This week, China Daily got the biggest makeover in its 29-year history. Among the variety of “stunning” changes are a brand new masthead, an incorporation of visual elements using “state-of-the-art” design elements” and a “fine-tuned reporting mix.” Not gone: China Daily’s hilariously awesome headlines.
The redesign is presumed to be a move to stay competitive against the relatively new English-language Global Times, which launched last April. According to the Wall Street Journal:
While the Global Times’ editorial stance leans towards the nationalistic, the tone of the English version is less strident than its Chinese version, and the paper has been developing something of a reputation for fairly insightful stories that don’t simply hew to the Party line and discussing topics such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and Internet censorship.
China has been encouraging its media industry to consolidate and adopt a more market-driven approach that relies less on government funding. China’s foreign-language media serves an important role in the country’s global soft power push, a role that the China Daily appears to have taken to heart.
But just looking at the front page of the new China Daily reveals that, even with its “enriched” content, the heart of the paper remains the same. And thank goodness. China Daily has always been a wealth of both hilarious headlines for world events and off-the-wall zaniness when it comes to daily life articles about China. Our favorites in the last year include such hard hitting reports as “Woman who urinated often told to drink less water” and “Most men ‘don’t wash hands in toilets’.”
James Fallows of the Atlantic’s taken the chance to look back on some of the winners he’s found too, such as this headline: “Happiness abounds as country cheers.” Lovely! As long as we keep on getting gems like that, we’ll continue to be gung ho about China Daily.