How social media are transforming Chinese journalism

by James Breiner
Oct 30, 2018 in Miscellaneous

A recent conference gathered 200 journalism professionals who had much to say about the changing landscape of journalism in China.

The Tsinghua University School of Journalism and Communication recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a conference on international journalism curriculum for an audience of 200 journalism professionals, deans and professors from China and around the world. Some highlights:

  • Qu Yingpu, deputy editor-in-chief of the state-controlled China Daily, noted that social media are spreading news so rapidly that is no longer possible to control the flow of information. The response of China Daily has been to provide more information to more audiences, with editions targeted for Africa, Asia and Europe, among others.

  • Shi Anbin, associate dean of Tsinghua's school, said digital journalists should learn from Andy Carvin's one-man newsroom at National Public Radio in the United States. Carvin covered the Middle East during the Arab Spring upheavals in 2011 by relying on numerous local activists, bloggers and reporters through social networks such as Twitter.

  • Yoichi Nishimura, former managing editor of Asahi Shimbun newspaper in Japan, told how the 2011 earthquake changed the newspaper's relationship with its readers. It shared extensive information on missing persons with Google that resulted in a large joint database to help track down people. In addition, the mass media used Twitter and Facebook extensively to spread disaster-related information and to promote useful linkage of information.

  • Joyce Barnathan, president of the U.S.-based International Center for Journalists, said, "There has never been a more crucial time to educate business journalists. What happens here in the increasingly powerful Chinese economy has a ripple effect around the world." ICFJ is a partner with Tsinghua on the Global Business Journalism program.

  • Lu Xiaohua, editor-in-chief of China Xinhua News Network, said China is trying to develop an international media presence on the scale and stature of BBC, CNN, Russia Today and Al-Jazeera. It launched a 24-hour English language television service in 2010.

  • Li Liangrong, professor of journalism at Fudan University, said the media need to provide more in-depth coverage, especially now that there are so many brief news items on the web. The web offers the possibility of presenting "converged news," or reports "in multiple dimensions." The standard should still be news that is "open, fair, equitable, extensive and intensive."
  • Andrew Leckey, president of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University, said it is a great time for young people to be entering the profession. While daily newspapers are shrinking, the demand for business journalists is growing. The most interesting global stories now are business stories.

This post originally appeared on the blog News Entrepreneurs and was posted on IJNet with permission.

James Breiner is co-director of the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University. He is a former Knight International Journalism Fellow who launched and directed the Center for Digital Journalism at the University of Guadalajara. He is bilingual in Spanish and English and is a consultant in online journalism and leadership.