When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

14 May 2008

NPR's China Coverage

The news coverage of the China earthquake has been heartbreaking. The scenes on television are just unreal, almost unbelievable; disaster on this scale is hard to comprehend.

But some things are still best conveyed by radio. It can be a tremendous medium for storytelling.

National Public Radio ran a story on the quake's aftermath this afternoon that, well, completely tore me up. It took me quite a while to recover from it.

Melissa Block, on the ground in China, accompanied survivors as they frantically clawed through the rubble of their collapsed apartment building, looking for their loved ones.

The story is about 12 minutes long, and is so evocative of the horror on the ground that it is, candidly, really hard to take... but it's also one of the best pieces of radio journalism I think I've ever heard.

The ordinarily stalwart Ms. Block was not keeping it together all that well at points, and I have to say I was right there with her... the hell with journalistic (or personal) detachment in a situation like this.

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