Such standpoint has led local press groups to successively adopt diverse approaches over the past two years to cope with the challenge of new media. Among these approaches, the ‘extendedly ameliorated’ path, namely the implementation of incremental development of newspapers through flow reconstruction whilst retaining their original production system (Mai, 2012: 118), has become a common option of most local press groups. Although media convergence exerts an increasingly significant effect on these local press groups, relevant empirical studies remain limited at present. The current study analyses the perceptions of local newspaper journalists on and evaluations of media convergence through a survey and 20 in-depth interviews so as to disclose the effects of the dominant path of media convergence on local press groups based on the understanding of and reflection on the viewpoints of the ‘insiders’.

Simply speaking, media convergence is the process of integrating new media into the system of traditional media. Thus, journalists’ attitude towards the new media constitutes the foundation for better understanding of journalists’ attitude towards the convergence between traditional media and new media. Moreover, media convergence carries a prognosis that news production will move further to the direction towards timeliness, interactivity and use-centredness. Given that the newsroom routine adjusts rapidly, particularly as the audience increasingly engages in news production and professional boundaries blur further, the following questions need to be answered: Will the viewpoint of journalists towards new media become considerably negative? How will this attitude affect their perception of the convergence process between new media and traditional media?
Generally, the journalists’ reluctance to collaborate can be explained under the binary structure of ‘traditional media versus new media’, which is manifested at three levels. At the institutional level, the antithesis of traditional media versus new media is represented as the schism between ‘inside the system’ and ‘outside the system’. Given the impact of new media and the existing ideological control, the Fujian press industry has opted to sacrifice part of its economic gains for political security, which is also an option for journalists ‘inside the system’. At the organisational level, the antithesis is manifested as the enmity between the traditional and the new media departments. Divergent interests have made the leaders and journalists of metropolis newspapers less willing to cooperate with the centre compared with their counterparts from the party organs. At the individual level, the binary structure is manifested as the competition between professional journalists and other we-media runners. Faced with challenges from non-professional information providers, most journalists opt to follow their occupational boundaries and refrain from adding their voice to the new media.
The effects of the dominant path of media convergence on the mid-size press industry are the focus of this study. The path chosen by the press industry in other regions of China may differ from the dominant one in Fujian due to the nuances of power structure, level of economic development, size of press group and other factors. For example, the Nanfang Media Group’s choice of the fully transformed path has a bearing on its pioneering spirit and remarkable investment, which are derived from its distance from the centre of political power, the prosperity of the market economy in Guangdong and the surrounding areas, and the considerable assets from accumulation within the media group in the past decades (Yin and Liu, 2013). Nevertheless, Fujian’s case discloses the common challenges that the Chinese press industry will face as they further advance the convergence regardless of which path they choose. This study also develops an analytical framework based on the interplay amongst the state, media and journalists to be used in future research on China’s media convergence.

The term ‘domestication’ originally refers to the process of bringing wild animals or plants under control and using them for food or as pets. In journalism research, ‘domestication’ generally refers to journalism practitioners establishing an association between a foreign news event and the domestic audience by applying certain strategies of representation (Gurevitch et al., 1991). In this study, ‘domestication’ describes the strong institutional inertia under which new media outlets have been progressively involved in the orbit of newspapers. Accordingly, this process homogenises the new media outlets with the system, routines and cultures of traditional media.


The effects of the dominant path of media convergence on the mid-size press industry are the focus of this study. The path chosen by the press industry in other regions of China may differ from the dominant one in Fujian due to the nuances of power structure, level of economic development, size of press group and other factors. For example, the Nanfang Media Group’s choice of the fully transformed path has a bearing on its pioneering spirit and remarkable investment, which are derived from its distance from the centre of political power, the prosperity of the market economy in Guangdong and the surrounding areas, and the considerable assets from accumulation within the media group in the past decades (Yin and Liu, 2013). Nevertheless, Fujian’s case discloses the common challenges that the Chinese press industry will face as they further advance the convergence regardless of which path they choose. This study also develops an analytical framework based on the interplay amongst the state, media and journalists to be used in future research on China’s media convergence.
It is further revealed in this study that the newsroom routines, multiskilling and other factors that significantly affect the attitude of journalists in European and American countries towards media convergence do not sufficiently account for the reluctance of Chinese journalists. The latter is ascribed to the institutional, organisational and individual complexities of the Chinese press industry, within which the competition for market between the traditional and new media departments is implicitly permitted as long as it does not threaten the bottom line of political safety, and the ideology of professionalism with which the journalists identify provides the justification for their willingness to confront the severe challenges from the non-professional information providers (e.g., we-media) by collaborating with the new media centre.
Nevertheless, the resistance from journalists makes no difference to the convergence path of China’s local press industry. The tendency for senior journalists to be more devoted to converging news production compared with junior ones and the tendency for journalists from party organs to show a higher positivity towards contributing compared with those from metropolis newspapers both highlight the impact of institutional and organisational factors on the journalists’ intention and behaviour in collaboration.

The last two sections show some potential changes in the dominant path of media convergence adopted by the local press industry. Existing studies indicate that institutional and organisational factors considerably influence the journalists’ perception of their professional roles (Tao and Zhang, 2014; Wu et al., 1996; Zhang and Wu, 2016). Long-term attention is equally worthwhile with regard to whether the future structural adjustment of the local press industry in the area of media convergence will change the journalists’ identification of their roles.
In the early 1990s, Chinese press industry strategically expanded policy limits by using the tension between the state and capitals (Akhavan-Majid, 2004). For example, the operation management strategy through structural ‘zoning’ (Pan, 2000) and the content strategy pursuing newsworthiness to the maximum within the permissible policy scope (Zhao, 1996). Thus, newspapers that transform from ‘Party Mouthpiece’ to ‘Party Publicity Inc.’ (Lee et al., 2006) gained substantial rewards from the market whilst performing their propaganda function.
The differences in the reactions to the encouragement between young/junior and old/senior journalists follow the same logic. Unlike young and junior journalists who hold contract positions, the old and senior journalists have substantial security from their authorised status (Bianzhi), thus rarely suffer from the effects of the living pressure of newspapers regarding current journalistic practices.

These findings indicate that media convergence is never merely a technological issue. The journalists’ stance on new technologies is not sufficient to guarantee a corresponding attitude towards media convergence. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the effects of convergence, the social context, typically the media system and journalistic culture must be taken into consideration. Both of them exert great influence on journalists’ attitude towards media convergence.
Lāqiáolā (La Jolla), Jiālìfúníyà zhōu—Zhōngwén Xuéxí Ruǎnjiàn Wénlín hé CDL zìtǐ jìshù de kāifā shāng——Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ xīn tuīchū de «Hàn-Yīng yànyǔ cídiǎn» ruǎnjiàn bǎn xiànyǐ zhīchí fántǐzì, cídiǎn yóu Yuēhàn Luōsēnnuò (John S. Rohsenow) biānjí. Xiàndài yǔyán qīkān duì Luōsēnnuò (Rohsenow) cídiǎn de píngjià shì “ dàigěi rén yúkuài tǐyàn, yìyú shǐyòng ... Wèi pǔtōng Yīngyǔ dúzhě kāiqǐle Zhōngguó mínjiān zhìhuì de bǎokù ... duì rènhé jíbié de yǔyán xuésheng hé rènhé xūyào jīngpì géyán de rén dōu shìjí jù xīyǐnlì qiě shífēn shòuyì de” (89, 2005). Yóu Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ (zhǐ zhì bǎn de biānzhì zhě) kāifā de xīnbǎn ruǎnjiàn wèi xuéxí yànyǔ zhè yī bǎoguì zīyuán zēngtiānle xīn de wéidù. Gāi ruǎnjiàn bǎnběn yīng yǔ Wénlín Hànyǔ Xuéxí Ruǎnjiàn 4.1 huò gèng gāo bǎnběn jiéhé shǐyòng. Yōngyǒu Wénlín qiángdà de ABC Diànzǐ Cídiǎn de quánbù jíhé, yìwèizhe jiǎntǐ hé fántǐ Zhōngwén de dúzhě kěyǐ shíshí fǎngwèn gèzhǒnggèyàng de cítiáo yǐ tànqiú Luōsēnnuò jiàoshòu jīngliáng fānyì de wēimiào zhī chù, bìng lǐjiě Zhōngwén yànyǔ gèng shēnkè de hányì. Shìyòng yú suǒyǒu liúlǎnqì de bǎnběn zhèngzài jījí kāifā zhōng. Zhè yī xīn diànzǐ bǎn de shòuzhòng wèi pǔtōng Yīngyǔ hé Hànyǔ dúzhě, yǐjí rénlèixué, yǔyánxué, wénxué, shèhuìxué, xīnlǐxué, lìshǐxué zàinèi de gèzhǒng lǐngyù de zhuānjiā. Xīnbǎn Wénlín 4.2 huò gèng gāo bǎnběn de ruǎnjiàn kě fǎngwèn https://www.wenlinshangdian.com wǎngshang gòumǎi, shòujià wèi 19.99 Měiyuán. Zuìjìn yóu Xiàwēiyí Dàxué Chūbǎnshè chūbǎn de «ABC Hàn-Yīng Yànyǔ Cídiǎn» bāohánle yuē 4000 duō tiáo Hànyǔ yànyǔ, gēnjù Hànyǔ Pīnyīn zhuǎnlù hé Hànzì (biāozhǔn jiǎntǐ), ànzhào yànyǔ shǒucí (詞/词 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. Chúle yànyǔ zhīwài, zìdiǎn hái dàiyǒu guānjiàncí suǒyǐn (Zhōng-Yīngwén), bāokuò suǒyǒu shèjí de cítiáo hé huàtí. Biānzhě duì zhèxiē yànyǔ zài chuántǒng yǔ dāngdài Zhōngguó shèhuì zhòngdì dìngyì, jiégòu, yòngtú hé lìshǐ jìnxíngle xuéshù jièshào, lièchūle wénxiàn jí hé xiāngguān yànyǔ de xuéshù yánjiū.

After 2008, ‘full-media’ became a keyword with which scholars discussed China’s press industry. Studies that focus on the effects of full-media are categorised into two approaches: media economics and media performance approaches. The media economics approach generalises the experience and lessons of convergence practices and evaluates the influence of media convergence on newspaper development mostly from a business operation perspective by adopting case studies combined with the personal observation of researchers (cf. Tang and Cao, 2015; Yang, 2013). By contrast, the media performance approach analyses the method of content delivery on the new media platforms of newspapers as well as predicts (through content analysis) the influence of convergence on the progress of society’s democratisation from the media ethics perspective (cf. Huang, 2013; Cai, 2011).
After 2008, ‘full-media’ became a keyword with which scholars discussed China’s press industry. Studies that focus on the effects of full-media are categorised into two approaches: media economics and media performance approaches. The media economics approach generalises the experience and lessons of convergence practices and evaluates the influence of media convergence on newspaper development mostly from a business operation perspective by adopting case studies combined with the personal observation of researchers (cf. Tang and Cao, 2015; Yang, 2013). By contrast, the media performance approach analyses the method of content delivery on the new media platforms of newspapers as well as predicts (through content analysis) the influence of convergence on the progress of society’s democratisation from the media ethics perspective (cf. Huang, 2013; Cai, 2011).
On the event of the shipwreck in the Yangtze River last year, I sent (passengers’ identity numbers) to the editor-on-duty of the website. He said, ‘Tell me the number of (Fuzhou) people’. I told him he could roughly estimate the number by counting those identity numbers starting with ‘35’. He said, ‘You might as well help me count’. I was being busy on the spot. And I was expected to be the one managing such trivial matters! (Interviewee No. 14)
In September 1992, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 14th Central Committee recommended that the main direction in future adjustments of the industrial structure should be to ‘actively promote the tertiary industry’. In 1993, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council officially included the media industry in the tertiary industry in the Decisions on Accelerating Development in the Tertiary Industry, while maintaining this industry’s attributes as a propaganda and administrative institution.
In addition, technology is equally a vital impetus for China’s media reform. Since the reform and opening-up, the popularisation of satellite technology, the Internet, mobile Internet and other technologies have changed the microscopic form, industrial structure, business model and operational mentality of Chinese media as well as accelerated the progress of media reform (Xiong et al., 2010).
Starting from the emergence of online newspapers, traditional media departments, particularly their leadership, were rather ‘antagonistic’ against new media departments based on the concerns over newspaper circulation. Nevertheless, the competitive relationship between the two types of departments remained unclear because new media departments were situated in a relatively marginalised position inside the press industry. After media convergence along the dominant path was officially launched, original new media departments have been integrated into the new media centre. Vast financial support, manpower and material investments were put to the new media centres of the Fujian press industry, which had reinforced the position of new media department as a ‘rival’ to newspaper offices.
In recent years, the Fujian press industry has stagnated due to frequent turnover of personnel. Given that the number of practicing journalists in this province is difficult to determine, the authors adopted the snowball sampling method by firstly contacting the persons-in-charge of the newsroom and requesting them thereafter to recruit journalists to answer the survey. Considering the particularity of the respondents’ profession, that is, having flexible working hours, two assistants were assigned to distribute the printed questionnaires before and after the plenary press conference or the newsroom convention from July to August 2015.
6 J.J. Kennedy, “Maintaining popular support for the Chinese Communist Party: the influence of education and the state-controlled media,” Political Studies, Vol. 57, No. 3 (2009), pp. 517–36; Chen, X. and Shi, T., “Media effects on political confidence and trust in the People's Republic of China in the post-Tiananmen period,” East Asia: An International Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3 (2001), pp. 84–118.
The definition of full-media convergence is similar to that of media convergence that was developed in light of current practices in Europe and the US. However, as Menke et al. (2016) argued in their comparative study of European convergence journalism, the processes of convergence depend on national and cultural factors, thereby resulting in different convergence practices within specific newsrooms. To gain an improved understanding of the current convergence in China, the factors that make China’s case substantially different from Europe and the US must be considered.
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.
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.
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