Reporting on the Rumble in China

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Back in May, NPR sent a crew to the Sichuan province in southwest China to do a week long series on China's politics, economy, and culture. But on May 12th, as interviews were underway, the ground started to shake — it was the beginning of one of the biggest earthquakes on record in modern history, a 7.9 that left 69,000 people dead. For days, the world learned about the disaster from our ATC reporters, who turned out to be in the right place, at a devastating time. Hosts Melissa Block and Robert Siegel, and producer Andrea Hsu join us from the Newseum today to share their stories. And you can read more on their blog, the Chengdu Diary.

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During the reports I was a junior at Geneva high school (Chicago suburb).

I want to say thank you for your emotional, moving, and detailed reports.
Melissa Block and Robert Siegel are amazing journalists.

The NPR crew has enspired me to go into radio broadcasting.
My dream is to one day become a Robert Siegel or a Melissa Block.

Thank you again,
Eric Yahnke

Sent by Eric Yahnke | 3:16 PM | 6-11-2008

what were your living condition like? did you have a hotel room to return to or were you sleeping tents, etc.?

Sent by krista | 3:24 PM | 6-11-2008

Could your guests talk about some of the stories they had planned to tell but which were superceded by the quake?

Thanks,
-sean

Sent by Sean Girard | 3:44 PM | 6-11-2008

Thank you for your reporting. It takes this kind of reporting to help people realize that there are human beings at the other side of the world. We have gotten too used to only look at out own pain and disregard that of other families. When a reporter only and on passing states that hundreds of people died and just goes on to report on some irrelevant issues, people do not grasp the pain that people go through in loosing their dear ones.

Thank you for making the news more human.

Sent by Antonio | 3:48 PM | 6-11-2008

During Melissa Block's reporting on the couple's discovery of the deaths of her parents and their infant son, I held my one-week old daughter and cried. Melissa, your report was not over-the-top, as you worried, but captured, with all proper emotion, the horrors of such a disaster. Thank you for that tremendous reporting.

Sent by Mark | 3:48 PM | 6-11-2008

I am travelling to China in September to watch my best friend compete in the Paralympics in Bejing (wheelchair Rugby) and plan on travelling in the region afterwards.
I wanted to ask about volunteer effort/aid programs and possibilities. And more importantly how do you feel locals would feel about westerner presence? How do you think they would be accepted or viewed?
I wonder if the conditions are still very desperate that they would be hostile?
Also I guess I would be worried about the safety of the surrounding conditions with damned rivers, etc.

Dylan Rhea-Fournier (pronounced Ray-Fourn-yay)

Juneau, Alaska

Sent by Dylan Rhea-Fournier | 3:57 PM | 6-11-2008

I think I heard Robert say the Chinese government did nothing w/r/t the 1976 earth quake.

I wonder if that is the common perception of American people. If it is, well, brain wash goes both ways.

In 1976, more than 100 thousand soldiers were mobilized in the relief efforts -- almost the same as this one.

Sent by scott | 3:04 PM | 6-13-2008