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).
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.
Nevertheless, the resistance from journalists makes no difference to the convergence path of China’s local press industry. The tendency for senior journalists to be more devoted to converging news production compared with junior ones and the tendency for journalists from party organs to show a higher positivity towards contributing compared with those from metropolis newspapers both highlight the impact of institutional and organisational factors on the journalists’ intention and behaviour in collaboration.
For the Fujian press industry, the local journalists’ attitude towards the new media is moderately positive, which is inconsistent with their negative attitude towards the convergence of newspapers and new media. In other words, the journalists’ pessimistic views on media convergence are not because of their dislike of new technology but a manifestation of the institutional, organisational and individual complexities within the local press industry. The demographic factors that affect the journalists’ attitude towards new media, including age, years at work and type of newspaper, have unique connotations under the Chinese media system.
Accordingly, the following questions must be answered in the context where the tension between newspapers and new media departments seems persistent: What will be the destiny of metropolis newspapers if they deviate from converging news production? Will other types of newspapers, due to their loss of market competitive edge to new media outlets, shift to the role of ‘Party Mouthpiece’ that has previously been performed by the party organs? Evidently, these questions can be explored in future research.
Moreover, the decline of influence on public opinion is definitely another key factor that triggered the convergence within Chinese press industry. It is fairly illustrated in Secretary-General Xi Jinping’s ‘8•19’ speech on ‘boost the convergence between traditional and new media, and completely apply new technology in innovating the forms of media communication to seize a commanding height in the field of information communication’ (Liu, 2014). This situation is relatively similar to that of the media conglomeration in the late 1990s, when the legitimacy of reform stemmed from the policy of making domestic media ‘bigger and stronger’ to pre-empt the anticipated foreign competition in the World Trade Organization era. Meanwhile, a majority of domestic press groups were established based on administrative decrees rather than on business demands (Chen and Lee, 1998). Eliminating ‘dispersion’ and ‘chaos’ in the public opinion domain is the key factor that catalyses both media conglomeration and media convergence.
The term ‘domestication’ originally refers to the process of bringing wild animals or plants under control and using them for food or as pets. In journalism research, ‘domestication’ generally refers to journalism practitioners establishing an association between a foreign news event and the domestic audience by applying certain strategies of representation (Gurevitch et al., 1991). In this study, ‘domestication’ describes the strong institutional inertia under which new media outlets have been progressively involved in the orbit of newspapers. Accordingly, this process homogenises the new media outlets with the system, routines and cultures of traditional media.
The differences in the reactions to the encouragement between young/junior and old/senior journalists follow the same logic. Unlike young and junior journalists who hold contract positions, the old and senior journalists have substantial security from their authorised status (Bianzhi), thus rarely suffer from the effects of the living pressure of newspapers regarding current journalistic practices.
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