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A veteran’s advice for reporters heading to Beijing

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From the Spring 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 10. Kathleen McLaughlin, who covers China for…

From the Spring 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 10.

Kathleen McLaughlin, who covers China for the Bureau of National Affairs and also writes for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Christian Science Monitor, offers advice to foreign journalists heading to Beijing for the first time this summer.

 

• Read up on China.

• Talk to journalists who already live here.

• Set up an RSS feed for China Digital Times (www.chinadigitaltimes.net)

• Read up on the Chinese government and which areas it considers most sensitive.

• If you plan to report on those sensitive topics (and please do), be mindful of placing Chinese citizens (translators, assistants, fixers) in any danger. They are the most vulnerable people in this equation. Most foreign journalists will go home after the Olympics, but the Chinese citizens who assist you with language and logistics need to be protected from any possible repercussions. The government may allow free reporting for foreign journalists in China during the Olympics, but this is not a free country.