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Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication Organizes a Forum on ‘Reporting News Affecting the Environment’ Concerning the Explosion Case at King Kaew Chemical Factory
30 ส.ค. 2564

July 30, 2021 – the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, Thammasat University organized an academic forum on the topic entitled "Reporting News Affecting the Environment" concerning an explosion at Mingdi Chemical Company Limited, Bang Phli District, Samut Prakan Province. Lecturer Thomthong Thongnok, Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, expressed that there were questions about the environmental issues, for example, the contamination of chemicals into water and air sources, and the consequences that would possibly occur. The lessons learned from this incident should allow us to review the media function in reporting news as well as a more focus on environmental news. Dr. Duangkaew Dhiensawadkij, Director of Bachelor of Arts Program in Journalism (Media Studies), Faculty of Journalism Thammasat University argued that the incident had no clear answer. As a media academic, we noticed the problem of work and news reporting that appeared with a lot of information. Working in the environment area was not a simple thing, it required a lot of knowledge and understanding in both legal and social sensitivity issues. So, the environmental journalists must be very skillful and must carry various knowledge. “The difficulty of environmental journalists is that they must obtain some knowledge about the environment and know quite a lot of news sources.

Environmental news is often undervalued because it is not qualified as valuable in the traditional media perspective that prioritizes new, strange, enormous and famous occurrences. The environmental news that will receive some attention is the ones that can provide impact to people. If there is an initiation of knowledge and understanding for the people in society to pay attention to the environmental issues, it will make people more interested in environmental news.” Dr. Duangkaew also added that environmental news in Thailand is often controversial. When there is a conflict in which the news reporting must be fair to both conflicting parties, it causes people's perceptions to go nowhere else besides the conflict situation. People will focus on conflict rather than the main content of the environment. So, people did do not look at where the value of the news locates or whether the news’ value answers the environmental questions. “The global media business model focuses rather on economic and marketing business news than environmental issues and impacts on environmental news issues. If you can answer how the environment news affects people, that news will then gain attention. In addition, the emergence of citizen journalists, in which general people in the community rise to do media work, makes main media businesses to rethink about their certain direction. They can apply data to environmental news reporting, but there is still a low chance if the media continues to operate in the same way and relies on credible sources who do not share the truth. Journalist’s responsibility is to build up common understanding between journalists and large corporations.” While Ms. Nicha Vejpanich, a news reporter for the Environment News Agency (Green News), discussed that when an incident occurred, we often asked what the structural problems in the story were. There were many questions from the King Kaew incident, such as whether the risks were assessed or not, and if there was a plan to deal with the situation. Moreover, there was another question about town planning: why and see in this sentence, it is present tense because it is a fact The environmental journalism will try to think of a communication method that creates the simplest information for everyone to understand the topic.

For example, how to make people easily have access to the news? Our explanation needs to make the people feel that the matter is approaching the person. “There are still a lot of missing jigsaws in the environmental news issues, which leave some opportunity for people who want to work in this field. You can work without anxiety that there will be no other interesting news issues. Besides, the environmental work has a lot of information related to different science. If you read the works of foreign journalists, you will find that there are journalists with specific expertise. There is some empty space that requires people to help communicating environmental issues. I think that the interest of the people who come to work depends on their aptitude and perspective of what kinds of issues interest them.” Environment is a matter that affect human and global health. The new generation is more interested in the environment because it is getting closer to their lives. Working for environmental news must expand the perspective of environmental news, and the environment journalists must obtain various expertise. Meanwhile, you must know how to protect yourself from being sued for legal harassment. Environment news requires the cooperation of journalists as well as people to unite and adapt to their lives. Ms. Thanyarat Thakoi, a news reporter from Channel 8, said that the incident at King Kaew started like a general fire. The first thing I knew was it was a factory fire. When searching for more information and preparing the equipment, I found that the situation was dangerous. While the situation