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).
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.