft vanished six weeks ago.
Coverage by domestic and international journalists has been intense, but too much reporting by Chinese mainland outlets did not demonstrate the depth and initiative of the reports by their foreign counterparts. Surely, they are capable of investigating and producing “scoops.”
But major stories about the flight, its pings, possible course and intriguing theories about the disappearance have been picked up and translated from CNN, the BBC, The AP, Reuters, AFP and other sources.
These overseas media went to great lengths to interview pilots, aviation, safety, satellite, meteorology, and oceanography experts, and many others.
It cannot be denied that Chinese media dispatched their journalists to the frontline immediately after the flight went missing. Shanghai-based Dragon TV and Oriental Morning Post sent their reporters to Malaysia and Vietnam respectively to trace the incident from the very beginning.
But many Chinese reporters naturally covered the press conferences and appear to focus most of their energy on the families of the Chinese passengers on board and their anger over insufficient information.
Some journalists from the Asia-Pacific region expressed their deep concern over this situation at a recent seminar in Shanghai held by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. They cited the pervasive influence of American and European news agencies, satellite TV channels and newspapers, even in the Asia-Pacific region.
Yuan Wenyi, a Dragon TV frontline reporter, sent back background from Kuala Lumpur many times in the past 30 days, but her viewers were mainly in Shanghai. She was not widely recognized, much less widely quoted.
When China Central Television’s International Channel reported the latest update of the missing flight on Saturday, it quoted CNN, the BBC, Reuters and The AP for background and analysis.
It may take a while to find the missing flight and the victims, but I wish our reporters would contribute more “scoops” and breaking news based on their own investigations.