為香港娛記平反 Be fair to HK's entertainment press



You shoot, I shoot: entertainment photographers aiming their lenses at celebrities strutting down the red carpet. Photo: Internet

經常聽行家朋友批評香港的娛樂記者,說他們的工作如何無聊,見識少,只顧八卦,做狗仔等明星。但批評他們的人通常都沒有真正瞭解過他們的工作,也沒有想過他們對香港的貢獻。

香港流行文化及娛樂事業的發達,跟香港的娛記有莫大的關連。如今大家大聲疾呼要保育的粵劇,曾幾何時也是當時得令的娛樂,如果當年沒有他們的報導,粵劇根本不成氣候,現在想保育也沒有東西可給保育。他們的報導就是把資料存檔,沒有他們的報導,也沒有資料可供研究。同樣地,香港電影曾有過輝煌一頁,本地粵語流行音樂風行全球華語地區,也是拜娛記的廣泛報導所賜。娛記的報導,造就當年的流行,也成就了我們今日的文化資產。

當然沒有多少人會這麼想。我聽過見過很多讀新聞系出身的港聞記者,多多少少也看不起娛記,但當做某種新聞時,十個港聞記者也抵不上一個娛記。

報導何家爭產時,多少記者在何家各大宅外等待。但可笑的是,有很多港聞記者不知就裡,連誰是那一房的人也認不出,往往要靠娛記來認人。娛樂新聞很多都是八卦煲水,但做娛樂新聞的調查報導,他們也是蠻認真的。如果不是娛記,我們到今天也不知曉原來那些天皇天后原來是滿口謊言,騙着粉絲說單身但實情是已結了婚。

娛記對各界名人明星的過去,他們的人脈網絡瞭如指掌,這些都是做記者應做好的功課,但很多港聞記者,尤其是新入行的,就連這最基本的都做不好,人都認不出來,還譏笑娛記的無聊,PLEASE!

如果說娛記跟明星做訪問無聊,也不見得政治記者跟政客於立法會走廊吹水特別有聊。我兩邊也有幸見識過,如果有細心比較過某些政治新聞跟娛樂新聞的報導,也不難發現報導手法也大同小異:某某說了些甚麼,然後再找某某回應,拼拼貼貼,就成了一篇報導,口水成份甚重,分別的是,一篇會在港聞版刊登,另一篇在娛樂版出現。

記者問問題最重要是問到讀者想知的資料,不怕問一些令被訪者尷尬的問題。娛記問問題的技巧,絕不遜色於港聞記者。如早前G.E.M.的陳年舊BLOG被掏出,發現她曾未成年時跟男友到那兒過夜,娛記們直接的問G.E.M.她是否還是處女,問題當然令G.E.M.尷尬不堪,但各位對該則娛樂新聞有興趣的讀者請撫心自問,那不就是你也想問的問題嗎?對政客的桃色新聞,為甚麼要遮遮掩掩?到最後還不是直接的問唐唐他是否有婚外情?見到災難生還者,面對喪失家人淘哭的人,也不是要更直接的問他們的感受?

當然我也見過操行不好的娛記,但我歸咎於是那人的個人的問題。對侵犯私隱的報導手法,我當然不認同。我也見過有些娛記比較自卑,如果自己也看不起自己的工作,也很難叫人家看得起自己。我不知道現在的新聞系有否教授文化娛樂新聞的報導,如果沒有,可能應考慮設置該種課程,因為正規化的訓練對推動香港的文化創意產業是有莫大的幫助。

如果娛樂版真的是那麼無聊,那請不要看罷。電影,電視,甚至連書也不要看,音樂也不要聽,因為那些都是娛樂,縱然它們可能他朝會成為我們的文化遺產。畢竟老來我們還是跟下一代訴說着年輕時看過的電影,讀過的書,聽過的音樂,不是那位政客的是是非非。

至少我是這麼想。


It's not uncommon to hear Hong Kong's news reporters criticising their colleagues covering the entertainment beat: they are rude and uncultured; they make a living only from gossiping trivial stuff of celebrities, scrambling information from their rubbish bins and tailing them around the clock. Some of the criticisms might be valid, but there is something about them that most have failed to see.

The success of Hong Kong's entertainment industry owes largely to the city's hard working entertainment press. Cantonese opera, for example, is now a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. But once upon a time it was entertainment for the masses. Without the appropriate media coverage, Cantonese opera wouldn't have earned its solid fan base to support its development back in the days, let alone becoming a cultural heritage today. Press clippings from the past kept track with the development of this art form, laying the foundation for academics and scholars to study and research today. Similarly, the entertainment press also propelled the rise of Hong Kong films and Canto-pop. What was popular in the past has become the collective memories and cultural assets treasured by many Hongkongers today.

But not that many people think along those lines. Many journalism graduates covering hard news look down on the entertainment press. But little do they know, they can be pretty crap in comparison to entertainment beat reporters when dealing with certain news topics.

During the times when family members of Stanley Ho went public for their disputes over the estate of the aging casino mogul, tonnes of reporters stationed at various Ho's mansions around the clock. But the ironic thing was that many news reporters had no idea who was who in Ho's extensive family. They had to rely on the entertainment press to tell them which daughters and sons were from which of Ho's four wives.

The entertainment reporters know the lives and networks of the high society and celebrities from the bottom of their hearts. Such is in fact very basic for reporters covering local news, but many news reporters can't even get their homework done properly. Many ambitious fresh graduates only care to produce "big (non-)stories" while laughing at the seemingly frivolous stuff that entertainment press covers, overlooking the most basic foundation on which they should've focused in the early years of their journalism career. 

Is it true that only hard news reporters can do good investigative reporting? Apparently not. If it wasn't the entertainment press, many fans of idols might still be living in their fantasy of marrying their idols promising them that they would stay single forever, when in fact they have been secretly married.   

If interviewing with celebrities is a trivial job, I don't think certain political news coverage being particularly marvelous. If one has compared certain news and entertainment coverages in the media, it is not difficult to tell that there isn't much different between the two: it's all established under the he-says-she-says basis. Someone has made some statement, and then you get a reaction from other parties for reaction. By sticking all the quotes together, you get a story. The only difference is that one story goes into the main book and the other goes into the entertainment section. 

Many have said that they couldn't stand the stupid questions that entertainment press fired at celebrities. But are those questions really that stupid? A while ago Hong Kong's up and coming singer G.E.M.'s old blog was exposed, and in the blog the singer who claimed to be a faithful Christian said that she had spent the night with her then boyfriend. Then when the entertainment press saw G.E.M., they asked her directly if she was still a virgin. It was damn embarrassing, but if you were a fan of the singer and if you had been following that story, you certainly had the same question in mind. Same principle is applied when a politician is embroidered in a sex scandal. A news reporter would still have to ask if the politician had ever slept with so and so. When reporters see those suffering from the loss of families in some tragic accidents, they would still have to ask in their faces the details of the accidents and how they felt, despite how hurtful it is to the victims. 

Certainly, I have seen entertainment reporters with terrible conduct, but I believe that is down to a personal issue rather than anything else. Of course I do not agree with any kind of reporting that invades a celebrity's privacy unnecessarily. But in order to improve the quality of the entertainment press, shouldn't there be proper training on culture and entertainment journalism at schools? 

If the entertainment pages are really that frivolous, I suggest the whole world to boycott not only those pages, but also to stop going to the cinema or watching TV; don't even read any books or listen to any music, because they are all entertainment to a certain extent, despite the fact that one day, some of the quality films, TV shows, books and music will become our cultural heritage in a distant future. At the end of the day, we would want to share with our children or grandchildren what films we saw or what music we listened to when we were young, not some political scandals that no one will remember. 

ENDS

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