Such a characteristic of we-media has further squeezed the price bidding space of the new media of Fujian press industry in the area of content in local journalists’ eyes. What is worse, the procedure of three-phase censorship that deviates from the logic of new media is not strictly followed during the course of converging news production. Delays in the course of censorship have not only impaired the market competitiveness of the new media in terms of content, but also considerably reduced the willingness of journalists to collaborate with the new media centre.

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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.
Fujian’s case indicates that new media outlets tend to be ‘domesticated’ in terms of converging news production. Firstly, a multilevel censorship system has been established, thereby ensuring that the new media content is under supervision. Secondly, new media outlets are subject to a bureaucratic style of management with low decision-making efficiency.
64 Moderately aware citizens tend to be most easily persuaded by news media messages, because poorly aware citizens do not receive media messages and the highly aware are more resistant to change their pre-held attitudes. McGuire, W. (ed.), Personality and Susceptibility to Social Influence (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968), pp. 1130–87; Converse, P.E., “The nature of belief in mass publics,” in Apter, D. (ed.), Ideology and Discontent (New York: Free Press, 1964), pp. 206–61; Zaller, J., The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
The sense of crisis brought about by intense competition would permeate throughout the ranks of journalists from top to bottom. For the latter, competition with peers are normal in the condition of having multiple newspapers in the same city. However, previous rivalries were fair contests between ‘professional journalists’, whereas present struggles involve unfair competition with ‘vulgar non-professionals’.
Understanding why most interviewed journalists also asserted that the assumptions that ‘multi-skilled journalists’ who can write, photograph and edit is unrealistic (if not entirely unreasonable), and claimed that newspaper journalists should be differentiated from specialised new media journalists who will transform into expert-type journalists in the future by delivering objective, rational and in-depth reportage on a certain subdivided domain. In this conception, new media practitioners remain quite distinct from their peers from the traditional media. However, such a difference has undergone slight changes, that is, traditional media practitioners have begun to admit and accept the possibility that their new media counterparts may be professionalised in the domain of news production. Journalists are consulting about their roles in reference to new media, although they are more inclined towards constriction rather than extension when adjusting their professional boundaries.
The survey (see Table 2) indicates that from the viewpoint of local journalists in Fujian, new media has generally expanded the sources of news and facilitated contact with news-related groups. However, new media has also raised considerably high requirements for journalists’ expertise and spawned fierce peer competitions. Moreover, the respondents relatively agreed with the influences of new media in terms of enhancing journalists’ knowledge about the audience, although they disagreed with the belief that new media has marginalised news gathering and editing. The respondents took relatively positive attitudes towards the overall influences of new media on news production.
In 2006, the General Administration of Press and Publication of China began enforcing the first batch of the ‘China Digital Newspaper Laboratory Programs’, in which 18 national and local press groups were involved in officially unfolding the prelude of the ‘full-media convergence’, namely an intensive integration of new media into the system of traditional press. Since 2012, Chinese press industry has stepped into a ‘cold winter’. Throughout 2014 alone, the total revenue of newspaper circulation experienced a substantial decrease of 25%, with advertising revenue simultaneously decreasing by 15% (Cui and He, 2015). Several scholars suggested that vulnerable profit-making pattern, global economic recession and the decelerating growth rate of the domestic economy were the key factors for the predicament that Chinese press industry is experiencing (Zhao, 2015). However, the industry tends to ascribe the dramatic revenue decline to the prosperity of new media (cf. Cao, 2010; Zhou, 2015).
Ding, FZ, Wei, L (2014) Occupational dilemma of China’s journalists in an era of social media: A study of journalists’ occupational discourses on Weibo in Journalists’ Day from 2010 to 2014 (Shehuihua meiti shidai zhongguo xinwenren de zhiye kunjing: Jiyu 2010–2014 nian ‘jizhejie’ xinwenren weibo zhiye huayu bianqian de kaocha). Shanghai Journalism Review (Xinwen jizhe) 12: 3–9.
67 The side with higher audience costs is less likely to back down in a foreign crisis and therefore able to signal its intentions to other states more credibly than states with lower audience costs. Fearon, J.D., “Domestic political audiences and the escalation of international disputes,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 88, No. 3 (1994), pp. 577–92. Weiss, “Powerful patriots: nationalism, diplomacy and the strategic logic of anti-foreign protest.”

The survey (see Table 2) indicates that from the viewpoint of local journalists in Fujian, new media has generally expanded the sources of news and facilitated contact with news-related groups. However, new media has also raised considerably high requirements for journalists’ expertise and spawned fierce peer competitions. Moreover, the respondents relatively agreed with the influences of new media in terms of enhancing journalists’ knowledge about the audience, although they disagreed with the belief that new media has marginalised news gathering and editing. The respondents took relatively positive attitudes towards the overall influences of new media on news production.
The survey (see Table 2) indicates that from the viewpoint of local journalists in Fujian, new media has generally expanded the sources of news and facilitated contact with news-related groups. However, new media has also raised considerably high requirements for journalists’ expertise and spawned fierce peer competitions. Moreover, the respondents relatively agreed with the influences of new media in terms of enhancing journalists’ knowledge about the audience, although they disagreed with the belief that new media has marginalised news gathering and editing. The respondents took relatively positive attitudes towards the overall influences of new media on news production.
5 See, for example, Li, C.-c., Voices of China: The Interplay of Politics and Journalism (New York: Guilford Press, 1990); Lynch, D.C., After the Propaganda State: Media, Politics, and “Thought Work” in Reformed China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999); Esarey, A., “Cornering the market: state strategies for controlling China's commercial media,” Asian Perspective, Vol. 29, No. 4 (2005), pp. 37–83; Zhao, Y., Communication in China: Political Economy, Power, and Conflict (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008); Polumbaum, J. and Lei, X., China Ink: The Changing Face of Chinese Journalism (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).
The official statement of the objective of Chinese media convergence lies in coping with the impacts generated by the information technology revolution. Among those impacts, the decline of tax revenue from media industries is one catalyst for Chinese press industry playing the role of precursor of media convergence. In early 2008, the press industry experienced a phase of decline. Until 2015, China’s television industry firstly took on a gliding tendency in the totality of media placement of advertising, with the advertising revenue of the radio industry deemed stable (Cui, 2016: 6–8). The decline of circulation and advertising revenues is often attributed to the effects of new media such as the change in habits of media exposure. Compared with the radio and television industries, the press industry faces more severe challenges from new media. Thus, the press industry has substantially intense impetus to converge with new media.
Over the course of media reform in the past four decades, economic and technological logic has definitely been significantly adherent to political logic, thereby exerting an influence under the latter’s framework. For example, propaganda has been given a high priority as a function that the Chinese media must perform throughout the process of media reform. Nevertheless, the tension between profiting and propaganda, market and state provides space for the strategic development of the media industries within China.
According to Mai (2012: 155–168), these two paths have rendered the cooperative interactions between the traditional and new media outlets far less frequent, if not totally suspended, and are likely to further alienate the newspapers from the original or latest new media departments. In other words, both paths create new administrative barriers whilst breaching or circumventing the original administrative barriers.
One of the goals of media convergence in the reconstruction process is to modify the journalist–editor relationship by veering from ‘journalist-centred’ to ‘editor-centred’, such that journalists shall mainly undertake the role of information gatherer, whereas editors perform the role of information synthesiser. Regarding real news production, most new media centre editors are recruited from the members of society who are familiar with new media but inexperienced in news gathering and editing; thus, they are mere ‘stevedores’ rather than ‘processors’ of texts. Given that editors lacked the required qualifications, journalists were forced to undertake additional tasks (e.g., verifying information and converting statements from frontline journalists into text) that should have been performed by editors.
Debates on the social influence of information technology have constantly been conducted around the ‘technology and democracy’ theme. The introduction of information technology, particularly the Internet, was once lauded with immense optimism and was thought to provide journalists with substantial latitude of free speech. Unfortunately, the media convergence of the Fujian press industry clearly demonstrates that the tensions between politics and technology fail to generate significant journalistic freedom in the Chinese local press industry. In fact, the logic of technology has been incorporated into the political logic such that new media outlets have assimilated the structure and routines of traditional media. This tendency is not unique to the dominant path of media convergence but prevails in every local press industry that is in pursuit of converging news production. Accordingly, the effects of such development on the ecology of China’s journalism must be further explored.
To encourage journalist participation, two newspaper offices in Fujian added ‘volume of news feeding to the centre’ in the their evaluation criteria for journalists’ work performance, and many other newspaper offices of the Fujian press industry stimulated the initiatives of journalists for collaboration with ‘remuneration’ (Gaofei) or ‘points’ (Gaofen). Motivated by these measures, a few journalists, particularly the young and junior ones, began to adapt to the working tempo of rapid publication and multiple ‘versions’ of a single story. Others, particularly old and senior journalists, had matter-of-fact reactions to such measures. From the perspective of the new media centre director and editors, the material rewards that failed to meet the expectations of journalists constitute the primary reason for the latter’s reluctance to participate. However, interviews with journalists revealed that their willingness to contribute news reports depends on the anticipated gains and the price that they may have to pay for such participation.

The historical course of China’s media reform is coincidental with the intrinsic logic of the transformation in national political ideology from contradiction theory to economy-centric theory (Li and Hu, 2013). However, this situation does not mean that political determinism would suffice to explain the China’s media reform. The transformation towards media groups did not result in mere innovation in the size, structure and managerial ideal of the media industries but also the ‘self-consciousness’ of actively promoting economic gains and the tendency to transform capitalism, ownership and other concepts into the reasonable kernel of media reform (Li and Hu, 2013). These have transcended far beyond the scope of what ‘political correctness’ can explain.
Lā Qiáolā (La Jolla), Jiālìfúníyàzhōu -- Wénlín Hànyǔ Xuéxí Ruǎnjiàn hé CDL zìtǐ jìshù de kāifāzhě -- Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ, yóu yī jiā pǔtōng qǐyè (gōngsī) zhuǎnxíng chéngwéi “shèhuì mùdì gōngsī” (SPC gōngsī). Tāngmǔ Bìxiǎopǔ (Tom Bishop) zhǔxí jiěshì le zhè yī juédìng: “Wǒmen de jiàoyù shǐmìng, cǐkè, zài fǎlǜ shang, chéngwéi le wǒmen cúnzài de gēnběn yìyì. Zhè yī xīn dìngwèi wèi ràng gèngduō de rén cānyù dào wǒmen de zǔzhī zhōng pūpíng le dàolù, tóngshí jiāng wǒmen de fāzhǎn tíshēng dào xīn de shuǐpíng. Xiànzài wǒmen yǒuquán yě bìxū zài wǒmen gōngsī de zhāngchéng zhōng guīdìng: jiàoyù jí qítā shèhuì mùdì shì wǒmen de zuìgāo zōngzhǐ.” Chúle yào kuòchōng yī zhī yōuxiù tuánduì, bāokuò cídiǎn biānzuǎn, yǔyánxué, biānchéng hé jiàoyù de dǐngjiān zhuānjiā, Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ Gōngsī SPC dǎsuàn bǎ cídiǎn hé qítā xuéxí cáiliào fābù dào wǎngshàng, ràng quánqiú fúhé zīgé de gòngxiànzhě kěyǐ xiézuò gǎishàn bìng xiūzhèng Zhòng-Yāng zīyuánkù. Gōngsī de xīn dìngwèi biǎomíng línjìn fābù de Wénlín Hànyǔ Xuéxí Ruǎnjiàn 4.2 bǎn jiāng yǔ zhòngdà shēngjí hòu de gōngsī wǎngzhàn tóngbù lóngzhòng tuīchū.
As a manifestation of the administrative barrier within Fujian’s press groups, the estrangement between metropolis newspaper offices and the new media centre has a further impact on the relationship between journalists and editors. Even when providing news, metropolis newspaper journalists are rather reluctant to invest time and energy and are less willing to cooperate with editors than their counterparts from the party organ due to lack of support from departmental leaders. Hence, conflicts over role misplacement frequently occur during their communication with the editors of the new media centre.
To examine the effects of media convergence on news production, both survey and in-depth interview are adopted with the press industry of Fujian Province as the case of analysis. At present, four large-scale press groups exist in Fujian Province: Xiamen Daily Group, which owns three comprehensive daily newspapers (Xiamen Daily, Xiamen Evening News and Haixi Morning Post); Fujian Daily News Press, which owns three comprehensive daily newspapers (Fujian Daily, Strait News and Strait Herald); Fuzhou Daily Media Press, which owns two comprehensive daily newspapers (Fuzhou Daily and Fuzhou Evening News) and Quanzhou Evening News Press, which owns two comprehensive daily newspapers (Quanzhou Evening News and Southeast Morning Post). Overall, the size and influence of the Fujian press industry are ranked in the middle nationwide.
By the end of 2012, the circulation and advertising revenues of the Fujian press industry declined substantially, indicating its entry into a ‘cold winter’. Secretary-General Xi Jinping delivered the ‘8•19’ speech in 2014. Subsequently, Fujian’s press groups began to receive local fiscal support, actually ‘reaching a consensus’ and advancing media convergence. In 2014 alone, the Xiamen Daily Group gained substantial support from the municipal government, thereby pioneering the establishment of a ‘central control platform of converged media’ and a new media centre, which has been followed by several other press groups in Fujian.

A total of 300 journalists from 11 newspapers (i.e., Xiamen Daily, Xiamen Evening News, Haixi Morning Post, Strait Herald, Fujian Daily, Strait Urban News, Fuzhou Daily, Fuzhou Evening News, Quanzhou Evening News, Southeast Morning Post and Strait Urban News (South Fujian Edition)) in the cities of Xiamen, Fuzhou and Quanzhou responded to the survey. After eliminating the ones in which over half of the questions were left unanswered, 274 copies of effective questionnaires were retrieved (completion rate = 91.3%). Two researchers input the data into SPSS19.0 and performed mutual proofreading to correct the errors in the manual input process. The findings were obtained through analysis of variance (ANOVA) and correlation analysis.


Before and after 2009, all major press groups in Fujian started to establish e-newspapers and transfer the newspaper contents to their official news websites to cope with the loss of readers as a result of the prevalence of computer technology as well as to maintain and expand the influence of traditional media. The popularity of Weibo and WeChat emerged between 2011 and 2012, thereby prompting the local press groups in Fujian to try out both platforms. During this period, newspapers were the pillar of the press groups’ revenue. Within most press groups in Fujian, Weibo and WeChat remained under the operation of newspaper editors and journalists on a part-time basis and received limited emphasis from the leadership.
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