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High-tech gizmos can be a distraction

By An Baijie | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-10 07:45

High-tech gizmos can be a distraction

A reporter with a multi-information channel live broadcast cloud platform in the Great Hall of the People.[Jiang Dong/China Daily]

An unusual piece of futuristic reporting equipment that enables its operator to broadcast on 16 platforms at once certainly caught my eye at this year's two sessions.

The contraption, dubbed the "Iron Man" multi-information channel live broadcast cloud platform, holds more than a dozen gadgets ranging from cellphones to tablets and cameras.

It can record and live-broadcast an event in a variety of digital formats, including panoramic and virtual reality.

High-tech gizmos can be a distraction
An Baijie
At first glance, I thought the reporter encumbered by this strange-looking gizmo was just trying to get attention. Before any two session news had even been reported, he had already hit the headlines.

"It looks like he could launch into space at any minute if he hit the wrong button," said one netizen, on the microblogging site Sina Weibo.

It is always tough for the media to dig out stories from lawmakers and political advisers at the annual two sessions, so it is understandable that some news organizations have adopted high-tech devices to produce on-the-spot reports, particularly in this new age of livestreaming and print-web media integration.

But such fancy equipment is not always as useful as it looks.

On the first day of the two sessions, for example, when hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of journalists gathered in front of the east gate of the Great Hall of the People, the network speed was simply not fast enough to support live broadcasts on multiple platforms.

There is also the issue of whether anything particularly interesting or newsworthy can be reported using such complex, cumbersome equipment.

In my opinion, the media should focus on lawmakers' and political advisers' proposals and suggestions at the two sessions, rather than being distracted by fripperies.

It reminds me of the time, several years ago, when a number of reporters covered the two sessions wearing the prototype Google Glass head-mounted computers. They also became headlines for a while, but their stories did not last.

Of course, it is important for reporters to have the right equipment, and the two sessions should be covered in a variety of different ways. But we should always bear in mind that content matters most.