In general, similar to most local press groups in China, Fujian’s press groups have started advancing the convergence between newspapers and new media (i.e., in the news production area) only during the past two years without radically altering the existing system of the industry, that is, not touching the core zone of the media convergence–structure adjustment and business operation convergence. Therefore, the Fujian press industry makes a proper case of analysis for this study due to its typical nature in terms of convergence progress and path selection.
* This article is part of a book project examining the impact of media commercialization on news content and public opinion in China, tentatively titled Propaganda for Sale. For fruitful research collaboration I would like to thank Iain Johnston, Shen Mingming and the members of the Research Center for Contemporary China. I am also grateful for financial support provided by the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. Many thanks as well to the participants of the Chinese politics workshop at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for helpful comments and to Wang Mingde for research assistance.
Previous studies on the influence of media convergence in China either took a market- or norm-oriented approach. From a news production perspective, the current study analyses the interaction between the top-down design and bottom-up practices of journalists to disclose the influence of the dominant path of media convergence within the press industry of Fujian Province. A survey and 20 in-depth interviews show that the current media convergence practices of Fujian’s press industry fail to receive the support of journalists because of institutional, organisational and individual complexities, rather than technological reasons. This study discusses the implications of this finding for media convergence in China.
To date, the pioneers of media convergence have been thoroughly studied by Chinese scholars. Other press groups as ‘followers’, particularly the local press groups that adopted the dominant path of media convergence, are less highlighted and rarely focused within journalism studies, although they are precisely what have crucially endowed the landscape of Chinese media convergence with regional diversity. The deficiency in relevant studies has entailed the urgent choice of Chinese scholars to focus on media convergence of the local press industry.
The case study of Fujian indicates that what lies beneath the persistent tension between newspaper offices and new media departments is substantively a conflict of economic interest that results from the competitive relationship amongst various media outlets within the local press group since the period of media conglomeration. Adjusting the administrative structure cannot reduce this tension as long as the economic logic is not thoroughly challenged.
Zuìjìn yóu Xiàwēiyí Dàxué Chūbǎnshè chūbǎn de “ABC Hàn-Yīng Yànyǔ Cídiǎn” bāohán le yuē 4000 duō tiáo Hànyǔ yànyǔ, gēnjù Hànyǔ Pīnyīn zhuǎnlù hé Hànzì (biāozhǔn jiǎntǐ), ànzhào yànyǔ shǒu cí de zìmǔ shùnxù páiliè, fùdài de Yīngwén shūmiàn zhíyì (rú bìyào yě huì cǎiyòng yìyì). Qítā nèiróng bāohán: jiǎnyào yòngfǎ zhùshì, láiyuán, bìngxíng biǎodá, cānzhào yǐnyòng yǐjí yìngyòng shílì. Yànyǔ shì yóu yī ge guānjiàncí (Zhōng-Yīngwén) suǒyǐn zēngbǔ de, tǐxiàn zài suǒyǒu shèjí de cítiáo hé huàtí li. Biānzhě duì zhèxiē yànyǔ zài chuántǒng yǔ dāngdài Zhōngguó li de dìngyì, jiégòu, yòngtú hé lìshǐ jìnxíng le xuéshù jièshào, lièchū le wénxiàn jí hé xiāngguān yànyǔ de xuéshù yánjiū.
The recruitment of interviewees was conducted for two rounds. Given the demonstrative effect of the media convergence of the Xiamen Daily Group within the province and even the entire industry, the authors contacted seven media practitioners from this organisation to undergo the first round of interview. Consequently, one director, one editor and five newspaper journalists were involved as interviewees in this round. After developing a preliminary knowledge of the opinions of the Xiamen Daily Group journalists towards media convergence, the authors conducted a second round of interview. Three directors, three editors and seven journalists were recruited as interviewees from several other press groups, including Fujian Daily Group, Fuzhou Daily News Press and Quanzhou Evening News Press, thereby promoting the diversity of the interviewees in the aspect of age, years at work and newspaper type. Except for one journalist from the Fujian Daily Group who was interviewed via telephone, all the 19 others underwent face-to-face interviews (Table 1).