China Daily turns 30, gears for new media challenges
May 31, 2011 (China Daily - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ANN) -- More than 800 people gathered at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday at a forum to celebrate the 30-year journey of China Daily from an eight-page black/white newspaper to a global media group with 12 publications and audiences in Asia, Europe and North America.
From retired journalists in their 80s, heads of major news organizations to dignitaries from Party and government departments, the participants also marked the national English language newspaper's new voyage of development into a leading international multimedia group.
"China Daily -- as an important medium of China's international communication -- has become the window for China to know the world and for the world to understand China," Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), wrote in his congratulatory letter.
"While highlighting China's determination for peaceful development, China Daily needs to help promote China's vision of a harmonious world with long-lasting peace and shared prosperity," Li added in his letter, which was read at the Tuesday's event.
Expectations from leaders of the Party and government departments focused more on the challenges China Daily must face as the advances in information technology has created multiple platforms and new media for news delivery.
"In the face of serious competition in the media and increased audience selectivity, China Daily needs to come up with more innovative content and formats to maintain its competitive edge and win audiences," Liu Yunshan, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said in his keynote speech at the forum.
"In keeping up with advances in information technology, China Daily needs to transform its traditional mode of communication with latest technologies and actively promote new media and provide services using the Internet and mobile devices," said Liu, who is also head of the CPC Central Committee's Publicity Department.
He also highlighted the paper's responsibility to increase world's understanding of China and build a high-quality team of professionals to guarantee better international communication.
In his address to the forum, Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, highlighted the necessity "to reduce international misunderstanding and misconception over China's rise".
"China Daily needs to capture the latest trends at home and abroad and international public opinion, and sharpen its coverage of domestic and global events of great importance," Wang said.
Retracing the journey China Daily has covered since its first official issue rolled off the presses on June 1, 1981, Zhu Ling, China Daily's Editor-in-Chief, not only summarized the paper's past achievements but also emphasized that the celebration of China Daily 30th birthday marks "a starting point" for the new endeavor to build it into a "top-notch international all-media group" .
China Daily "must recognize the increasing integration of the Internet and the (traditional) media, speed up its own strategic transformation and narrow its development gap with leading international news media," Zhu said.
China Daily is setting off to build a comprehensive network of news and information gathering, production and delivery, which is able to reach the whole world via all media channels and provide interaction and sharing with the audience, Zhu said.
China Daily must be able to keep in steps with the advances of information technology and remain as a pioneer in communicating via the new media, Zhu said.
To accomplish the goals, China Daily will work to train professionals not only with expertise but also with ability to accomplish multiple jobs from writing, taking photos to shooting videos, Zhu said.
Along with the official keynote speeches were personal reflections.
Bill Gaspard, China Daily's design director and one of the more than 70 expat journalists at the paper, told of the brief panic he had had when he first arrived and the familiarity he soon found himself in when he entered the news room.
"My first day at work I spoke with a top editor about the mission of China Daily -- to bring the story of China to the world and to bring the world's story to China," Gaspard recalled. "He spoke about how important it was -- in such a complex, fast-moving world -- to break down stereotypes, dissipate the mistrust between people and to promote mutual understanding.
"That mission resonates with us as we push to improve the professional standards of China Daily. And those standards have improved substantially along with the reach of the paper," Gaspard said.
"Birthdays are for wishes and mine for China Daily is that it continues to reach for new heights and help to bridge the divide between our view of the past and our understanding of the future," he said.
A representative of younger generation journalist, Tan Yingzi, China Daily's chief Washington correspondent, shared her experience as the second China Daily overseas correspondent in the US.
Wu Jingshu, 85 and a retired editor, recalled the days when he worked on the trial issues of 4-page broadsheet.
One day, he heard a foreign businessman complain that it took longer to get a telephone call through from Jianguo Hotel to Beijing Hotel than covering the distance by a taxi. With the complaint, Wu visited the Beijing Telecommunications Bureau and published his report in China Daily.
The "little story" started China's endeavor to modernize its telecommunications network, Wu said.
"Old soldiers never die," Liu Yunshan repeated Wu's remark towards the end of his speech, and younger journalists already show promise, as China Daily has opened up a bigger stage to make its accomplishment
Congratulatory messages, meanwhile, have poured in from the world wide.
"It is my pleasure to congratulate China Daily on its achievements over the three decades as China's official English-language newspaper -- a significant milestone," Julia Gillard, prime minister of Australia, wrote.
"China Daily helps provide very important perspective in a very accessible, timely way," Thomas Curley, president and CEO of the Associated Press, said in his message.
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