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A film maker wants the media to give a broader view

DISCUSSIONS | May 31, 2006

Jingcao Hu, Beijing

2001 Nieman fellow; now with China Central Television

I have a very strong feeling, that although we have very highly developed technology of communication – making the world like a small village – the convenient communication does not automatically bring us more understanding. Instead, there is more hate, more conflict. From my point of view, it is not the technology but the media that play the decisive role in helping people from different countries to know each other.

After 9/11, the main news about the U.S. has been mostly about the war, and the reason of the war. Whenever people have no other way to get information, then the war makes for the whole image of the America. (Of course, we have other sources, but there are only 24 hours every day, and the war is the dominant news.)

What can make a change?

My own experience: I produced a documentary from 2002-2004, telling a story of events that involved China and the U.S. from 1872 to 1881, when Chinese government sent 120 boys to the U.S., wanting them to be educated and helped China’s modernization. The average age was 12, and the boys lived in New England with local families.

This documentary was broadcast in China in 2004, and rebroadcast many times. Many of my friends told me that this story changed much of their view of the American people. I mention this just want to say that even if all the images in the media were true, they still would be only part of the truth. The only way to get at truth is to try to put all the separate images together.

So the question is: How can the media help people know more sides of something? 

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