Choosing Christmas Trees: Artificial or Live

Christmas Tree: Do you like artificial or live

Christmas season is coming.

A Christmas tree is a symbol of happiness for both a city and a family. On November, 30, people are crowded in Capitol building in Madison, looking forward to the city Christmas tree lighting ceremony (Please follow the link to see my Youtube video story). This year’s Chrismas tree is a forty-foot Wisconsin-grown Balsam fir, a real tree that has been living 45 years on earth. The green leves and colorful ornaments made by school children make Capitol Christmas tree look gogeous and grab lots of people’s eyeballs. When people raise their head and appreciate the beauty of the trees, it is the ever-green symbol of this elder live tree that draw most of the people’s attention. But when you ask people what kind of trees you would choose as your family Chrismas trees, the answers are various: Some prefer artificial trees, while others prefer live trees.

Both sides have their own reasons: people who prefer artificial trees says, artificial trees are cheaper, greener and last longer; people who prefer real trees says, real trees  are safer, greener, and recyclable.

From the enviromental perspective, the debate about which kind of trees is greener is a long-time argument. Artificial trees can be reused for many years, but the polyvinyl chloride–a kind of chemical material that is used to make artificial trees are non-renewable and can result in the emission of carcinogens, which is polluting and unhealthy if people breathe them.  While for the real ones, many people think chopping down trees is a behavior that destroys enviroment and thus not as green as artificial ones. However, tree growers in Madison told us that, on the contrary, purchase of Christmas trees stimulate the crop of Christmas trees. It is because there are many people buying Christmas trees that tree growers would plant so many trees. And large acres of trees also play an important role of cleaning air and beautifying enviroment. Also, people who carry real trees to home could also enjoy cleaner and healther air that is brought by trees. Thus, from this point, real trees could be greener than artificial ones.

This year’s drought condition has brought a great impact on Christmas trees. Many young seedlings are destroyed, but many tree farmers still keep mature trees, thus the tree market won’t be influenced this year. Sun Pairie tree farm worker Kyle Marks says, drought doesnot influence this years’ tree harvest, and there are still many people coming to the tree farms to chop down trees, “because it could last longer,” he said, especially Balsam fir.

Choosing aritificial trees or live trees? It looks that each choice has its own advantages, but no matter what choice you make, ever-green symbol is an ever-lasting thing that everyone brings to home.


The Book “Aim For The Heart” aims for my heart

      aim for the heart

     Al Tompkin’s book “Aim for the Heart” is undoubtedly one of the most useful guide books I have read about broadcast writing skills. The book includes clear description and specific examples to help us understand how to write effectively in broadcast news and why we have to do like that. Tompkins’ examples cover the professional experiences and reflections of his peers, his colleagues and himself, as well as excerpts from broadcast scripts that show the details and script-conceiving process behind them, which are direct and helpful. Moreover, his writing style is simple and easy to understand, just like what broadcast news script does. And his language is also humorous, humanized and sometimes even touching, which makes me feel like talking to a friend who wishes me to succeed. I also prefer the way he concludes at the end of each session or chapter, which makes the readers clearly aware of focus and important principles in that session or chapter and helpful for people to memorize.

     The book includes eleven chapters, of which I suppose that the first seven chapters mainly focus on the skills or principles for writing and shooting in TV news and are also the most helpful parts I personally benefit from. The last three chapters discuss the ethics, power of enterprise reporting and how to survive and thrive in today’s TV newsroom and so on, which are also absolutely quite helpful and enlightening. Here, I would like to focus on my reflections on some of my most favorite chapters and  principles I have learnt from them and discuss how I would use them in my reporting practice.

     From the first chapter, I have learnt two things: how to find focus of story and how to use soundbites. Tompkins says “Find a tight focus that connects with the viewer’s head and heart,”(Tompkin, Al.,pp.12) for me, this means every time we compose a script, we need to select those touching and interesting information from the whole story and focus on them. The “touching” and “interesting” feelings are from the readers’ side, not from the reporters’ side, that is, we have to stand in the audiences’ side to think what mostly relate to them, what they mostly want to know, and what they might be most interested in. When Tompkins says “selecting, not compressing,”(pp.4), it causes my resonances. Because almost every time I compose my script, I would find there are too many details and information that I think are important and wish to insert into my story, but the script limitation would never allow me to do that. For a long time, my solution was to compress the content, which usually resulted in an unclear and messy script. Then, I gradually realize that it may not be necessary to include every detail in the stories. If standing in the audiences’ side, no one could accept so many details in two minutes, and too much information also would confuse viewers’ mind and make them unclear about the core that the story conveys. Thus, the keys are to select and to focus, selecting information that are the most interesting and most concerned by public, focusing on the parts that connect viewer’s head and heart. And if “Viewers remember what they feel longer than what they know,”(pp.12) then it is equally important to catch the most touching moment and visualize it by using proper shots and soundbites. Tompkins suggests using soundbites for the subject part of story and copy for the objective part, which makes me realize the clear role-assignments between soundbites and copy, and they should not repeat each other. In practice, I should use the character’s soundbites to show their thoughts and emotion, while use my copy to illustrate the information which are not able to be conveyed from the videos.

     Chapter two discusses the frame of the story, which tells us how to capture viewers’ heart from beginning to the end. First, “Surprises.” Tompkins explains that surprises are like gold coins, which appear at the beginnings to make viewers feel something and catch their eyes at first glance, then would not stop there. By using hourglass frame and trickily distributing the “gold coins” to develop the story, you would keep viewers’ interest, and the last gold coin should be in the close, which should be a tight summary and close the story circle. The chapter compares the different effects between Inverted pyramids and hourglass frames, which is quite obvious that the former one is boring than the latter one. Inverted pyramids may be quite applicable to newspaper, but not quite for TVs. Because the character of TV is visualization and it conveys information in a more vivid and direct way, so we have to write for eyes and ears. In hourglass frame, putting “what happened” first instead of news first could attract people’s interest and keep them follow the story, which I think is a way that movies usually do. So, in my future reporting, I would firstly select pieces of important information in my story, and then gradually distribute them during my stories. I would put the information or the videos that could mostly arise viewers’ curiosity or interest as my first series of shots, then distribute “gold coins” until the story ends. If I have strong emotional shots, I would not hesitate to use it as a close, because “what you say and show at the end of the story is often what lingers in the viewer’s heart.”(pp.33

     Chapter three focuses on skills of employing characters to tell stories, the importance of central compelling character (CCC). And Tompkins says “the best characters are those who are closest to story/issue.”(pp.42). I remember once I have done a video story about “Treekeepers classes.} The TreeKeepers classes itself contained no much information, after I took videos of the classes, I was looking for my interviewees. This time I met an elegant old lady who attracted me by her attentive attitude of listening to the classes and taking notes. Then, I talked to her not as a journalist but as a friend or a person who wish to know her, because I was curious what makes her so attentive to the classes. Then, I got my answer, knowing it is one of her maples’ death that made her come to this class and became tree volunteers, knowing that she owns a large farm and backyard and build tens of trees, and knowing her passion for trees and nature. Then, I went to her home and saw her beautiful backyard, and my curiosity and frank feelings make this lady told me more about herself, and I know she is a skin cancer patient, but she is brave and optimistic, and she is also very kind, kind to trees, kind to small animals and kind to people.

     In the TreeKeepers classes, there was one student telling me that the lady always provides free ride for her during weekend to somewhere she needs to go. After knowing these stories, I feel moved by this lady, and understand her passion for life and nature from a deeper level. At this time, I suddenly understand the “interesting question”–that is, telling stories from human angle, or humanizing stories, recording the moving moment associated with the story. I think that is what Tompkins says “put a face on the story”(pp.36) and “use the little picture to demonstrate the big picture.”(pp.40) Central compelling characters would bring our stories more close to viewers’ eyes and heart, and also would make them better understand and remember the stories. So, “digging stories behind people” is the lesson I have leant from both “Treekeepers” story and Tompkins’ book.

     And the “Treekeepers” story also makes me deeply reflect how to do good interviews, and the chapter six of  Tompkins’ book is about the art of interview. Being a good listener is really an important skill, and the characters of good listeners listed in the book make me realize that if you listen to interviewees just like listening to your best friends rather than listening to a “job target,” then many problems could be avoided. Besides, the book also mentions many questioning skills, such as “focusing on one issue at a time,”(pp. 64), “asking open-ended questions,”(pp.61), “be naive,”(pp.64) and “be touch. Be human. Be honest,” (pp.66) which I think are very helpful and worth reviewing them frequently in future reporting.

     For me, another impressive point mentioned in this chapter is the power of “silence,” which I have never noticed before and thus have never used into my videos or scripts. In daily life, I am a talkative person and usually the controlling part of a conversation, thus seldom I realize that giving listeners time to digest information could make them more attentive on the conversation. Silence is an interview skill and is also a story-telling skill in broadcast. As Tompkins says “silence builds suspense, creates space and pulls the viewer deeper into the scene,” (pp.81) I would use silence videos when it could better authenticate the pictures.

     As a journalist, I would always remind myself of keeping informed by various ways (internet, newspaper, magazines etc.) and be sensitive to news and stories. When working in a newsroom, we need to learn how to manage stress and have a good time management (for example, keep a work memo in hand to make everything ordered and scheduled) to avoid rashing to the last minute to finish work and overworking. Besides, we also need to avoid office gossip and politics and also learn to ignore those things.

     The last part of this book touched me a lot, which tells us “the meaning of life.” Working for making money and getting stuffs is not wrong and in fact quite natural for humanbeings, but the meaning of life does not only lie in “surviving” but lies more in “living.” Living includes contribution to society and the realization of self-value. For me, only a career that could help me realize my self-value and meanwhile could benefit people around me or further a society is my ideal career.

Identifying Good Science Writing

     Physics Review Letter (PRL) is one of the most prestigious journals in physics field. It was established in 1958 by Editor Sam Goudsmit who was a Dutch-American physicist famous for jointly proposing the concept of electron spin with George Eugene Uhlenbeck in 1925, and implemented his vision of converting the letters section of Physical Review into a new standalone journal. Since then, it has been published by the American Physical Society as an outgrowth of Physical Review for 50 years.

     PRL features rapid publication of short reports of significant fundamental research in all fields of physics. The shortness of its articles (at most four pages long) and the fast communication of the most important development in physics are keys for PRL to have risen above the rest. Today’s PRL has became the world’s foremost physics letters journal with the impact factor hovering around 7 ( the impact factor is a measure indicating the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals, a little like Nielsen Ratings in TV). PRL is so successful with physicists throughout the world that it now publishes 3500 letters per year. Besides weekly coverage of major advances in physics, PRL also provides its diverse readership with cross disciplinary development. This can be found from its topical sections which do not only include all regular branches in physics, but also cover interdisciplinary areas, such as the section of “soft-matter, biological, and interdisciplinary physics”. The broad coverage of physics and physics-relating science should be another important reason for PRL’s outstanding status among other physics journals.

     Good science journals usually have good quality of science writing. The characteristics of the writing in PRL can be summarized as followings: First, the paper published in PRL does not exceed 4 pages, and the language is always concise, clear and objective. Second, most of the sentences are complex sentences. This does not mean they are wordy or complicated; it means sometimes they have one independent clause and one dependent clause, or one independent clause and more modifying parts. It is important to write complex sentences in those papers because they express a lot and can effectively describe a situation. Besides, the PRL paper is always using impersonal style. Although occasionally the authors use pronoun “we” to emphasize their work and make the writing approachable, still the passive voice is predominant in the whole paper and the third person or things rather than the first person or people are subjects of sentences. Furthermore, the organization of PRL paper follows logical transitions and usually includes abstract, introduction of background, and theoretical or experimental work, as well as summary and reference. Meanwhile, Tables, figures and diagrams are always used where they will save words or make the author’s argument clearer.

     In conclusion, PRL is one of the most outstanding Journals in physics area both because of its rapid and effective communication of significant physics development and good quality of writing and editing. That is also why physics people would feel very proud and excited if their paper could be accepted and published in PRL.

“Blue Sky Girls”–The Story of Rett Syndrome

     October 13, 2012 is Madison first year’s participation of the international “Blue Sky Girls,” the annual event that raises the public’s awareness of Rett Syndrome and commemorates the strong will and determination that Rett Syndrome patients have shown to fight for the disease.

     Strongly moved by the optimistic attitude and strong will of Rett Syndrome patients and their family, I chose this topic as my second multimedia project, and made a video story about “Blue Sky Girls.”

“Blue Sky Girls” event held in Madison Capitol, Wisconsin (October 13, 2012)

     Rett Participants climbed up the steps of the Capitol building to show a symbolic meaning that “ no matter how difficult it is for them to walk with physical difficulty they have, but yet they move upward and forward.” Says Kelly Schoeller, the event coordinator, also mother of Mackenzie, a nine years-old girl living with Rett.

     Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have recently signed a Rett Syndrome Awareness Month Proclamation for October. Madison firefighters (local 311 Firefighters Union) came to the event scene to assist Rett girls to complete their symbolic climbing up to the top.

     Rett syndrome was first described in 45 years ago and is a progressive neurodevelopmental disorder that is caused by mutations in X chromosome on a gene called MECP2, thus occurs almost always on girls. Rett Syndrome occurs in 1 of every 10,000 to 23,000 female births worldwide and can be found in all racial and ethinic groups.

     According to International Rett Syndrome foundation (IRSF), Rett syndrome is a developmental disorder and first recognized in infancy. Many Rett girls loses their milestones during their growth. Typically 12-18 month, they begin to lose their ability to walk, communicate and most of their hand functions. Symptoms also include:

• Loss of speech and motor control
• Functional hand use replaced by compulsive hand movements
• Disordered breathing
• Severe digestive problems
• Orthopedic abnormalities including scoliosis and fragile bones
• Disrupted sleep patterns
• Extreme anxiety
• Seizures
• Impaired cardiac and circulatory functions
• Parkinsonian tremors

     Most Rett girls are usually believed by their family members not to lose their ability to understand and are just “trapped” in their bodies that does not work. The “Blue Sky Girls” event also plays a role to remind people that “not equate inability to speak to inability to understand,” says Schoeller, “ especially with the new study coming out that their cognitive ablities are better than what they thought. Nobody likes the word ‘mental retardation,’ but that was when you read some of the older papers, it would say it was one of the common causes of metal retardation in girls. But honestly, they have’t been able to test the cognition in children who cannot speak and cannot point, so I think they underestimated it. Clearly, these girls are communicating, and clearly they have something to say.”

     According to IRSF, “in 2007, researchers heralded a major breakthrough by reversing RTT symptoms in mouse models. Rett syndrome is recognized as the ‘Rosetta Stone’ of other neurological disorders, with genetic links to other disorders like autism and schizophrenia.”

     Dr Qiang Chang, Rett Syndrome investigator in Waisman Center, UW-Madison, says, “The more research we do, obviously the more we know about this disease and find something. When I started ten years ago, and searched for this disease or this gene in the database, there are very few studies that have ever been done, maybe 20 or so, but just in the last these ten years, there are probably thousands of reports that have been published related to this gene and this disease. ” Although there is still distance from basic research to clinical drug, Chang says, “this indicates hope.”

     Dr. Chang also mentioned that one milestone study in 2007 gave RTT families and researchers hope that RTT is curable.  In that study, a research group led by Dr. Adrian Bird showed that RTT symptoms can be reversed in mouse if the normal MeCP2 product is produced after disease onset.”

     “Blue Sky Girls” has become a worldwide event since last year. This year, according to event organizers in Madison, about 24 states and seven countries celebrate the event simultaneously.

A Talk between a Journalist and a Scientist

   A few weeks ago, in one of my graduate class” Science Communication”, classmates discussed the topic about the communication barriers between scientists and science journalists. The debate sounds like an old and everlasting one, and the two sides seems not able to achieve good understanding with each other at all the time.  

   When I took apart in this discussion in class, my feelings were different from any other of my classmates, which is all due to my special background: I am a physicist in my past five years, and a science journalist since this year. “Is there such a huge disagreement between two sides?” I keep wondering this during the discussion.  Because from my own experience, I believe a good scientist should be able to simply his research work in clear sentences that general audience could get,  and similarly that a good journalist could be able to objectively transfer what the scientists say to the audiences without being questioned later by scientists. Why do scientists  think journalists cannot transfer what they said accurately?

Then, in the following week, I had a chance to go to a hospital to interview a medical expert for one of my project. When I met him, and after he knew I made this for a class and also may go to publication, he told me that, “If your work just go for a class, I propably could answer your questions and let you do the interview now. But if it is for publication, then I dont think you could interview me today, we have to find another time. I need time to think how to answer your question more properly, since I will take responsiblity to the public for my words.” After hearing this, I felt a little confused and asked him why he could not explain his research and answered my question properly on that day, since I believe he should be able to talk to a general audience about his work anytime since he has already done a long-time research on this area. “Are you worried that  I am not able to translate your meanings accurately to the public?” I asked, “well, journalists always cannot translate it well.” He answered.

At that moment, I suddenly realized what the barrier is between a journalist and a scientist in the class discussion: sometimes, just one side loses credibility in the other side. This is a real example. Then, I explained to the medical expert that I was used to be a scientist before too, and totally understood his concerns. But what I would like to know is just some general knewledge about his research, and I think it should be able to be concluded in simple and clear sentences. “If I were not a journalist, if I were just a patient family member, and ask you this question simply to get some general knowledge about this, then how could you answer me?” I asked, smiling. He silenced. “And, that is all what I wish to ask and show to the audiences in my interview.” I said.

Luckily, this interview was finally done on time after we had a further communication with each other and both had a better understanding with each other. This interview gave me a good example about the barrier between a journalist and a scientist. Although there are many reasons for this phenonemon, and solution is also not an easy one, yet mutal credibility and understanding seems very  important to some extent.

My Reflection on the Book “The Elements of Journalism”

 Book Cover: The Elements of Journalism
          As a person whose long-year previous training is in physics, and who is now a beginner to enter the field of journalism, I think this book plays a role of a helpful guide leading me to this field with simple language and approachable style of narrative. Here is some of my reflections on this book:    Based on large amount of empirical cases, deep investigation and thorough explanation, the book “The Elements of Journalism” by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel illustrates key principles leading to good journalism practice, reviews the evolution of media core values from historical perspective and discusses the challenge and dilemma modern journalists are facing. It is an effective guidebook that helps beginners to form a correct picture of how journalism should look like, understand the purpose and obligation of journalists and grab the skeleton of good journalism practice. The book summaries ten principles as the elements of journalism profession, in which the first nine principles are concepts and practice skills for journalists and the last one is to let citizens know what they should expect from news and their rights and responsibilities.     By reviewing the root of news and history of journalism, the author reveals that the primary purpose of journalism is relatively consistent through history, which is “to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing.” Journalists should focus on widest social communities—not just on special interests’ groups, such as expert elite or politicians. They should also represent the public, “voice for voiceless,” and be responsible for promoting democratic freedom. However, as the twenty-first century begins, new challenges, such as the rise of market-based journalism, have threatened the obligation of journalists. Deadline pressure and business pressure make media practitioners more driven by commercial interests rather than the original purpose of providing the truth for citizens.     The first principle mentioned in this book is journalists’ obligation of truth. The author explains there that the truth is not “in the absolute or philosophical sense,” but in a practical or functional form. The journalistic truth does not only mean journalists’ reporting correct names, places and events, but also mean that the publishing accounts should be “substantially true.” Besides, the interpretation of journalists in news reporting should also be true and avoid any kind of misleading or misinterpreting. The author also mentions that journalistic truth is a “sorting-out” process, which inspires me of applying this method in my reporting. Just like what the author explains, the first report of news stories may only “signal a new event or trend,” which may stay in the surface level of accuracy. Thus, further verification and follow-up stories are indispensible for gradually reaching the truth. I suppose that successive reporting can be an effective way in guaranteeing the truth of news.

     The second principle is about journalists’ loyalty to citizens. When journalists are doing reports, it is important that they should be independent from any non-citizen-concerned factors, such as media ownership influence or commercial interests. Their coverage should be straight and objective, avoiding “self-interested or slanted for friends” or people who buys an ad.

     Chapter four is the part that I am engaged in most during reading this book, and there are several practice skills that I suppose are very useful in journalistic practice. The chapter mainly talks about the third principle—“The essence of journalism is a discipline of verification.” The methodology of Verification is essential for journalists to build the credibility among citizens. The author also mentions that the frequently discussed terms like “bias,” “objectivity,” “fairness,” “balance,” should have new meanings. Different from the common opinions, the author suggests replacing the word “objectivity” with “thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency.”  And the author also argues that it is hard to avoid bias, which is part of human nature. I especially agree with his thoughts that “Fairness” and “balance” are not aims, but means that assist us to achieve truth. As the author illustrates, some stories cannot be equally split or have an equal number of quotes from different sides.

     The fourth principles relates to maintaining independence from those journalists cover. This principle has been mentioned once when the author talks about the obligation of truth. In chapter five, the author expands the scope of journalists’ independence and discusses it in great detail. Journalists should be independent from commercial interests, media ownership and those people or events they cover. When they select stories, they should also be independent form bias of class or economic status.

      Besides, I have also enjoyed learning professional skills as a journalist from the book “The Element of Journalism.” For example, the author mentions in the first chapter, the primary purpose of journalism is relatively consistent through history, which is “to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing.” Journalists should focus on widest social communities—not just on special interests’ groups, such as expert elite or politicians. But deadline pressure and business pressure make media practitioners more driven by commercial interests rather than the original purpose of providing the truth for citizens. These phenomena make me realize that sometimes, we need to strive to keep the purpose of journalism in mind and keep the obligation of journalism in practice, no matter what kind of pressures are. Because informing citizens of truth is the root of journalism, which if we give up, journalism will lose its essence and is not able to positively contribute to the society.

     Also Chapter four is the part that I am engaged in most during reading this book, and the argument that author has made that it is hard to avoid bias, which is part of human nature is what I especially agree with. I also agree with his thoughts that “Fairness” and “balance” are not aims, but means that assist us to achieve truth. As the author illustrates, some stories cannot be equally split or have an equal number of quotes from different sides. I think these ideas can help me reasonably understanding the word “objectivity” and avoid pursuing it stiffly in my practice. Because, as the book states, sometimes balancing stories which cannot be balanced equally is not a true reflection of reality. Thus, when I do my reporting coverage, my balance will follow the nature situation of the stories and assign quotes from different sides in the proportion that best reflect the true pictures.

Ethical Persuasion in Documentary Film “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”


Ai WeiWei

Ai WeiWei

     A period ago, I saw a documentary film named “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” which tells an inside story about a Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. The film is directed by Alison Klayman, who gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China.

     From the film, one can see that Ai Weiwei is portrayed as China’s most famous international artist and also most outspoken domestic critic. He is against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, and he is also brave enough to express himself and organize people through art and social media. Obviously, the filmmaker holds a positive attitude toward this artist and also employs several kinds of techniques to persuade audiences to accept her opinion. The persuasion techniques include interviews, visual and verbal materials etc, from which several ethical issues draw my attention.

     One of the most important persuasion techniques in this film is interview. In order to show that Ai Weiwei is an outspoken domestic critic, whose against-government actions are due to the dark side of government and the lack of democracy in the society while not due to Ai Weiwei’s own biases or personality, the director interviewed multiple sources, of which major ones include Ai’s friends—several Chinese famous artists, his former college classmate, several normal citizens, and American journalists and artists. Almost all of those sources comment Ai positively, regard Ai as a brave domestic critic, and praise his way of expressing himself and organizing people through art and social media. However, if we consider the justification model here, then it is easy to find that this persuasion technique is problematic in ethics and cannot be justifiable.

     Because justification is aimed at publicity, that is, “directed to reasonable persons, in order to formulate a workable test for looking at concrete moral choice.” (Bok, 1989, pp.92) Thus, justification has three levels, and the interview technique used in the film only reaches the second level, that is, the director considers opinions of people around Ai, or people who support him, while she does not consult persons of other side or all allegiances, which is the third level of justification. From Bok’s book, we know that public justification should be open and not closed to all but special interested groups of people, especially not exclude people from other side of opinions. As an audience, I could only see opinions from the same side of Ai, for example, his friends-they are all very famous artists in China, their fame and professional status may make people think that they are wise persons and thus tend to believe their opinions, but does this mean that they are sufficiently “public?” In my opinion, the answer is no. Just like Bok’s book has mentioned, in professional and powerful circles, those wise persons are most likely to support questionable scheme. Because they firmly believe in their “wisdom” and choice, as well as inherent morality of their group, the “authority” assumption would create bias and thus they cannot stand for sufficient public. Other interviewees include normal citizens, most of whom are the fans of Ai or those who have similar opinions as Ai’s. And also American journalists and artists, although they can stand for perspectives from foreign countries, yet it is also a part of foreign opinions, and the director does not include or indicate other side of opinions, such as those who holds negative attitude toward Ai. Besides, foreigners or outsiders, considering their limitation of deeply understanding the historical and cultural reasons behind a specific social context, their opinions would be influenced by the opinions of those whom they talk to. If foreigners do not have a complete and thorough investigation toward a social phenomenon, it is possible that their opinions would be biased. Thus, in my point of view, the interview technique in this film is week in persuading audiences and also not justifiable. It would also possibly lead to biases for a foreign society and may mislead audiences, especially those who first time get to know a foreign country, which are unethical.

     Another unethical persuasion technique is a series of private videos showing that one day, Ai Weiwei met the policeman who has ever hurt his head. And the policeman was wearing a pair of dark sunglass at that time and denied knowing Ai. Then, Ai came up with his cameramen and took off the police’s sunglass, and let his cameraman record the policeman’s face and then distributed this video through internet. I think the director would like to show audiences how brave Ai is to insist on his own standpoint and he is not afraid of any governmental pressure. But I am very surprised that the director even used this piece of video without putting on any hidden mark on the policeman’s face. Because, even if the policeman has really done something wrong with Ai Weiwei, his face should not be exposed to the public without his permission. This is a way of intruding a person’s privacy. Rawl’s Veil of Ignorance tells us when judging a person, we should step back from his social status or classes in order to guarantee fairness. So, from a standpoint of an ordinary person, showing his face or identity in public when he refuses to do so is absolutely unethical, any negative results brought by this public exposure would hurts the person and also his family.

     The last but not least is the name list of dead students in 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In order to memorize those students, Ai Weiwei made this name list, which records the names and ages of these students, and he even employed people to record pronunciation of each name and then put those materials on the internet. By showing the visual pictures of the name list and audio pronunciation of the names, the director would like to show audiences that Ai is an advocate of democracy and human rights. But the pictures of detailed information of dead students and audio pronunciations are another case of invasion of privacy, just consider whether every parents of those dead students are willing to expose their children’s names and information in public, and whether every parents are willing to hear their children’s names pronounced. Would it be a hurt to those families who are not willing to?

     In summary, although those persuasion techniques may add the richness of the film content, some of them are unethical and cannot be justifiable from moral reasoning.