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’.

To date, only a few studies have evaluated the influences of media convergence from a Chinese journalists’ perspective. Limited research has reflected the equivocal attitude of journalists towards media convergence and disclosed various factors that affect journalists’ attitude. Chan et al. (2006) conducted a survey involving full-time journalists in Shanghai and Hangzhou and indicated that journalistic websites founded by traditional media have higher credibility than their counterparts founded by commercial portal website. However, the perceived credibility of mainstream media organisations’ websites and commercial portals varies with the beliefs of journalists on journalism. A case study of the Shenzhen Newspaper Group conducted by Yin and Liu (2014) revealed a pessimistic view of media convergence from this organisation’s journalists and emphasised that the analysis of media convergence in non-Western countries must be contextualised within the relationship between state and media. Based on previous studies, a conclusion can be drawn as follows: To provide an insight into the effects of media convergence on the Chinese press industry, the relationship among state, media and journalists should be considered.

To examine the effects of media convergence on news production, both survey and in-depth interview are adopted with the press industry of Fujian Province as the case of analysis. At present, four large-scale press groups exist in Fujian Province: Xiamen Daily Group, which owns three comprehensive daily newspapers (Xiamen Daily, Xiamen Evening News and Haixi Morning Post); Fujian Daily News Press, which owns three comprehensive daily newspapers (Fujian Daily, Strait News and Strait Herald); Fuzhou Daily Media Press, which owns two comprehensive daily newspapers (Fuzhou Daily and Fuzhou Evening News) and Quanzhou Evening News Press, which owns two comprehensive daily newspapers (Quanzhou Evening News and Southeast Morning Post). Overall, the size and influence of the Fujian press industry are ranked in the middle nationwide.

19 Media scholar Chen Lidan defines xuanchuan as “Using various symbols to communicate a certain concept in order to influence people's thought and their actions.” Chen, L., “Yong shishi shuo hua shi xuanchuan fangfa er bu shi xinwen xiezuo guilu” (“Using facts to write news is a propaganda method and not a rule to write news reports”), Renmin wang (People's Net) (2003).
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.
Understanding why most interviewed journalists also asserted that the assumptions that ‘multi-skilled journalists’ who can write, photograph and edit is unrealistic (if not entirely unreasonable), and claimed that newspaper journalists should be differentiated from specialised new media journalists who will transform into expert-type journalists in the future by delivering objective, rational and in-depth reportage on a certain subdivided domain. In this conception, new media practitioners remain quite distinct from their peers from the traditional media. However, such a difference has undergone slight changes, that is, traditional media practitioners have begun to admit and accept the possibility that their new media counterparts may be professionalised in the domain of news production. Journalists are consulting about their roles in reference to new media, although they are more inclined towards constriction rather than extension when adjusting their professional boundaries.
Prompts from new media centre editors that ‘users responded intensely’ are often believed as too trivial to be ‘worth writing about’, hence are ultimately ignored by journalists. Editors blame the journalists’ reaction on lack of awareness, that is, journalists lack knowledge of new media, underestimate the intensity of competition between the press industry and commercial new media and overlook user demands. In fact, journalists expressed their concern regarding increasingly intense market competition in both the survey and in-depth interviews. They sensed that when various types of newspapers obtain news clues from new media and as reportage becomes increasingly homogenised, newspapers are confronted with increasingly intense competition.
The majority of the scholarly analyses of convergence under the culture-oriented perspective have focused on its effects on routines, skills and roles. Several studies indicate that media convergence has changed the routine of information gathering, editing and reporting within newsrooms (Phillips et al., 2009); made journalistic practices considerably stressful with the emergence of multiskilling (Wallace, 2013) and posed severe challenges on the traditional roles of news media, such as ‘gatekeeper’ (Williams and Delli Carpini, 2000) and ‘agenda-setter’ (Quandt and Singer, 2009), as the tendency of convergence between professional- and user-produced content becomes increasingly appreciable. Other studies that employed the same approach indicate that although journalists are confronted with multiple challenges, they do not necessarily take a negative stance to evaluating media convergence. Accordingly, the degree of media convergence (Saltzis and Dickinson, 2008) and size of a media organisation (Mishra, 2014) can affect the perceptions journalists have on convergence journalism, thereby affecting their attitude towards media convergence.