Interesting observations, as always, from Mark MacKinnon, East Asia correspondent of The Globe and Mail:
These are unsettling times to be a journalist. I spent part of my Sunday afternoon watching “Page One,” a movie documenting the funereal mood inside The New York Times newsroom, while highlighting the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing “Western” media in general.
Then on Monday, this “tweet” from a China-based acquaintance travelling in Italy floated up my computer screen: “China Daily is the only English-language paper available at my hotel in Milan,” wrote Jeremy Webb, a well-known public relations consultant and blogger.
Fourteen words that capture the seismic shift underway in the global media scene, one with the potential to change mainstream thinking – and challenge the value system – of the world we live in. As Western newspapers and broadcasters close bureaus, cut staff and erect paywalls, the emerging media companies owned by the Communist Party of China, the Emir of Qatar and Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin continue to expand their influence and reach.
I first noticed it a few years ago while I was based in the Middle East. English-language newspapers there started relying less on reports from the proven likes of the Associated Press and Reuters, a decision presumably motivated by cost. In their place were (cheaper) English-language stories from the Xinhua newswire, articles that subtly or unsubtly inserted the Communist Party’s take on global events into an otherwise anodyne news story.
Now the China Daily – the voice of official Beijing, which reached only the trickle of Westerners who came to China when it launched in 1981 – has also gone global, doing so at times with the help of cash-strapped Western media brands like The Globe and Mail (which in 2010 printed a co-produced special section marking the 40th anniversary of Canada-China relations) and the Washington Post (which publishes a “paid supplement” called ChinaWatch that is entirely produced by China Daily staff ). Newspapers across Asia frequently carry something called the “China Daily Asia Weekly” inside their pages. The China Daily, which also offers US, European and Hong Kong editions, is free, hiring, and there’s no paywall anywhere on its websites.[Read full article here]