The term ‘convergence’ was firstly presented in the 1980s (Menke et al., 2016). Convergence was used to describe the phenomenon where the boundary between different forms of communication blurred in the context of new media with a strong technical colour at the beginning. Most of the early studies on convergence were focused on the innovation of medium technology. The social influence of convergence has gradually unfolded with the development of computer technology and communications networking since the 1990s. Journalism researchers have concentrated on the production process, as well as newsroom routine and culture, thereby endowing the concept of ‘convergence’ with a unique social implication (Quinn, 2005).

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.
In addition, technology is equally a vital impetus for China’s media reform. Since the reform and opening-up, the popularisation of satellite technology, the Internet, mobile Internet and other technologies have changed the microscopic form, industrial structure, business model and operational mentality of Chinese media as well as accelerated the progress of media reform (Xiong et al., 2010).
Therefore, faced with the challenges from we-media runners who have seized advantages in the information communication domain in recent years, local journalists choose to fall back on the principle of objectivity to defend the increasingly blurring boundary between professional and non-professional information providers. The resistance to collaboration thereby demonstrates the journalists’ identification with the ideology of professionalism.

The impetus for junior journalists to participate in the converging news production is the same consideration that prevents senior journalists from collaborating with the new media centre, that is, to achieve the balance between gain and cost. The industry and the journalists ‘inside the system’ (tizhinei) are likely to opt for political safety over financial return, whereas their counterparts ‘outside the system’ (tizhiwai) ascribe considerable importance to the latter than the former.

For Western journalism researchers, media convergence generally refers to the ‘cooperation and collaboration between formerly distinct media newsrooms and other parts of the modern media company’ (Deuze, 2004: 140). Chinese scholars were considerably inclined to use the phrase ‘full-media’ (Quan Meiti) to describe the convergence process. Full-media, which is a term coined by Chinese media practitioners, implies a figure of oriental holism under the perspective of Chinese traditional philosophy (Ji et al., 2013). Mai (2012: 41) employed observation and in-depth interviews and defined full-media convergence as ‘a mode of structural integration of news production, dissemination and business operation on the platforms of new communication technology’.
The convergence of the Chinese press industry is thus not merely driven by the effects of market and technological logic from the beginning, unlike in Europe and the US. Actually, administrative fiat plays a pivotal role in each stage of media convergence. In the mid- and late-1990s, the ‘touch the Internet’ (Chuwang) action of traditional news media, namely to establish online newspapers, has expanded from the top to the bottom ‘with the state as the sponsor’ and ‘national media as the leader’ (Yu, 2015). Similarly, the establishment of the collaborative relationship between newspapers and new media on news production at the beginning of the 21st century could not be realised without the intervention of administrative power, including approval for the construction of major news websites to produce original contents. The wave of media convergence that began in 2006 is also inseparable from the official ‘top-down design’. In the beginning, the General Administration of Press and Publication was concurrently the project sponsor and supervisor. Thereafter, the media convergence of the central and local press industry has been highly dependent on financial funding from the government.

For Western journalism researchers, media convergence generally refers to the ‘cooperation and collaboration between formerly distinct media newsrooms and other parts of the modern media company’ (Deuze, 2004: 140). Chinese scholars were considerably inclined to use the phrase ‘full-media’ (Quan Meiti) to describe the convergence process. Full-media, which is a term coined by Chinese media practitioners, implies a figure of oriental holism under the perspective of Chinese traditional philosophy (Ji et al., 2013). Mai (2012: 41) employed observation and in-depth interviews and defined full-media convergence as ‘a mode of structural integration of news production, dissemination and business operation on the platforms of new communication technology’.
Although the effects of media convergence from a journalist perspective are waiting to be further examined, a comprehensive view of the influence of new media on news production has been achieved by Chinese scholars. Existing studies indicate that journalists’ attitude towards new media is complicated. On one hand, the use of the Internet and we-media, such as QQ, Weibo and Wechat, has been considered to boost the work efficiency of journalists, enhance the interaction between journalists and readers and increase the transparency of news production (Wu and Zhang, 2015). On the other hand, an increasing number of journalists are also inclined to attribute the loss of ‘journalistic ideal’ to multifarious pressures provoked by new media (Ding and Wei, 2014). Given the development of mobile Internet and prevalence of we-media since the beginning of the 21st century, information and opinions from netizens have gradually become a vital source of news for traditional media and the public (Wu and Zhang, 2015; Zhou, 2014), and the objectivity of news and journalists’ authoritativeness have been impaired (Bai, 2013).

The official statement of the objective of Chinese media convergence lies in coping with the impacts generated by the information technology revolution. Among those impacts, the decline of tax revenue from media industries is one catalyst for Chinese press industry playing the role of precursor of media convergence. In early 2008, the press industry experienced a phase of decline. Until 2015, China’s television industry firstly took on a gliding tendency in the totality of media placement of advertising, with the advertising revenue of the radio industry deemed stable (Cui, 2016: 6–8). The decline of circulation and advertising revenues is often attributed to the effects of new media such as the change in habits of media exposure. Compared with the radio and television industries, the press industry faces more severe challenges from new media. Thus, the press industry has substantially intense impetus to converge with new media.
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.

However, the official belief of ‘sole responsibility for one’s own profits or losses’ that has been established since the marketisation of Chinese media industries made it impossible for the Fujian press industry to gain sustainable financial investments from the state. Hence, the present objective of media convergence has been to explore new pathways towards profitability. To date, only a few new media outlets in the Fujian press industry have garnered gains. This ‘adventitious feebleness’ in profitability is deemed by local journalists as a consequence of the ‘congenital deficiency’ in content as exacerbated by the censorship system.
64 Moderately aware citizens tend to be most easily persuaded by news media messages, because poorly aware citizens do not receive media messages and the highly aware are more resistant to change their pre-held attitudes. McGuire, W. (ed.), Personality and Susceptibility to Social Influence (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968), pp. 1130–87; Converse, P.E., “The nature of belief in mass publics,” in Apter, D. (ed.), Ideology and Discontent (New York: Free Press, 1964), pp. 206–61; Zaller, J., The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
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).
To encourage journalist participation, two newspaper offices in Fujian added ‘volume of news feeding to the centre’ in the their evaluation criteria for journalists’ work performance, and many other newspaper offices of the Fujian press industry stimulated the initiatives of journalists for collaboration with ‘remuneration’ (Gaofei) or ‘points’ (Gaofen). Motivated by these measures, a few journalists, particularly the young and junior ones, began to adapt to the working tempo of rapid publication and multiple ‘versions’ of a single story. Others, particularly old and senior journalists, had matter-of-fact reactions to such measures. From the perspective of the new media centre director and editors, the material rewards that failed to meet the expectations of journalists constitute the primary reason for the latter’s reluctance to participate. However, interviews with journalists revealed that their willingness to contribute news reports depends on the anticipated gains and the price that they may have to pay for such participation.

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.


65 The coefficient of the interaction term was not statistically significant because of the small n of the treatment group. This indicates that we cannot be 95% certain that we would retrieve similar results over repeated samples. However, the dynamics are similar when comparing Beijingers' use of the internet and newspapers, thus further providing evidence that “new” media are more effective than “old” media in appeasing citizens. See Stockmann, “What kind of information does the public demand?”
29 Wan, M., Sino-Japanese Relations: Interaction, Logic, and Transformation (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006); Reilly, J., “China's history activism and Sino-Japanese relations,” China: An International Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2006), pp. 189–216; J.C. Weiss, “Powerful patriots: nationalism, diplomacy and the strategic logic of anti-foreign protest,” PhD thesis, University of California, San Diego, 2008.
Ding, FZ, Wei, L (2014) Occupational dilemma of China’s journalists in an era of social media: A study of journalists’ occupational discourses on Weibo in Journalists’ Day from 2010 to 2014 (Shehuihua meiti shidai zhongguo xinwenren de zhiye kunjing: Jiyu 2010–2014 nian ‘jizhejie’ xinwenren weibo zhiye huayu bianqian de kaocha). Shanghai Journalism Review (Xinwen jizhe) 12: 3–9. 

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.
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