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.
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.
6 J.J. Kennedy, “Maintaining popular support for the Chinese Communist Party: the influence of education and the state-controlled media,” Political Studies, Vol. 57, No. 3 (2009), pp. 517–36; Chen, X. and Shi, T., “Media effects on political confidence and trust in the People's Republic of China in the post-Tiananmen period,” East Asia: An International Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3 (2001), pp. 84–118.
Wénlín yì wéi “qúnyīng huì” yǔ gōngsī míng xiāngtóng de shì, Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ de chéngxùyuán dàitóurén dōu shì shēnjiān Hànyǔ yǔyánxuéjiā hé jìsuànjī kēxué gōngchéngshī liǎng zhǒng shēnfèn. Guānchá děngshì liǎngbiān, zhè ràng Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ de chuàngshǐrén hé zǒngcái Tuōmǎsī E. Bìxiǎopǔ (Thomas E. Bishop) chóngxīn fāxiàn le Hànyǔ shénmì de 36 bǐ “zìmǔ”, jìn'ér yīláoyǒngyì de jiějué le Unicode “quēzì” de wèntí. Zhèxiē chuántǒng jiǎoběn yuánsù yīzhí yǐlái dōu bèi ruǎnjiàn kāifāzhě suǒ hūshì. “CDL yīzhí shì Wénlín de yī bùfèn, dàn wǒmen wèi fāxiàn qiánzài yǔyán, zhídào Wénlín 4.0 bǎn tuīchū. Rújīn yònghù kěyǐ chákàn bìng cāokòng rènhé kě zài bǐhuà kuàng zhōng chákàn de zìfú de CDL miáoshù,” Bìxiǎopǔ shuōdào. Wénlín Yánjiūsuǒ shì Unicode Xiéhuì de róngyù huìyuán, zì 2000 nián yǐlái yīzhí zhìlìyú míhé CJK shùjù chǔlǐ shang de chājù.
In 2006, the General Administration of Press and Publication of China began enforcing the first batch of the ‘China Digital Newspaper Laboratory Programs’, in which 18 national and local press groups were involved in officially unfolding the prelude of the ‘full-media convergence’, namely an intensive integration of new media into the system of traditional press. Since 2012, Chinese press industry has stepped into a ‘cold winter’. Throughout 2014 alone, the total revenue of newspaper circulation experienced a substantial decrease of 25%, with advertising revenue simultaneously decreasing by 15% (Cui and He, 2015). Several scholars suggested that vulnerable profit-making pattern, global economic recession and the decelerating growth rate of the domestic economy were the key factors for the predicament that Chinese press industry is experiencing (Zhao, 2015). However, the industry tends to ascribe the dramatic revenue decline to the prosperity of new media (cf. Cao, 2010; Zhou, 2015).
Fujian’s case indicates that new media outlets tend to be ‘domesticated’ in terms of converging news production. Firstly, a multilevel censorship system has been established, thereby ensuring that the new media content is under supervision. Secondly, new media outlets are subject to a bureaucratic style of management with low decision-making efficiency.
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.
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.
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 insistence of local journalists to maintain professional boundaries results from the ideology of professionalism that has permeated throughout China’s journalism education and practice since the reform and opening-up policy. Such insistence also manifests the responsive identification of these journalists under the context in which the journalistic profession is increasingly declining (Donsbach, 2010).
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).
Zuìjìn yóu Xiàwēiyí Dàxué Chūbǎnshè chūbǎn de “ABC Hàn-Yīng Yànyǔ Cídiǎn” bāohán le yuē 4000 duō tiáo Hànyǔ yànyǔ, gēnjù Hànyǔ Pīnyīn zhuǎnlù hé Hànzì (biāozhǔn jiǎntǐ), ànzhào yànyǔ shǒu cí de zìmǔ shùnxù páiliè, fùdài de Yīngwén shūmiàn zhíyì (rú bìyào yě huì cǎiyòng yìyì). Qítā nèiróng bāohán: jiǎnyào yòngfǎ zhùshì, láiyuán, bìngxíng biǎodá, cānzhào yǐnyòng yǐjí yìngyòng shílì. Yànyǔ shì yóu yī ge guānjiàncí (Zhōng-Yīngwén) suǒyǐn zēngbǔ de, tǐxiàn zài suǒyǒu shèjí de cítiáo hé huàtí li. Biānzhě duì zhèxiē yànyǔ zài chuántǒng yǔ dāngdài Zhōngguó li de dìngyì, jiégòu, yòngtú hé lìshǐ jìnxíng le xuéshù jièshào, lièchū le wénxiàn jí hé xiāngguān yànyǔ de xuéshù yánjiū.
* This article is part of a book project examining the impact of media commercialization on news content and public opinion in China, tentatively titled Propaganda for Sale. For fruitful research collaboration I would like to thank Iain Johnston, Shen Mingming and the members of the Research Center for Contemporary China. I am also grateful for financial support provided by the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. Many thanks as well to the participants of the Chinese politics workshop at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for helpful comments and to Wang Mingde for research assistance.
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.
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.