Journalism and the Press

Judy Polumbaum

in Chinese Studies

ISBN: 9780199920082
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
Journalism and the Press

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  • East Asian Studies
  • Asian History
  • East Asian Philosophy
  • East Asian Religions


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China’s news media have hybrid origins with political and intellectual antecedents in imperial court circulars and literati tradition; the missionary press of the 19th century; the vernacular culture movement of the early 20th century; and idiosyncratic adaptations of foreign models, methods, and approaches. The structure and practices of Chinese journalism after the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 emerged from the exigencies of decades of war, indigenous variations on the role Marxist-Leninist theory assigned to the press, and the revolutionary experiences and propaganda objectives of the Chinese Communist leadership. China’s international reengagement from the 1970s on and the country’s dramatic economic reorientation in the post-Mao period opened the way for significant changes in media, as in every other social institution, including a proliferation of outlets, greater specialization and diversity of content, major reform and expansion in the training of journalists, and new latitude for investigative reporting. As government subsidies shrank and advertising grew, so too did tensions among the media’s multiple obligations as promoter of official propaganda, commercial enterprise dependent on audience appeal, and instrument of civic conscience. Renewed economic experimentation from the 1990s on brought changes to financing, including the formation of media groups, mixed state-private ownership configurations, raising of capital through stock offerings, and growing opportunities (de facto if not always de jure) for foreign investment. The advent of digital media technologies introduced further complexities, creating new channels for information and expression while triggering new mechanisms of control.

Article.  10965 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Studies ; Asian History ; East Asian Philosophy ; East Asian Religions

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