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.

The authors adopted a semi-structural interview and provided an outline for the journalists that mainly revolved around the following nine questions: (1) When did you start using new media in your daily work? (2) What is your reason for using new media? (3) What do you think is the role of new media in news production? (4) What measures have been adopted by the press group that you are currently working for in terms of media convergence? (5) Did such measures result in changes in your daily work? If yes, what are such changes? What can you say about these changes? (6) How do you interpret the effects of media convergence on journalists based on your personal experience? (7) What is your overall evaluation of the media convergence within the press group you are working for? (8) Are you aware of the measures of other press groups in terms of media convergence? What is your opinion on their measures? (9) What can you say about the viewpoint of the local press industry that media convergence is the way out for its current predicament? Specific to the interviewees of other categories, the questions varied in terms of how they are stated and their order of arrangement.
Conversely, although the Chinese government has promulgated a series of laws to regulate the content on the Internet since the implementation of the Interim Provisions on Internet Publication Management in 2002, commercial we-media have gained highly substantial market return by virtue of the size effect and flexibility of user-produced contents. Given that the main rival of Fujian’s local journalists for the role of opinion frontrunner in information dissemination does not undergo the direct regulation of the publicity sector, the ‘VIPs’ of we-media have public credibility that is comparable to that of traditional media.
Conversely, although the Chinese government has promulgated a series of laws to regulate the content on the Internet since the implementation of the Interim Provisions on Internet Publication Management in 2002, commercial we-media have gained highly substantial market return by virtue of the size effect and flexibility of user-produced contents. Given that the main rival of Fujian’s local journalists for the role of opinion frontrunner in information dissemination does not undergo the direct regulation of the publicity sector, the ‘VIPs’ of we-media have public credibility that is comparable to that of traditional media.
As national policy is further loosened, the Chinese media have begun exploring diversified modes of business operation. In 1996, the Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group announced its foundation, thereby unfolding the prelude of conglomeration of Chinese media. However, the process of conglomeration accelerated significantly only during the turn of the millennium, which has also benefited from the promulgation of a series of polices.
A professional company was commissioned to transcribe the anonymously processed materials. The tape scripts were then analysed in three phases. Firstly, a preliminary coding was accomplished by performing a line-by-line coding of the transcription as well as by defining the segments relevant to the issues under investigation. Secondly, new codes were formed by synthesising the preliminary codes, with focus laid on frequently occurring segments. Lastly, the new codes, between which the association was explored, were rearranged where it was used as basis for the construction of a consistent theoretical exposition.
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’.
Another explanation for journalists’ disinclination to provide news to the new media centre is the emerging conflict between the traditional and new media departments of the Fujian press industry. The main purpose of media convergence is to reconstruct the news production workflow and manifest the notion of ‘collection once, generation into varieties and dissemination in diversities’. Under the dominant path, the original departments of new media outlets are incorporated into the department of new media centre. From the perspective of newspaper office leadership, the timeliness of newspapers falls short of new media; thus, the latter is likely to further decrease the market of the former by intensifying the decline in newspaper readers. The leadership in Fujian’s press groups has been exploring various methods of press release, such as supplying basic facts to new media whilst providing details, background information and other in-depth content to newspapers, giving new media the priority to non-exclusive material but offering newspapers the priority to exclusive information. Discords occasionally occurred between the managements of newspaper offices and new media centre nonetheless.
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’.
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.
In September 1992, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 14th Central Committee recommended that the main direction in future adjustments of the industrial structure should be to ‘actively promote the tertiary industry’. In 1993, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council officially included the media industry in the tertiary industry in the Decisions on Accelerating Development in the Tertiary Industry, while maintaining this industry’s attributes as a propaganda and administrative institution.
Say (there is) a fire disaster, which is often reported as an explosion. We often rush to fire disasters, chatting and interviewing with firemen on the site, (to know) there are lots of detonations in fire disasters. Even if not all detonations correspond to explosion, people who have not experienced the scene would likely label the sound ‘Bang’ as explosion before recording in Weibo the ‘explosion’ of fire somewhere… (Journalists) have discrimination, which is something lacked by ordinaries. (Interviewee No. 2)
Debates on the social influence of information technology have constantly been conducted around the ‘technology and democracy’ theme. The introduction of information technology, particularly the Internet, was once lauded with immense optimism and was thought to provide journalists with substantial latitude of free speech. Unfortunately, the media convergence of the Fujian press industry clearly demonstrates that the tensions between politics and technology fail to generate significant journalistic freedom in the Chinese local press industry. In fact, the logic of technology has been incorporated into the political logic such that new media outlets have assimilated the structure and routines of traditional media. This tendency is not unique to the dominant path of media convergence but prevails in every local press industry that is in pursuit of converging news production. Accordingly, the effects of such development on the ecology of China’s journalism must be further explored.
After filling the gap in policy, advertising has significantly promoted its proportion in media revenue. As of October 1992, domestic newspapers that achieved financial independence had accounted for one-third of the nationwide total (Zhao, 1998: 50). Since then on, advocating and promoting economic development and strengthening of media industry have become a dominant agenda of China’s media reform.

As national policy is further loosened, the Chinese media have begun exploring diversified modes of business operation. In 1996, the Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group announced its foundation, thereby unfolding the prelude of conglomeration of Chinese media. However, the process of conglomeration accelerated significantly only during the turn of the millennium, which has also benefited from the promulgation of a series of polices.

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.


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)
Conversely, although the Chinese government has promulgated a series of laws to regulate the content on the Internet since the implementation of the Interim Provisions on Internet Publication Management in 2002, commercial we-media have gained highly substantial market return by virtue of the size effect and flexibility of user-produced contents. Given that the main rival of Fujian’s local journalists for the role of opinion frontrunner in information dissemination does not undergo the direct regulation of the publicity sector, the ‘VIPs’ of we-media have public credibility that is comparable to that of traditional media.
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.
The relationship between demographic factors with journalists’ attitude towards new media has been analysed in order to determine the variation among different types of journalists. The results of the ANOVA test indicate that gender and degree of education make no difference to the respondents’ perception about the changes or to their evaluation of new media; the type of newspaper makes no difference to the former but does influences the latter (F = 13.107, df = 1, p < .01). The results of the correlation analysis indicate that the respondents’ ages and years at work are uncorrelated to their perception but positively correlated to their evaluation of new media (r = 0.235, p < .001; r = 0.185, p < .01). Although local journalists in Fujian have generally recognised the changes brought about by new media to newspapers, those from metropolis newspapers were more inclined to provide a negative evaluation to these changes than those from party organs, whilst the older and more experienced the journalists were, the more positive evaluation they tended to provide to new media.
The first phase of China’s media reform, that is, the marketisation of Chinese media, began when the State Administration of Publication on the National Press Managers’ Conference officially announced in December 1978 the decision to pursue the business operation of newspapers. Accordingly, a media system with Chinese characteristics, that is, the ‘enterprise management of institutions’, was established. In 1983, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China promulgated Document No. 37 to encourage business operation within media organisations.
Focusing on the ‘top-down design’ of media convergence, market-oriented research relatively lacks in social solicitude and theoretical construction; valuing the ethics and obligations of converging media, the norm-oriented research demonstrates intense social solicitude but hardly receives industry-wide recognition. Both types of research fail to explain the full influence of media convergence. Considering that journalists are the critical actors of news production, the advancement of media convergence cannot proceed without the institutional arrangement from the top to the bottom as well as without the commitment and involvement of journalistic practitioners, particularly journalists, from the bottom to the top. The interaction between these two processes ultimately determines the scope, intensity and nature of the influences of media convergence.
Two alternative paths are presently available for the local press industry to thoroughly address the issue of content for new media outlets. The first path is to remove the administrative hierarchy between metropolis newspapers and party organs, with the new media centre providing news to both newspapers and new media outlets for further editing. In this case, the new media outlets are not incorporated into the new media centre but remain at the same administrative level as the traditional media departments. Hence, the vertical communication between the new media centre and various new media outlets increases, yet the horizontal interaction between newspapers and new media outlets dramatically reduces. The second path is to insulate the newspapers from converging news production, with the centre producing content independently for new media outlets.
Zhou, BH (2014) Chinese journalists’ social media usage and its influential factors: A survey on young journalists in Shanghai (Zhongguo xinwen congyezhe de shejiao meiti yunyong jiqi yingxiang yinsu: Yi xiang zhendui shanghai qingnian xinwen congyezhe de diaocha yanjiu). Journal of Journalism and Communication (Xinwen yu chuanbo yanjiu) 120(12): 34–53.
Only six days after the first Mop post about the video, the kitten killer’s home was revealed as the town of Luobei in Heilongjiang Province, in the far northeast, and her name — Wang Jiao — was made public, as were her phone number and her employer. Wang Jiao and the cameraman who filmed her were dismissed from what the Chinese call iron rice bowls, government jobs that usually last to retirement and pay a pension until death.
After 2008, ‘full-media’ became a keyword with which scholars discussed China’s press industry. Studies that focus on the effects of full-media are categorised into two approaches: media economics and media performance approaches. The media economics approach generalises the experience and lessons of convergence practices and evaluates the influence of media convergence on newspaper development mostly from a business operation perspective by adopting case studies combined with the personal observation of researchers (cf. Tang and Cao, 2015; Yang, 2013). By contrast, the media performance approach analyses the method of content delivery on the new media platforms of newspapers as well as predicts (through content analysis) the influence of convergence on the progress of society’s democratisation from the media ethics perspective (cf. Huang, 2013; Cai, 2011).
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.

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.
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