New York Times Article Captures Culture in Bus Crash

The New York Times’ David Chen added to our knowledge of Asian American culture in his March 15th story about the relationship between casinos and buses like the one involved in a fatal crash last weekend.

As one who closely monitors how the media reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of our nation,  I was gratified today to read David Chen’s story on the Asian American culture that is tied to last Saturday’s fatal bus crash that claimed at least 15 lives.

New York Times photo by Andrew Sullivan appeared on the Web, but not in today's print edition.

The article didn’t carry with it any art, but the pictures that Chen paints in the story are strong enough without visuals.

This photo accompanied the web version of Chen’s story.

He explains the link between the casinos and the Asian Americans from the New York area who frequent them.

This story was not about the horrific crash scene.   We’ve heard about and were deeply saddened by the events.  But, the rest of America may not be as informed about why people would be riding on a tour bus overnight, many on a regular basis.

Chen’s story gives us a window into this part of the world here in our country.

Here’s an interesting excerpt from the story that grabbed my attention.

Culture is one reason gambling is so popular among Asian-Americans, especially Chinese-Americans. Asian-Americans, carrying on a tradition from their homelands, embrace games of chance and skill like mah-jongg, both to make a bit of money and to be sociable; Las Vegas has long counted on a strong Asian clientele.

Chen also reflects generational diversity in this story as he explains the elderly Asian American population who is not typically on social media outlets such as Facebook.   (We tend to think everyone is– NOT TRUE!)

The casinos use targeted advertising to the Cantonese speakers and Mandarin speakers.

It is rare for most us to see this type of diversity within the Asian American community explained as Chen does.

From his LinkedIn profile, we can see that Chen spent two years in Far East as an Associated Press writer in Hong Kong.

I learned a lot today.    Definitely a story to showcase on the Society of Professional Journalists’ diversity committee, which I chair.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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