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.
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.
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Before and after 2006, Chinese scholars began exploring the potential effects of ‘media convergence’ on news production in the context of digitisation being launched pervasively among press groups. A few of these scholars believe that convergence journalism, as an outgrowth of media convergence, provide gradual changes to the actors of news production, news source, communication medium, content, form and workflow (Cai, 2006).
Yóulǐkǎ (Eureka), Jiālìfúníyàzhōu -- Jì qùnián dì-sì bǎn de zhòngdà shēngjí zhīhòu, Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ jīntiān fābù le Wénlín 4.1 beta bǎn gēngxīn, kāifàng gěi fúhé tiáojiàn bìng yuànyì cānjiā cèshì de Wénlín 4.0 yònghù. Cèshì rényuán kě fǎngwèn www.wenlinshangdian.com bìng shǐyòng tāmen de Wénlín 4.0 xùliè hào miǎnfèi “yùdìng” gēngxīn. Wénlín 4.1 de zuìzhōng bǎn yùjì jiāng yú jīnnián qiūtiān fābù, duì 4.0 bǎn suǒyǒu yònghù de miǎnfèi kāifàng shēngjí.
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’.
47 On 10 and 12 April, media briefings with Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang were convened. See http://www.fmprc.gov.cn, accessed 31 May 2007. For reports see Beijing Youth Daily, 13 April 2008, Jinghua shibao, 13 April 2005, China Daily, 13 April 2005. Similar announcements by the spokesperson of the Public Security Bureau followed. See People's Daily and Beijing Youth Daily, 22 April 2005.
In 2001, the Publicity Department of CPC, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and the General Administration of Press and Publication issued the Opinions on Intensifying Reform on the Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Industry, thereby establishing media groups concurrently operating across media and regions as well as initiating comprehensive adjustment over the capital structure of media groups. In late 2003, the State Council issued the Notice on Printing and Issuing Two Regulations on Supporting the Transformation of Cultural Industry Development and that of Cultural Institutions into Enterprises in the Trail of Cultural System Reform to separate operative resources, such as the contents of social service and mass entertainment, from present institutional resources, thereby realising capitalisation. Henceforth, the gap in the domain of ownership has been further filled, and media reform has entered the capitalisation stage.
29 Wan, M., Sino-Japanese Relations: Interaction, Logic, and Transformation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006); Reilly, J., “China's history activism and Sino-Japanese relations,” China: An International Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2006), pp. 189–216; J.C. Weiss, “Powerful patriots: nationalism, diplomacy and the strategic logic of anti-foreign protest,” PhD thesis, University of California, San Diego, 2008.
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.
In the early stages after the foundation of China, domestic journalists assumed the primary role of ‘propagators’. From the 1980s to the 1990s, China’s journalists have started to undertake other roles, such as ‘information providers’, ‘information interpreters’, ‘advocators’ and ‘profit makers’. Evidently, their professional roles have become increasingly diversified. In recent years, domestic journalists have gradually ‘returned to the essence of journalism’ in their selection of professional roles (Chen and Jiang, 2008). Most professional journalists have identified with the objective and neutral role of an ‘information provider’ (Zhang and Wu, 2014).
4 Therefore, some observers suspected that “Anti CNN” messages were part of a larger propaganda effort to discredit reports that contradicted the official line of the state. See New York Times, 25 March 2008; Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 28 March 2008. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang denied any direct links between the website and the Chinese government. http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/zt/fyrth/t419160.htm, accessed 20 July 2008.
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.