Roundup: What They've Talked About
In 2019, Telum Media interviewed journalists who report on China from a variety of perspectives ranging from lifestyle, arts, fashion and society to business and technology. We are collecting them up to give a quick glimpse into journalists' insights on industries, policies, the China market, and journalism itself.
Arts and Fashion
Pooky Lee, previously the Group Fashion Curation Project Director at Huasheng Media, turned his energy into his studio ExhibitingFashion while planning features for various media organisations. In his view, writing and curation are complementary in presenting a broader narrative in the cultural, social and human context.
"Good media should not only produce content of good quality but also understand how to deliver it to a target audience... I wish to work more on exhibitions, lectures, open classes and other public activities, as well as non-traditional forms of in-depth reports, with a view to regain public attention on fashion and cultural subjects."
Art Market Journal was launched in English at the beginning of this year and has become a bilingual media in Shanghai that focuses on Chinese art events. Shana Wu, who has jumped from "outside the circle" to "inside the industry" as a Project Director, explained the relationships between art events, participants and their cultural foundation when covering art events.
"People, events and causes are the basic elements of the report, and they exist in a linked, relatively complete system. Of course, the stories would emphasise different things in different contexts, forcing the media to find the most valuable entrance to draw a broader picture of the cultural scene."
Ian Kuo moved from Tapei to Beijing earlier this year, and joined Huasheng Media as its Digital Content Operations and Watches and Jewellery Director. He sees a new trend of media organisations expanding into non-media-related business, especially within the media group he works for.
“Huasheng has already gone through a restructuring led by our group leaders. In the future, the group will be undertaking a lot of non-media-related business…Soon, we will also organise a number of offline events with the WSJ. Magazine China, including watches networking events, watches exhibitions, Persons of the Year event…and lectures.”
Veteran journalist Queennie Yang returned to The Business of China (BoF) as its China Editorial Director heading up the editorial teams in London and Shanghai. The new position not only brings more challenges to Queennie, but also gives BoF more foresight into the Chinese fashion market.
"In addition to the emerging design power, Shanghai Fashion Week has built an entire fashion business eco-system, making it the largest ordering season in Asia. Relying on China's vast hinterland, this advantage is unparalleled."
Tiffany Ap, the China Bureau Chief of Women’s Wear Daily, has been covering China’s fashion industry for a professional readership since 2016. As a long-time industry observer, she is excited by the sparks of creativity in a place known to be “The World’s Factory”.
“I think the most important trend we're seeing out of China is its move from being a manufacturing powerhouse to a leading consumer market but even beyond that to becoming a creative hotbed. Right now, I think we're in the nascent stages of seeing its creative class rise with a totally distinct point of view.”
Anqi Xu, a US-based art editor of Huasheng Media, has been working on arts for years. She thinks she is in one of the most fascinating fields of human civilisation.
"Working towards the public engagement with art has long been my personal agenda. I would describe the art characteristics of Paris as elegant and agile, those of London as weighty and edgy, those of New York as bold and consistent, and those of San Francisco as sun-basked as well as natural."
Founded 15 years ago, watch magazine Chronos China has gone through the ups and downs of traditional media. In an environment where digital prevails, Editor-in-Chief Ding Zhixiang is still upholding the value of print for luxury publications.
“We will operate on digital platforms, that’s for sure – but we are not taking it as our core value. Our core value lies in the print edition. For a luxury publication, you cannot forgo print if you want to reach the core consumers, those who are opinion leaders among their peers.”
After nearly a decade, Jonathan Cheng returned to Greater China, landing his role as the China Bureau Chief at The Wall Street Journal. He is now exploring Beijing, a city new to him.
"I’ve always felt that history and journalism are one and the same. History is the lens through which we see the things that are happening now, whether we’re talking about our own personal history and experiences over the past decade or two or three, or whether we’re talking about centuries and dynasties. This is also probably true to some degree everywhere, but in Asia, it feels like history is very much present in everything that we cover; it’s impossible to understand how Japan relates to Korea, or China with the West, unless you have a sense of the history."
Li Meiling, a former Chief Writer and News Director at jiemian.com in New York, launched Cosmopolitan Media, hoping to influence and motivate people who are not only concerned with their own interests but also willing to take responsibility for global dilemmas.
"The 'citizens of the world' are not defined by geography. They are well-educated, curious about the world and new things, willing to explore and try, and financially capable.They not only pay attention to housing prices and stock markets, but also to cultural, political and economic issues far away from other continents; they want to know the latest business models and technological innovations in the US, as well as the development of Chinese enterprises in the US; they not only want to know a piece of news but are more eager to understand the depth of interpretation and social background behind the scene."
David Paulk is the Head of News at Sixth Tone, the sister publication of The Paper, and focuses on general news and social affairs. He mentioned the principles of reporting.
"Our mission is to tell human-centric stories - and whether it’s a single mom driving her daughter around in the back of her taxi because she can’t afford child care, or a young boxer coping with her best friend’s ascent to the sport’s elite tier, this guiding principle is never far from our minds."
Business and Tech
TechNode's Editor-in-Chief John Artman foresaw key issues in China's tech sector that TechNode would be keeping an eye on over this year.
"We see AI and blockchain as the two most important technical areas while the shift to enterprise is a significant strategic shift for many companies that were built on serving consumers; as the economy and the growth in domestic consumption slows, the next significant growth opportunity is creating services and products to make businesses more efficient."
After leaving his role as the Deputy Editor of Tencent Finance, Bao Jianguang started a media platform IPO Zao Zhi Dao and content entrepreneurship on financial reporting.
"Financial content is relatively weak, which at the same time provides opportunities for people who care about quality of content. For example, in the process of a company from start-up, financing to listing, to becoming a public company and a giant company, the supply of high-quality financial content that can accompany the growth of a company is very scarce."
Kevin Zhou has founded the local English-language tech media Pandaily in Beijing years ago before the China-US trade war started to influence the news agenda on tech coverage.
"Politics, economy and international relations would all be factors resulting in different trends of the market itself as well as its coverage. With the influence of the trade war between China and the US, a simple business activity might become political affairs. If journalists are not sensitive enough to think comprehensively and deeply, the reports would be narrow and incomplete. Apart from these, culture and history are also key information to understand background of some tech scenes."
Thomas Luo, Founder of PingWest, believes that a good report must have a conflict topic, the richness of interviews (good interviews and cross-sources), the consistent values of the brand, and be enlightening. He also thinks highly of the market in Southeast Asia.
"Southeast Asia has a huge population base, a stage spanning from 3G to 4G and even 5G, a demand for transition from PC-side Internet to mobile Internet, and a plan to strengthen support in the field of scientific and technological innovation."
Yang Yi, a former Senior Editor at Yicai, co-founded the podcast start-up JustPod in China, where the podcasting industry is nascent but growing. In discussing the vision and plans of his brainchild, he offered his own take on what podcasts in China can do to reach a wider audience.
“The whole issue boils down to whether podcasts can break away from elitism. They need to cover a wider range of topics and trying out different formats, instead of concentrating on culture-related topics and other professional fields. Only by that can they attract the attention of listeners who have a plethora of audio entertainment options to choose from.”