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Assessing Media Exemplars and Shifting Journalistic Paradigms: A Survey Study of China’s Journalists
Unformatted Document Text:  34 their evaluations of the two emergent innovative media during the reforms, the Southern Weekend and Xinmin Evening. While the former is seen aligned with elite foreign media, the latter is viewed a variant of Party organ media. Journalists’ assessments of them and the other media are clearly configured along two dimensions and such configuration is mostly invariant across three cohorts of journalism students and recent graduates. This configuration, its broad sharing across different journalist cohorts, and the relationships between media exemplar assessments and role beliefs and desired training, all suggest that there are two competing journalistic paradigms in China: professional journalism and Party journalism. The implicit assumption in this study is that such empirical findings would not have observed before China’s media reforms. Built upon this assumption is a set of claims on changes. An initial imperative for the changes observed here must come from within the Party-media system (Lee, 1994; Pan, 2000b; Zhao, 1998). Part of the empirical patterns reported in this study is directly tied to systemic changes in China’s media reforms. Given that China is a transitional society, both competing paradigms exist and play significant roles in shaping China’s journalism media operations (Lee, 2000). A complete paradigm shift would only follow a fundamental power restructuring (Chan and Lee, 1991). However, in most cases, paradigm shift in the social world is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. For example, the transition from partisan journalism to journalistic professionalism in the United States closely paralleled the century-long evolution of the market and other social conditions (Schudson, 1978). The similar mutual embeddedness of continuity and discontinuity in shifting journalistic paradigms is taking place in contemporary China, where the economic reforms have

Authors: Pan, Zhongdang. and Chan, Joseph Man.
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34
their evaluations of the two emergent innovative media during the reforms, the Southern
Weekend and Xinmin Evening. While the former is seen aligned with elite foreign media,
the latter is viewed a variant of Party organ media. Journalists’ assessments of them and
the other media are clearly configured along two dimensions and such configuration is
mostly invariant across three cohorts of journalism students and recent graduates. This
configuration, its broad sharing across different journalist cohorts, and the relationships
between media exemplar assessments and role beliefs and desired training, all suggest
that there are two competing journalistic paradigms in China: professional journalism and
Party journalism.
The implicit assumption in this study is that such empirical findings would not
have observed before China’s media reforms. Built upon this assumption is a set of
claims on changes. An initial imperative for the changes observed here must come from
within the Party-media system (Lee, 1994; Pan, 2000b; Zhao, 1998). Part of the
empirical patterns reported in this study is directly tied to systemic changes in China’s
media reforms. Given that China is a transitional society, both competing paradigms
exist and play significant roles in shaping China’s journalism media operations (Lee,
2000). A complete paradigm shift would only follow a fundamental power restructuring
(Chan and Lee, 1991). However, in most cases, paradigm shift in the social world is
evolutionary rather than revolutionary. For example, the transition from partisan
journalism to journalistic professionalism in the United States closely paralleled the
century-long evolution of the market and other social conditions (Schudson, 1978). The
similar mutual embeddedness of continuity and discontinuity in shifting journalistic
paradigms is taking place in contemporary China, where the economic reforms have


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