Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hooray for Hacks

Today China is celebrating Journalism Day.

Some state-owned media took time to recognize the day with rhetorical speeches about the profession and senior editors passing down pearls of wisdom to cub reporters.

What these media outlets should be doing is pay their reporters more. If they were, then these journalists wouldn't be so easily swayed by hongbao, or red envelopes that many companies routinely give to these money-starved hacks. Some envelopes contain from between 200RMB to several thousand, depending on the industry sector.

If they got a significant pay raise then we wouldn't be reading stories that read like press releases in the paper.

Of course they also need lessons in critical thinking, but then that would be ambitious.

On the other end of the scale, foreign journalists in China must be allowed to report on whatever they hear or see.

While on paper the government promises these overseas reporters can practically go wherever they want in the country, several have reported goons following them or throwing them into black cars with tinted windows, questioning and then releasing them in the middle of nowhere.

And in many of these personal accounts, the reporters mention several times that the cars that followed them or they were forced into were black Audis.

Do the branding executives at Audi realize these stories are giving their car a bad name?

1 comment:

ks said...

china is still a totalitarian country, with recent economic development and opening up to the west a lot of freedom have been granted to the people. the western media have to respect the law and order of their host country. they should gather and report facts in a non-judgmental manner. this is a basic ethical requirement of journalism. but unfortunately a lot of them do otherwise. this misbehavior of foreign journalists posts a percieved threat of national security and mistaken as subversive activity. they have no one to blame except themselves.