Newspapers and News Portals

(China Youth Daily via Boxun)  The Relationship Between Newspapers and Websites In The Eyes Of A Website Editor.  April 11, 2006.

(in translation)

I had worked at a certain Internet portal website for three years.  I am no longer working there now.

I used to work in the international/national news department.  Within this department, each person is responsible for updating more than 50 news items per day.  In total, the department updates about 400 to 500 news items per day.  Within our website's newspaper databank, thousands of news articles are sent in everyday by our partnering newspapers.  The website editors select a few hundred for our users to read.

We would divide the media in the country into several groups according to region.  Each editor is responsible for one group (such as a collection of several provinces or cities).  Then they spend all day reading those regional daily and evening newspapers and local websites.  I was responsible for ten provinces and cities.  I read more than ten newspapers per day and I went to more than ten websites a day.  I tried to understand the major events happening in those places and then I chose the news items to report.

Certain well-known media (such as Southern Weekend and Lifeweek) cooperate closely with us.  These media will send us electronic mail each week.  If other media have good articles, they will also send them over by email and specifically ask us to publish them.  If the news is an exclusive, some newspapers will be more careful and specifically ask us to publish it after 3am so that the news goes out at the same time as their print edition.  This also prevents their competitor from stealing the thunder.  But some newspapers does not care when the items appear on the Internet.

Most of our articles come from media which have contracts with our website.  As for those media without contracts, sometimes they may refer especially good articles but we will insist on authorization to re-publish before we do so.

Within our website, the Media Development Department is responsible for developing cooperative relationships with other media.  Based upon what I know, our website may have to pay for news from the more influential media.  We may not be paying the media that have less influence.  Since our website is very influential, the reporters or companies for any article that we publish will be quite delighted.  Anyway, it is an honor to be selected by our website as the headline news item.

Our website defines itself as being the "largest Internet news agency."  We wanted to become a "platform for combining Internet information."  I felt that we were in a good position to accomplish this.

First, we are able to get the news out quickly . We have special people assigned to monitor CNN, Reuters, AFP and other overseas news organizations.  If there are suddenly breaking incidents, we can get the news out immediately.

Next, we are good at editorial combinations.  On the same incident, we see what this or that media organization is saying and then we give a very full picture of everything combined.

Thirdly, we are very powerful in follow-up reports.  For a single news event, it is very difficult for a single media organization to follow up.  But our website monitors what is happening at many media organizations.  If this media organization does not follow through, we will follow through with some other media organization's work.  Basically, we are able to continue coverage of what happens afterwards.  This is a strength that is not available in other media.

Although our website does not have the ability to gather our own news, we can use our photographs and write our own reports with respect to entertainment, sports and financial news.  We cannot use words such as "according to our website's reporter" or "directly broadcast by our website."  But I feel that even if the website has the full power to gather all the news by itself, it may not want to do so because the costs would have been tremendous.

[Note: This report was narrated by a former Internet portal editor and edited by Ye Tieqiao (叶铁桥)]

Relevant link: The Winter of Chinese Print Media