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Use of Queens Chinatown photo by NY Post for story on COVID-19 upsets some

By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

The New York Post is being criticized by hundreds of people on Twitter for a photo it ran with a story about New York’s first case of COVID-19.

The headline “First case of coronavirus confirmed in New York City” focused on a woman who recently returned from Iran. The original photo that ran with the story showed an Asian man in Flushings, Queen with a mask over his face.

“Editors chose a picture of Asians in Flushing Qns to report a confirmed case in Manhattan involving a person who returned from Iran. Just the facts ma’am. Stop the xenophobia.” Karlin Chan, an activist in New York tweeted.

The tweet has been liked some 250 times.

The photo has since been taken down and replaced by a video from a news conference.

A recent advisory by the Asian American Journalists Association cautioned media outlets ” to ensure accurate and fair portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans and to avoid fueling xenophobia and racism that have already emerged since the outbreak.”

One of the suggestions made by AAJA included use of images of people wearing face masks without providing the proper context.

“Only include images of a local Chinatown if it is directly related to a news story, not as a way to illustrate the virus,” the advisory reads. “The images are appropriate, for example, if the story is about Chinatown businesses emptying out over fears of the virus, or if there are potential cases stemming from a particular Chinatown. AAJA warns against blanket use of Chinatown images that reinforce stereotypes and create a sense of “otherness.”  

Chan says media outlets must be held accountable.

“The article was about a woman in her 30’s who tested positive for COVID-19 but the editor decided to use a picture of Asians in Flushing Queens.  It would seem many media outlets are pushing an anti-Asian agenda and exacerbating xenophobia against Asians,” Chan told AsAmNews. “Asians across NYC and the USA have seen increased violence against us, implicit bias has become overt and some places have illegally not served Asians.”  

AsAmNews reached out to the New York Post for comment, but the publication did not get back to us by deadline. We will update this story should we hear from them.

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  1. RE: Use of Queens Chinatown photo by NY Post for story on COVID-19 upsets some: Wow. Really irresponsible journalism. Thank you Asians for speaking out against it and how it encourages anti-Chinese behavior. We don’t need to go back to the late 1800s!


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