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Assessing Media Exemplars and Shifting Journalistic Paradigms: A Survey Study of Chinas Journalists
Unformatted Document Text:  8 circulation, and strongest impact.” 5 It has a clear liberal orientation, known for its sharp and critical investigative reporting on official corruptions and social ills. It is widely regarded by journalists and journalism students as the nation’s most liberal paper, even “the only paper of conscience,” as a journalist commented. Over the years, the paper has been subjected to several crackdowns by the propaganda apparatchik in Beijing. This tension has been played out very publicly and has become a barometer of the Party’s approach to media control. Any change in the paper, from its layouts to its top editorial personnel, is closely watched and extensively discussed among journalists. 6 In the mean time, the paper also enjoys a market success. In 1999, it had a circulation of 1.3 million, more than 70% of that was from outside of Guangdong province. In 2001, its advertising revenue was reported to be more than 9.3 million yuan (US$1.12 million) and was ranked the 87 th of all media outlets in the country. 7 Clearly, these two papers represent different kinds of innovative media that have emerged in China’s reforms. Their different trajectories of reaching market success and becoming distinct models to be imitated and admired suggest that they are exemplars of competing paradigms. If so, we will expect to find evidence in support of the following hypothesis: 5 This is the paper’s advertising slogan. However, this characterization is never disputed by journalists from other media organizations, suggesting at least some degree of acceptance of the claim. 6 Clear evidence of Southern Weekend’s status is that on March 22 of this year, the paper was delayed in its delivery to newsstands in major cities. It caused an immediate flurry of activities on the electronic bulletin boards (BBS) of MediaChina.net that are frequented by journalists and journalist students. The flurry even continued until now. At the time of writing, new posts continued to appear on the BBS. The discussion focused on the Party’s crackdown on the paper, sadness over the restriction over press freedom in China, and suggestions on how the paper could to be more tactical in the future to circumvent the Party control. 7 “Top 100 advertising media in 2001 in China.” Retrieved from http://chinese.mediachina.net/ 2001zgggph1.jsp?m_id=2381&show=6 on July 30 th , 2002, (in Chinese).

Authors: Pan, Zhongdang. and Chan, Joseph Man.
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8
circulation, and strongest impact.”
5
It has a clear liberal orientation, known for its sharp
and critical investigative reporting on official corruptions and social ills. It is widely
regarded by journalists and journalism students as the nation’s most liberal paper, even
“the only paper of conscience,” as a journalist commented. Over the years, the paper has
been subjected to several crackdowns by the propaganda apparatchik in Beijing. This
tension has been played out very publicly and has become a barometer of the Party’s
approach to media control. Any change in the paper, from its layouts to its top editorial
personnel, is closely watched and extensively discussed among journalists.
6
In the mean
time, the paper also enjoys a market success. In 1999, it had a circulation of 1.3 million,
more than 70% of that was from outside of Guangdong province. In 2001, its advertising
revenue was reported to be more than 9.3 million yuan (US$1.12 million) and was ranked
the 87
th
of all media outlets in the country.
7
Clearly, these two papers represent different kinds of innovative media that have
emerged in China’s reforms. Their different trajectories of reaching market success and
becoming distinct models to be imitated and admired suggest that they are exemplars of
competing paradigms. If so, we will expect to find evidence in support of the following
hypothesis:
5
This is the paper’s advertising slogan. However, this characterization is never disputed by journalists
from other media organizations, suggesting at least some degree of acceptance of the claim.
6
Clear evidence of Southern Weekend’s status is that on March 22 of this year, the paper was delayed in its
delivery to newsstands in major cities. It caused an immediate flurry of activities on the electronic bulletin
boards (BBS) of MediaChina.net that are frequented by journalists and journalist students. The flurry even
continued until now. At the time of writing, new posts continued to appear on the BBS. The discussion
focused on the Party’s crackdown on the paper, sadness over the restriction over press freedom in China,
and suggestions on how the paper could to be more tactical in the future to circumvent the Party control.
7
“Top 100 advertising media in 2001 in China.” Retrieved from
http://chinese.mediachina.net/
2001zgggph1.jsp?m_id=2381&show=6
on July 30
th
, 2002, (in Chinese).


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