Monday, November 9, 2009

Watching Her Next Move

After months of speculation, Hu Shuli, the editor-in-chief of Caijing magazine has called it quits.

A former reporter and editor of Worker's Daily, Hu is highly respected in journalism circles for her no-nonsense tough personality, but feared by everyone else as her magazine conducted investigative reports on corruption and shady business deals, often resulting in changes in government policy or arrests of officials or tycoons.
Her magazine has been able to do what many state media cannot do -- take risks and give objective reports that are valued for their journalistic integrity.

It is this journalism freedom that Hu tried to guard fiercely, but unfortunately things came to a head at the end of September.

She was reportedly butting heads with Caijing's owner, the Stock Exchange Executive Council (SEEC) trying to secure more editorial freedom, for example, by making sure her journalists were paid well enough that they would not be tempted into accepting hongbao or bribes. She also apparently didn't want advertising to interfere too much in editorial decisions.

Things didn't seem to be working out and in early October, the magazine's general manager Daphne Wu Chuanhui and nearly 70 staff -- more than two-thirds of the business department resigned en masse. There were rumours that Wu would be helping Hu set up a new magazine.

Hu was left behind to continue her fight with the SEEC in the hopes of salvaging the situation, but it looks like she has lost the battle for now.

There were more reports that Hu had accepted a position at the School of Communication and Design at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou.

However, it is more likely that Hu is going to start a new magazine called Caixin, as her managing editor Wang Shuo also quit today.

While it would be fantastic for eager journalism students to attend a class taught by Hu, just watching her latest moves is a lesson in itself in steely determination and proof she has the energy to fight another day.

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