Newsworthy or racism?


It was heartbreaking to hear the news that terrorists bombed a concert in Paris last Friday and killed more than a hundred people.

News media coverage instantaneously responded to the tragedy. The criticism of the terrorism, condolences from international leaders and follow-ups on Paris keeps popping up on different media. Soon many people on Facebook added a French flag on their Facebook profile as a way to demonstrate that they expressed their sorrow to France.

At the same time, many people criticized that news media are biased and racism because at around the same time Japan experienced a 7.0 earthquake and a subsequent tsunami but received almost zero media attention.

I think news media have their own standard of evaluating whether a piece of information is newsworthy or not. Audiences have heard about a lot of outrageous terrorist activities in the Middle East and are conditioned to associate the region with terrorism and get used to receiving this terrorism news from those places.

But in France, in Paris, which people fantasize as a place of romance and fashion not terrorism, was actually under attack of terrorists. The unexpectedness and rareness would attract more attention.

Japan is an island country that constantly under threats of earthquake and tsunami. It is reported that Japan would go through more than 10 earthquakes a year, ranging from some earthquake people may never feel about to some big ones that may trigger tsunami. Considering no casualty has been reported, the Japanese earthquake might not be equally newsworthy as the bombing in Paris.