Fake Reporter or Tourist with a microphone?
It depends on who’s asking?
If it’s the Chinese government, I’m a tourist with a microphone.
China is cracking down on “fake” reporters and is famously wary of foreign journalists. Seeing how I didn’t have a press pass or any type of credentials with me whatsoever, and opted not to apply for a journalist’s visa because I probably wouldn’t be able to get one, this made me somewhat nervous during my recent visit.
I don’t work for any media outlet. I work for me. If I don’t find anything interesting, and I don’t write about it in a way that someone deems publishable, I’m not a reporter. If I do, I refer to myself as a writer, anyhow. The difference between writer and reporter is an annoying conversation of semantics. I’ve written about it before, but I annoy myself in doing so.
I’m sure the government wouldn’t have been thrilled with me trying to visit a footwear factory or the Three Gorges Dam Project. And since there weren’t a whole lot of tourists doing what I was doing, I’m sure it would have been hard to explain myself as a tourist. I was lucky and didn’t have to.
One month in the country and I didn’t have a single issue with this. It just goes to show that if a blond-haired blue-eyed dude/reporter/journalist/writer/whateverer from Ohio can go unnoticed in China’s 1.3 billion people, surely, anyone can.
I look forward to the coverage that comes out of next year’s Olympics whether it is from real reporters, fake reporters, or even dudes from Ohio.
I say we start a grass-roots movement to get the Olympics covered exclusively by dudes from Ohio.