Chinese state media goes for makeover to outwit social media
Beijing: Under pressure from the burgeoning social media, especially Twitter-like microblogging site Sina Weibo, state media in China says it will go for a makeover with "short, solid and fresh" news stories to retain its influence on the vast multitude of educated Chinese.
"Chinese state media have looked to improve their reporting style in pursuit of 'short, solid and fresh' news stories, in an attempt to reject bureaucracy, formalism and extravagance," a report by the official news agency Xinhua said Monday.
The change comes with the advent of new leadership of the Communist Party headed by Xi Jinping, whose first directive to the Party officials and bureaucrats was to cut short the long speeches and do away with the red carpet banquets to win back people's confidence.
To start with Xinhua, the backbone of the country's media dolling out hundreds of reports everyday said it has cut the length of some of its stories.
Official television CCTV too is changing, according to the report.
The changes of the media apparently were in tune with new rules to the Party leaders that they should improve their work styles by rejecting extravagance and empty talk.
The regulations specify that "there should be less news reporting on the attendance by (25 member) Political Bureau members to meetings and activities, and such reports shall depend on work needs, news value and social effects," said the report.
The changes in the official media are apparently are spearheaded by Liu Yunshan, the 61-year-old official media journalist turned head of the Publicity Department of ruling Communist Party who made to the seven member all powerful Standing Committee headed by Xi which rules the country.
Summing up the reasons that prompted to "changes" in the official media Xinhua quoted Yan Ting, a news writer in Beijing as saying that "the stories and newspaper lay-out of some media organisations are often questioned, lambasted or even ridiculed by Internet users, which made me convinced that the reporting style has become a matter of life-and-death to today's media."
Also the official media, which has complete monopoly in China is coming under heavy pressure by Sina Weibo, the Chinese twitter which has over 300 million subscribers.
What started as a social media it now turned out to be a major news outlet for Chinese educated middle classes.
Despite tightening of controls, Weibo continued to be major news window as many of the recent scandals including news breaks like videos of an official in compromising position with his mistress, another bureaucrat wearing expensive watches and several other scandals which warranted immediate action by the government.