Country/area: China

Organisation: Communication University of China

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 01/08/2021

Credit: Zhao Yuke, Li Ruoxi, Tian Yuchen, Ding Shengyu, Wang Yumeng, Jiang Lifei, Shi Yuxuan


Zhao Yuke, Data Editor, Senior student at Communication University of China.
Li Ruoxi, Copy Editor,Senior student at Communication University of China.
Tian Yuchen, Visual Designer, Senior student at Communication University of China.
Ding Shengyu, Multimedia Designer, Senior student at Communication University of China
Wang Yumeng, Video Director, Senior student at Communication University of China.
Jiang Lifei, Web Developer, Junior student at Communication University of China
Shi Yuxuan, Art Designer, Junior student at Communication University of China.

Project description:

With the introduction of the three-child policy and the development of summer care services in China, housework and parenting have once again become the top spotin China.
The work starts with the original interpretation of the tension of people’s call and legal judgments, and then understands the prudence of judicial practice and eventually, calls for the joint efforts of social actors to care for the family.

Impact reached:

The work had a certain influence in the school and society and won the third prize in the China Data Journalism Competition.The work has called for more people to recognize the value of domestic work, in which the concept of compensation for domestic work was further explained and discussed, triggering subsequent attention and reports on the concept in many media, providing reference value for the improvement and soundness of the law.

Techniques/technologies used:

First, we used PYTHON to count a total of 6303 comments on Sina Weibo from February 23 to May 10, breaking through the anti-crawler system, overcoming the unstructured language problem in Chinese, and processing and reviewing many emotions and attitudes that are extremely difficult to identify.We found that the public’s attitude is divided into two main parts, those who think that domestic work should be compensated and those who think that the amount of compensation for domestic work is too small and should be different from that of the domestic industry.

Second, we counted a total of 317 documents related to “domestic work” in the case file website and analyzed the text, and found that the jurisprudence related to “domestic work” before the entry into force of the Civil Code was conservative in terms of compensation for domestic work. This is reflected in two aspects: first, a total of 15 judgments on the amount of compensation for household chores were proposed, but only one case of compensation for household chores was adopted, and the amount was 40,000 yuan; second, regarding the criteria for the amount of compensation, 15 instruments mentioned “taking into account the marital status and economic situation of both parties”, which indicates that the judicial decision was based on the possibility of implementation.

Third, we designed a news game in which readers can choose their own characters and experience the daily routines of the main characters, and upon completion of the tasks, the screen will display a neat and tidy home environment and the time spent on each chore. When you have less than 2 hours of free time in a 24-hour day, the cost of housework is obvious.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The difficulty of the work is mainly in the estimation of the data of domestic compensation and the integrated media filming.

In terms of data estimation, the specific compensation for domestic work is not specifically defined in judicial and policy circles, so we used statistical modeling methods to make a more accurate scientific estimation, which is the first attempt in the coverage of related topics. After data mining and correlation analysis of the public and judicial attitudes, we came to the core conclusion of the work: in terms of the amount of compensation for domestic labor, the public takes the domestic service industry as the criterion, while judicial practice takes the criterion that “The law cannot be enforced when everyone is an offender”  to ensure the validity and enforceability, and it is because of the difference between these two criteria that It is the difference between these two standards that creates the tension. 

In terms of documentary photography, the attempt to capture intimate relationships within families was hampered by the public’s concern for personal privacy and the Chinese culture’s tradition of not revealing family shame. On the one hand, it took nearly a month of communication before the central character, Shen Yanping, accepted the documentary. On the other hand, the other three core characters were photographed with documentary photos to show their family status more visually, especially the different states when doing household chores, and to ensure an objective and calm sense of journalism by the usual means of “photo report”.

What can others learn from this project?

Our originality and inspiration for journalists are the following 3 points.

First, the dichotomous perspective of private family and public society is broken. Existing reports rarely dig deeper into the value of domestic work, rarely explain the contradiction between public opinion and justice, and do not divest the private perspective of domestic work. By providing a peninsular way to explore constructive data journalism, this work enables the news to play the value of reconciling public opinion and legal tensions, and makes data journalism more than a mere demonstration of phenomena, giving it an activist relevance.

Second, it uses nonfiction writing methods for data journalism, balancing the storytelling of characters with the data-driven objectivity of traversal, balancing the sense of immersive experience with the sense of objective and dispassionate journalism.

Finally, we experimented with a multimedia fusion of reporting techniques. We used a combination of documentary video and original hand-drawn cartoons to highlight the audio-visual impact in contrast to the text part. On the one hand, we shot a total of 9,364 seconds of video footage, which was finally edited into a 65-second pilot film, and created a melody that was inserted at the end of the pilot film and the webpage according to the narrative style and rhythm of the overall work, so that the “household work” could be seen and heard. On the other hand, the hand-drawn cartoons are used as intermediaries to link the storytelling of the interview characters and the universality of the issue. Each cartoon depicts a specific life situation while blurring the characters of the cartoons, thus presenting “domestic work” as a universal issue related to millions of Chinese families.

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