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Journalism in the digital age

Transformation and Convergence in China

Written by Yingchao Li

Paper category

Master Thesis






This research explores how to transform China's digital news in the context of media convergence. The research raises the following questions: How does the Chinese journalism industry transform with changes in news production and user consumption in the digital age? Considering the quality of news in China, is there any difference between traditional news and digital news? How does digital journalism affect the working conditions of Chinese journalists? The study uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative design, based on 8 in-depth interviews with Chinese journalists and online consumer questionnaires (n=300). By processing these two different types of empirical data, it can present the reaction of reporters and users to the transformation of digital news. Based on the theoretical framework of media convergence and news quality, the analysis is carried out from three levels: A) the transformation of China's journalism in the process of media convergence; B) the news quality of China's journalism; C) the impact of digital news on the working conditions of journalists. The main results show that digital transformation is under the trend of Chinese media convergence. From the perspective of Chinese users, the consumption of digital news products is accessible, and traditional news is more trustworthy than digital news. From the perspective of Chinese journalists, the production of traditional news has more accurate and authoritative news quality. In the digital age, the work and life of journalists are hectic, and new media workers are under more pressure than journalists in traditional media organizations. The rapid development of the Internet and the rise of the mobile Internet have brought people into digital media transformation. In China, many media are seeking a path of transformation and have launched a series of integration measures. The picture of Chinese news before the digital age Chinese news first appeared in the Tang Dynasty 1, and then unofficial newspapers were produced during the Southern Song Dynasty 2 (Tan, 2012). The definition of news in contemporary Chinese journalism is the reporting of the latest facts (Jiang, 2007). In addition, the formation of Chinese journalism has a relatively special historical background. Modern Chinese journalism originated in an era when the internal pressure of a country’s political power and ideological changes and the external international environment were undergoing tremendous changes (Tan, 2012). The purpose of early Chinese journalists to create modern news was quite different from that of Western newspapers (Tan, 2012). Western journalism has prospered with the development of capitalism (Tan, 2012). Although Western journalism plays an important role in public opinion guidance and government supervision, and is even called the "fourth force", news production, like other tangible products, is a special private product for profit (Tan, 2012 ). Correspondingly, the establishment of China's early journalism was not based on profit considerations (Tan, 2012). Almost all the funds used by journalists to start newspapers in early modern China were used for fundraising (Tan, 2012). In the late Qing Dynasty, officials in Beijing distributed newspapers for free (Tan, 2012). The special historical background determines the special mission of Chinese journalists, which is to use newspapers to inspire the wisdom of the people, guide the people, and save the country (Tan, 2012). In addition, China’s special national conditions also make it difficult to determine whether journalism can become the “fourth force” to supervise society (Tan, 2012). This is very different from the historical background of Western journalism. Although modern Chinese journalism has borrowed the shell of Western journalism, its essence is to serve social current affairs, especially politics, and serve the rise and fall of the country and the people (Tan, 2012). Various speeches and doctrines spread to a wide audience through the media of newspapers and periodicals, setting off a wave of modern Chinese revolution (Tan, 2012). Read Less