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).
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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’.
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.
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.