Next generation of new media?
There was a meeting between a VP of Sohu and our team on Tuesday. The topic of that meeting is irrelevant to this piece, whereas something else mentioned by the VP made me to think about the future of journalism in China.
As a journalism graduate, I constantly think of the current situation of news media in China. It is undeniably true that the communism party has basically the strongest media resources for their propaganda, while there is also an unstoppable force in this country which I believe has this power to make things right.
In terms of traditional news industries, the whole oriental world has a different set of function method: Japan could be argued as the most centralised country as they have this hierarchical bureaucracy called Kisha Club, restricting sources to journalist either domestically or internationally; China, infamous of its’ censorship on news, has be greatly criticised for hiding information on its own people. But if you see beyond the surface, Herman and Chomsky’s theory still justifies them perfectly.
Looking forward, some would assume this game changing force to be new media, while the fact is, new media does opened up the censorship upon information to a degree, but the process is not only painful, but also being flooded with redundant information. Take Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) as an example, major moves like manipulating the timeline, adding customised commercials to it, only led to consequences that users pulling themselves out from this platform. Like it or not, new alternatives are out there.
Back to that meeting, the VP who former worked in media industries mentioned a way that I couldn’t agree more. Journalists, within the range of China, regard themselves as saints, new media, especially so-called self-media, should look up to them, as they are the only group that has been trained properly. But the new idea is this. Regardless of how poorly self-media has been trained, there are a great deal of them. One piece of article can not possibly reveal the truth, but what about a hundred, from different angles with different perspectives?
That is the idea. We reckon that one has the right to speak for himself/herself, and we all know that there is no such thing as unbiased information. We see things based on our own knowledge, but if a certain matter has been covered from every possible way, there is a picture, a detailed one.
Is it possible that self-media could be the next generation of new media? We will see.