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).

Two alternative paths are presently available for the local press industry to thoroughly address the issue of content for new media outlets. The first path is to remove the administrative hierarchy between metropolis newspapers and party organs, with the new media centre providing news to both newspapers and new media outlets for further editing. In this case, the new media outlets are not incorporated into the new media centre but remain at the same administrative level as the traditional media departments. Hence, the vertical communication between the new media centre and various new media outlets increases, yet the horizontal interaction between newspapers and new media outlets dramatically reduces. The second path is to insulate the newspapers from converging news production, with the centre producing content independently for new media outlets.
Wénlín Hànyǔ Xuéxí Ruǎnjiàn 4.0 bǎn bāokuò le yī zhǒng chuàngxīn de héxīn jīchǔ jìshù hé chuàngzuò gōngjù, yòngyú shūrù, chuánshū bìng xiǎnshì Unicode zhōng wèi bāohán de xīn zì, yìtǐzì, shēngpì zì. Zìxíng Miáoshù Yǔyán (CDL) shì yī zhǒng chǔlǐ Zhōngwén, Rìwén hé Hánwén (CJK) zìtǐ hé shùjù de gèng jǐncòu, gèng gāoxiào, gèng zhǔnquè de fāngfǎ, tā de chūxiàn jiějué le cāozuò xìtǒng hé xiǎoxíng shèbèi píngtái kāifāzhěmen xīwàng jiějué de wèntí. Wénlín CDL kě chǔlǐ 3000 ge zuì chángyòng zì, xiàoguǒ yōuyú Unicode, tóngshí wúxiàn kuòzhǎn le zìfújí, wèi shìjiè qítā de yònghù tígōng le gèngduō zìyóu hé biànlì. Yǔnxǔ zhōngduān yònghù zài 4 bǎnběn zhōng shǐyòng CDL jìshù, zhè wèi géxīn CJK gōngnéng pūpíng le dàolù. “Yīdàn zuìzhōng yònghù kāishǐ shǐyòng 4.0 bǎnběn de CDL chuàngzuò gōngjù, héxīn jīchǔ jíchéng de chǎngjǐng biàn de gèng qīngxī, wǒmen xīwàng wǒmen de shòuquán yèwù nénggòu yīncǐ dédào xiǎnzhù tuòzhǎn,” yíngxiāo fùzǒngcái Mǎkè Luóbùlǐ (Mark Roblee) rúcǐ shuōdào.
Say (there is) a fire disaster, which is often reported as an explosion. We often rush to fire disasters, chatting and interviewing with firemen on the site, (to know) there are lots of detonations in fire disasters. Even if not all detonations correspond to explosion, people who have not experienced the scene would likely label the sound ‘Bang’ as explosion before recording in Weibo the ‘explosion’ of fire somewhere… (Journalists) have discrimination, which is something lacked by ordinaries. (Interviewee No. 2)
Following this logic, understanding why many of the journalists claimed that the underlying method of media reform lies in ‘pay walls’ when they were asked about the future of media convergence. In this vision, the exploration of newspapers on the new media platform has limited value. The premium content produced by newspapers and the protection for the copyright of these contents are sufficient conditions for the survival and stability of newspapers. A few journalists placed equal emphasis on the importance of newspaper contents but they acknowledged the mutually complementary relationship between new media and newspapers, thinking that the new media will develop towards rapidity, shallowness and interactivity in the future while newspapers will become considerably profound and specialised in content. They believe that both entities can implement accurate user demand-oriented communication by means of technology, such as ‘big data’.
The convergence of the Chinese press industry is thus not merely driven by the effects of market and technological logic from the beginning, unlike in Europe and the US. Actually, administrative fiat plays a pivotal role in each stage of media convergence. In the mid- and late-1990s, the ‘touch the Internet’ (Chuwang) action of traditional news media, namely to establish online newspapers, has expanded from the top to the bottom ‘with the state as the sponsor’ and ‘national media as the leader’ (Yu, 2015). Similarly, the establishment of the collaborative relationship between newspapers and new media on news production at the beginning of the 21st century could not be realised without the intervention of administrative power, including approval for the construction of major news websites to produce original contents. The wave of media convergence that began in 2006 is also inseparable from the official ‘top-down design’. In the beginning, the General Administration of Press and Publication was concurrently the project sponsor and supervisor. Thereafter, the media convergence of the central and local press industry has been highly dependent on financial funding from the government.
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.
Despite the party-market corporatism, Lee et al. (2007) explained that significant multiplicity continues to exist in the developmental path of local media because of differences in power structure and market maturity. Guangzhou media represent the ‘market competition within party-state ideological limits’ pattern. For example, three press groups in Guangzhou compete fiercely with separate content strategies, while Guangzhou Daily and Yangchen Evening Daily cater primarily to daily life relevance and avoid ‘grand narratives’, Nanfang City Daily and Nanfang Weekend often expose official wrongdoings and advocate liberal ideas. Beijing media that are hierarchically structured in parallel to national, ministerial and municipal levels of administrative authorities compete both horizontally and vertically for power and market on behalf of their patrons and constituencies, thus represent the ‘managed diversity through a precarious of the emerging interest politics among counterbalancing power bases’ pattern. For example, as the authors put it, the supreme leader Mao had to turn to the Shanghai press to wage wars against the Beijing Daily on the eve of the period of the Cultural Revolution because his influence at that point could not fully reach the constituency of the Beijing Daily (Lee et al., 2007).

The press groups in Fujian have adopted the extendedly ameliorated path of media convergence. Firstly, they hired a technology company to establish a platform for converging news production. Secondly, a new media centre was established. Thirdly, a group of editors from the press newsroom were transferred to the centre to handle the new media outlets, particularly the website, Weibo, Wechat and APP. Lastly, a process reconstruction of the news production was undertaken by uniformly importing information from multiple sources into the centre for processing and delivering to new media outlets.

Moreover, most journalists willing to provide news to the new media centres are from party organs, whereas the majority of the metropolis newspaper journalists resisted collaboration. To understand the reason behind such contrast, note that new media centres are governed by party organs in terms of administrative hierarchy and are completely independent of metropolis newspaper offices in terms of finances. Compared with the metropolis newspapers, the party organ has relatively few barriers to the new media centres and a high degree of resource sharing. Such disparity has resulted in an operational obstacle between metropolis newspaper offices and the new media centre. To the new media leadership, this obstacle is precisely the underlying reason for newspapers and the new media to continue to be integrated but stay incompatible. The pattern of this relationship affects journalists’ willingness to collaborate.
For Western journalism researchers, media convergence generally refers to the ‘cooperation and collaboration between formerly distinct media newsrooms and other parts of the modern media company’ (Deuze, 2004: 140). Chinese scholars were considerably inclined to use the phrase ‘full-media’ (Quan Meiti) to describe the convergence process. Full-media, which is a term coined by Chinese media practitioners, implies a figure of oriental holism under the perspective of Chinese traditional philosophy (Ji et al., 2013). Mai (2012: 41) employed observation and in-depth interviews and defined full-media convergence as ‘a mode of structural integration of news production, dissemination and business operation on the platforms of new communication technology’.
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.
As Fimoculous points out, there have been American analogues to the renrou sousuo yingqing in some of the mass actions taken by 4chan: They too tracked down a cat abuser based on a video posted on the Internet. But the Human Flesh Search Engine is all the more important for filling in gaps in the Chinese legal system: whereas 4chan collaborated with police in their cat abuse case, China doesn’t have clear animal abuse laws, and so mass shaming had to come before legal action. Lest you decide that that sort of vigilantism is an entirely good thing, the Human Flesh Search Engine has also turned its ire on Chinese citizens who they don’t think are patriotic enough and journalists who call for moderation on Tibet.
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.
For Western journalism researchers, media convergence generally refers to the ‘cooperation and collaboration between formerly distinct media newsrooms and other parts of the modern media company’ (Deuze, 2004: 140). Chinese scholars were considerably inclined to use the phrase ‘full-media’ (Quan Meiti) to describe the convergence process. Full-media, which is a term coined by Chinese media practitioners, implies a figure of oriental holism under the perspective of Chinese traditional philosophy (Ji et al., 2013). Mai (2012: 41) employed observation and in-depth interviews and defined full-media convergence as ‘a mode of structural integration of news production, dissemination and business operation on the platforms of new communication technology’.
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.
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.
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