The sense of crisis brought about by intense competition would permeate throughout the ranks of journalists from top to bottom. For the latter, competition with peers are normal in the condition of having multiple newspapers in the same city. However, previous rivalries were fair contests between ‘professional journalists’, whereas present struggles involve unfair competition with ‘vulgar non-professionals’.
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.
In general, similar to most local press groups in China, Fujian’s press groups have started advancing the convergence between newspapers and new media (i.e., in the news production area) only during the past two years without radically altering the existing system of the industry, that is, not touching the core zone of the media convergence–structure adjustment and business operation convergence. Therefore, the Fujian press industry makes a proper case of analysis for this study due to its typical nature in terms of convergence progress and path selection.
In recent years, the Fujian press industry has stagnated due to frequent turnover of personnel. Given that the number of practicing journalists in this province is difficult to determine, the authors adopted the snowball sampling method by firstly contacting the persons-in-charge of the newsroom and requesting them thereafter to recruit journalists to answer the survey. Considering the particularity of the respondents’ profession, that is, having flexible working hours, two assistants were assigned to distribute the printed questionnaires before and after the plenary press conference or the newsroom convention from July to August 2015.
By the end of 2012, the circulation and advertising revenues of the Fujian press industry declined substantially, indicating its entry into a ‘cold winter’. Secretary-General Xi Jinping delivered the ‘8•19’ speech in 2014. Subsequently, Fujian’s press groups began to receive local fiscal support, actually ‘reaching a consensus’ and advancing media convergence. In 2014 alone, the Xiamen Daily Group gained substantial support from the municipal government, thereby pioneering the establishment of a ‘central control platform of converged media’ and a new media centre, which has been followed by several other press groups in Fujian.
From the viewpoint of local journalists, news from the Fujian press industry was originally highly homogenised and lacked competitiveness. After the three-phase censorship of new media was institutionalised, risks from converging news production declined, but the timely release of information was weakened and the opportunity for journalistic autonomy has decreased as well. When covering politically sensitive social events, the freedom of speech of the new media was equally limited relative to others within the press industry and was occasionally even more restricted than that of newspapers.
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.
In 2001, the Publicity Department of CPC, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and the General Administration of Press and Publication issued the Opinions on Intensifying Reform on the Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Industry, thereby establishing media groups concurrently operating across media and regions as well as initiating comprehensive adjustment over the capital structure of media groups. In late 2003, the State Council issued the Notice on Printing and Issuing Two Regulations on Supporting the Transformation of Cultural Industry Development and that of Cultural Institutions into Enterprises in the Trail of Cultural System Reform to separate operative resources, such as the contents of social service and mass entertainment, from present institutional resources, thereby realising capitalisation. Henceforth, the gap in the domain of ownership has been further filled, and media reform has entered the capitalisation stage.
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.
Both viewpoints have consistent cores, that is, the adherence to the principle that ‘content shall dominate’, which underscores the importance of content resources in maintaining and promoting the influential power of newspapers and in assisting newspapers to step out of the ‘cold winter’. This situation further evokes the hesitation of and the resistance from the journalists of the Fujian press industry as they maintain their professional dignity with effort.
From a new perspective, this article proposes four principles in understanding and interpreting Han dynasty brick and stone pictorial reliefs. First, adopt a three-dimensional viewpoint to describe and interpret the motifs. Second, follow the order of “bottom to top and right to left” in viewing the pictorial presentations. Third, take a holistic approach in appreciation, examining the pictorial reliefs together with the architectures of the tombs, memorial arches and other monumental pieces. And fourth, develop a comprehensive method of investigation, situating the Han pictorial reliefs in the historical context, including social customs, philosophical ideas, intellectual culture, economic development and advances in architecture. In writing the article, the author has done a systematic analysis, using contemporary historical texts, archaeological findings and modern works.
4 Therefore, some observers suspected that “Anti CNN” messages were part of a larger propaganda effort to discredit reports that contradicted the official line of the state. See New York Times, 25 March 2008; Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 28 March 2008. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang denied any direct links between the website and the Chinese government. http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/zt/fyrth/t419160.htm, accessed 20 July 2008.
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.
The recruitment of interviewees was conducted for two rounds. Given the demonstrative effect of the media convergence of the Xiamen Daily Group within the province and even the entire industry, the authors contacted seven media practitioners from this organisation to undergo the first round of interview. Consequently, one director, one editor and five newspaper journalists were involved as interviewees in this round. After developing a preliminary knowledge of the opinions of the Xiamen Daily Group journalists towards media convergence, the authors conducted a second round of interview. Three directors, three editors and seven journalists were recruited as interviewees from several other press groups, including Fujian Daily Group, Fuzhou Daily News Press and Quanzhou Evening News Press, thereby promoting the diversity of the interviewees in the aspect of age, years at work and newspaper type. Except for one journalist from the Fujian Daily Group who was interviewed via telephone, all the 19 others underwent face-to-face interviews (Table 1).