Fri, Aug 25, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Shun intrusive sports reporting

By Chad Liu 劉昌德

New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) announced in an open letter on Aug. 17 that -- because the frenzied media reporting after his revelation that he was adopted had invaded his family's privacy -- he would not give any further interviews to Taiwanese media.

As a fan of Wang living in Taiwan, this made me sad because the consequence will be that fans like me will not be able to read first-hand reports in local media about Wang. But as a reader who has suffered the media's compulsive gossip reporting I support Wang's decision.

Furthermore, I think that all of Wang's fans and Taiwanese should respond to Wang's statement by refusing to watch news channels. This would be a way to clearly voice their dissatisfaction and let media outlets know that they do not want this kind of reporting. It could also achieve the goal of reducing the current media chaos.

Given that both printed media and electronic media ran stories regarding Wang's background, why have I only picked news channels? There are three simple reasons. First, 24-hour news channels produce an alarmingly large number of news reports, and are thus also the primary source of gossip reporting.

Second, the use of satellite news gathering (SNG) groups is the most invasive way of reporting, as seen in the approach to Wang's family and other interviewees.

Third, news channels are only a small part of television, so several alternatives remain even if we turn them off. Sports fans who refuse to watch news channels still have the sports channels; if you are not a sports fan, in place of news channels, there are other channels broadcasting drama, movies, entertainment and so on.

Refusing to watch news channels is not an end in itself. Sports fans as well as the general public can use this to let news channels and other news media understand that there are many other issues worth covering.

If news channels really want to show their concern for overseas Taiwanese baseball players, they can focus on analyzing Wang's performance as a pitcher. In addition, they should keep track of the performance of other Taiwanese players playing in the US major league, such as Colorado Rockies pitcher Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝) and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kuo Hong-chih (郭泓志), or Japan-based players Chang Chih-chia (張誌家), Hsu Ming-chieh (許銘傑) and Lin Ying-chieh (林英傑). Reporting on these players' performance is a lot more meaningful to the public than reporting about Wang's family background.

If news channels really want to show their concern for baseball development in Taiwan, they should run stories about how the Wang fever has caused more fans to watch US baseball on TV, which has resulted in falling interest in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League. Reports on the indirect impact on Taiwan's baseball industry when players like Wang and others move overseas and the possible responses, as well as rumors of recurring game-fixing in the local baseball league, are also more interesting than Wang's personal background.

If news channels want to show concern for Taiwan's sports culture, they should spend more time analyzing the Taiwanese F4 team's performance in the Asia Professional Basketball tournament over the past few days, or comment on foreign teams' harsh criticism of Zhongshan Football Stadium's facilities during the recent Asian Nations Cup.

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