Rural court visits provide more in-depth knowledge
How time flies! This is my 10th year as a journalist. In recent years, I have often been asked, "How can you spend a decade reporting and not feel bored?" My answer has always been, "I go to the scenes of news or go to find stories".
Last year, I made several trips to rural areas across the country to see how grassroots courts have improved the quality of legal services. The experience not only helped me write more-vivid reports, but also enriched my life.
In April, I visited courts in Lhasa and Shigatse, Tibet autonomous region. I witnessed judges hearing cases in Mandarin and Tibetan, in addition to trying to understand their difficulties in bilingual trials and translating legal books.
Two months later, I traveled to Jinggangshan, a mountainous area in Jiangxi province, and learned about the workings of a "mobile court" at tourist attractions by following the judges who shuttle between scenic spots in a bus to help visitors solve disputes.
In October, I watched Judge Gao Bo place the national emblem in a temporary circuit court in a border township in Ruili, Yunnan province, because she felt that justice needed a sense of ceremony.
Those places took many hours or even a whole day to reach, but I think the time spent was worthwhile and those stories deserved to be further dug out.
Some people may say such stories could be completed in the newsroom instead of taking up so much time, while sufficient online materials could supplement and improve the reports.
I don't agree. If I hadn't visited the Tibet High People's Court, I would never have known that there is a language office with a group of legal specialists who spend hours every day compiling bilingual Mandarin-Tibetan legal texts to serve Tibetan judges hearing cases.
If I hadn't picked up the national emblem, weighting about 5 kilograms, in the court in Ruili, I would not have believed that local judges transported it every time they conducted trials in villages.
Going to the scene is not a waste of time. It means capturing the details, and those details can brighten reports.
In the internet era, many basic facts can be unearthed in just a few seconds with the click of a mouse. But details, I think, cannot.
They still need a journalist to visit the scene to see and feel, and that's why stories about the same topic are sometimes quite different. That's been my way of remaining passionate about reporting in recent years.