The article’s hook is the story of a woman who stomped a cat to death with a high-heeled shoe and anonymously uploaded a video to the Internet. When it spread to the forums on Mop.com, the Human Flesh Search Engine kicked into gear as people were outraged by the video, and within days, a combination of detective work, crowdsourcing, and media attention allowed them to track down and identify the woman and exact their wrath on her:
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)
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.
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.
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.
To answer the research question 1, the authors analysed the attitude of local journalists of Fujian towards new media with the method of survey. Available studies (cf. Wu and Zhang, 2015; Zhou, 2014) were used as bases to categorise the measurement of journalists’ attitude into two dimensions: The perception on the changes that new media have brought to news production and the overall appraisal of these changes. Measurement of the perception involves the following six items: (1) New media expanded the sources of news, (2) New media facilitated contact with work-related groups, (3) New media deepened knowledge on audience, (4) New media enhanced the requirements for journalists’ expertise, (5) New media intensified competitions with journalistic peers and (6) New media marginalised news gathering and editing inside the press group. A five-level scale was adopted (ranging from 1 to 5; 1 represents ‘strongly disagree’ and 5 represents ‘strongly agree’). The overall appraisal of those changes was measured by one item: What do you think of the overall influence of new media on news production? A five-point scoring was likewise adopted (1 representing ‘extremely negative’ and 5 representing ‘extremely positive’). Thereafter, demographic factors were measured, which included age, gender, educational degree, years at work and type of newspaper. At the end of the questionnaire, the respondents were asked if they are willing to accept an interview about their opinions on media convergence and leave their contact information.
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.”
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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