Efforts behind Guangdong media’s reports on Shenzhen landslide incident
A landslide incident occurred on December 20 of 2015 when a mountain of construction waste collapsed and hit an industrial park in Shenzhen, causing 73 deaths, 17 injuries, and 4 missing with 33 buildings damaged and 90 companies affected.
Recently an article published on the Journal Chinese Journalists tells how Guangdong media reported on Shenzhen landslide incident.
The article insisted that Guangdong was adept at dealing with public emergencies by releasing latest news, eliminating unreasonable rumors and relieving public panic in time. With the reports on newspapers, televisions, radios and online media, Guangdong has finally won public supports in dealing with Shenzhen landslide incident.
After the “extraordinarily serious” landslide accident hit Guangming New District, Shenzhen city at 11:40 a.m. on December 20, 2015, the news got spread explosively on the Internet, which put Shenzhen at the forefront of the attention of the public.
Staff members of Shenzhen Internet Information Office worked in turns to keep broadcasting the latest situation 24 hours a day. The rescue headquarters launched 10 press conferences from the afternoon of the incident to Friday night (Dec. 25th), of which 2 were launched on the day of incident, 7 were launched within the first 72 hours, the period dubbed the "golden time" for saving lives. A comprehensive briefing was launched on Monday (Dec. 28th) to release the amount of the deaths and the missing, process of rescuing and curing, cause of the incident, resettlement of victims, relief to families of the missing, etc.
The amount of missing persons was updated factually. The number fluctuated sometimes, the news office staff always dug the reasons and pasted them along with the number, making the change understandable for the public.
Media digging the latest incident report
After the landslide happened, media in and outside the province responded actively and quickly to the incident and the amount of reports was huge.
Many media sent reporters to the site of the incident very quickly and reported the latest rescue progress. They focused on revealing survivors’ stories from the landslide. For instance, on December 24, 2015, Xinhua News Agency’s story on “Survivor Tian Zeming meeting his father after being rescued” made an explosive spread on the internet, readers were touched, and netizens wrote tens of thousands of comments to wish him well.
On covering the incident, media members used Weibo, WeChat, and mobile application to maximize the spread. Southcn.com from Guangdong rebuilt the story reported from Xinhua and other media, making an HTML5 animated documentary called “Shenzhen and its citizens”. It was unveiled at different time periods during the rescue process. The animation told the on-site rescuing circumstance. At the same time, the animation also described the touched stories of the generosity of Shenzhen citizens. The series were widely spread on the internet.
Effective information flow
During the response to Shenzhen landslide incident, the rescue team and the investigation team not only worked closely to deal with the search-and-rescue work, resettlement work, and investigation and evidence gathering timely, but also worked with the news office to inform the public with the up-to-date state of the accident.
Over the first few days, the numbers of
survivors, the injured and the missing were updated every few hours (see the
chart sorted out and updated by Newsgd.com).
After an investigation team has concluded that the landslide in Shenzhen was a safety accident, not a natural hazard, the local officials held press conferences without delay and apologized to the victims with formal bows. Ma Xingrui, Party chief of Shenzhen promised to the public that they would actively cooperate with further investigations.
They also visited the family members of the persons involved. Local people were well informed in time and relieved. This shows the government’s fast reaction to the incident and respect to life, and they are responsible to the citizens.
Senior officials: make sure the truth be widely spread
Senior officials in the Publicity Department of Guangdong CPC Committee and that of Shenzhen CPC Committee also impressed the world.
They were obligated to make sure the truth be widely spread to the public via mass media in time. Obtaining information about the incident timely and reacting to it flexibly, they worked as news hubs during the rescue time. Eliminating rumors and relieving public panics by letting the public know the information about the rescue and investigation timely via newspapers, televisions, radios and the internet, they succeeded in accomplishing their missions and won the public support in settling the incident properly.
The officials paid much attention to gathering public opinions from the internet. Some questions gathered were answered in press releases, and for some hints from the internet, the staff from news office did investigation and cleared up the doubts.
With newspapers, televisions, radios and online channels, they have set an example for publicity officials to win the public supports when dealing with public emergencies.