The recent buildup of Russian troops along its border with Ukraine tested the resolve of US President Joe Biden, the EU and Ukraine itself, as tensions rose over whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing to invade.
In the end, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a statement, saying that he had no intention of giving an inch of territory, essentially throwing down the gauntlet and challenging Putin to “bring it on.”
He called on other democratic nations for help and said that NATO should speed up Ukraine’s membership bid, while the US and EU countries expressed concern. Putin ordered a troop withdrawal and invited Zelenskiy to visit Moscow.
In this week’s national affairs conference, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that Taiwan would never give an inch of national territory or sovereignty, and Vice President William Lai (賴清德) said that “Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation and does not belong to China.”
The two officials were responding to China’s continued attempts at threats and military intimidation, demonstrating their resolve to resist China and protect Taiwan, while at the same time expressing their gratitude to the US, Japan, Australia and Europe for their unrelenting support.
Putin knew to pull back from the brink; power-hungry, dictatorial Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), on the other hand, continues to hold on to his delusions and shows little remorse, despite single-handedly having exposed the world to the death and tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is still fanning the flames, causing problems, and unless he pulls back from the edge of the abyss now, he could see the world joining hands in bringing China to destruction.
An article by Shih Hsin University adjunct professor Chang Yueh-han (張約翰) (“Posts reveal difficulty of journalism profession,” April 28, page 8) very clearly describes the challenges faced by journalists, especially when covering events like the Taroko Express derailment.
Theirs is not a simple task. Their stated mission is to ensure that their audiences — readers, viewers and listeners — are provided the most accurate, informative, comprehensive account possible, whatever the particular event might be. All too often, the event is a tragedy impacting multiple individuals. Two questions immediately raise themselves: What does the public need to know? What does the public want to know?
At the same time, journalists are human beings with human emotions, and common courtesy and respect guide their actions. This often leads to equally human actions, such as not photographing bodies being removed from a crash site or, on occasion, seemingly simple displays of emotion by onlookers and others.
As a public-relations professional teaching PR talent and others, I emphasize time and again the absolute need to put oneself in the shoes of the public and ensure that the absolutely necessary information is communicated.
This may or may not include other, more graphic material.
“Use your best professional judgement,” I caution. “Be mindful of the inherent dangers of sensationalizing the event.”
I recall vividly the comment of a veteran television reporter who was assigned to cover a murder that had taken place on my employer’s property.
“These are the types of event I absolutely hate having to cover,” the reporter said.
She cared about the people involved.
University of Tampa
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