East Asia in Action| An Alternative Chronicle of Natural Disaster: Social Justice Journalism in Taiwan

Chiaoning Su


In 2009, Taiwan experienced a catastrophic natural disaster, Typhoon Morakot, which killed 700 people and caused $4.7 billion in economic losses. While mainstream media spent a month covering this event and focused only on the ravaged landscape, political tensions, and public sentiment, an alternative news platform, 88news, dedicated four years to investigating the disaster relief efforts of both the government and the NGOs, and their impact on the lives of indigenous victims. Focusing on the content of 88news and its production process, this article examines an alternative disaster story told by a group of independent journalists to make political interventions in times of crisis. It argues that disasters present not only a disruption of the normal social life, but also an intervention of mainstream news production and representation that opens an alternative space for marginal voices, both journalistically and ethnically, to question the dominant world view.


alternative journalism, indigenous culture, social justice, natural disaster, environmental refugees

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