Does constraints in journalism mean we have to editorialise?


Recently, a gay-oriented radio programme out of Los Angeles, California, called This Way Out, picked up on my video news package ‘Being Gay and Muslim in Malaysia‘, which I did for the news agency VJ Movement. Since it was a radio show, they only took the audio from my story. Of course I was delighted that I was now a celebrity in LA!

However, When I listened to the show (click here to listen to the radio show), I noticed that they had edited out the interview with JAKIM Director-General, Datuk Wan Mohamed. His voice may have been more conservative than the rest of my interviewees, but it was equally as important since I wanted to show both sides of the story and his interview definitely contextualised things better (Click here or on the image below to view my video in it’s entirety).

So I wrote an e-mail to the producers. I received a prompt reply from her, “… I actually did try recording the subtitles to mix into the piece. Unfortunately, especially since I was working alone with no male voice to use, I just couldn’t get it to sound right … it was just more confusing. I was also facing the problem that I needed to shrink the piece a bit to make it fit into our program. The time constraints made the parts with my sadly ineffective attempt to add the translation the most likely (although ultimately not the only) things to be cut — despite the fact that I realized that the government point of view provided important context. You’ve probably faced similar situations, when you have to reluctantly lose material that’s important to a story. I appreciate your understanding…”

It could have been due to constraints or it could have just been plain editorialising.

Click to view my original video in it's entirety.

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