Influencing Foreign Correspondents

Okay, this is the part where I impart the secrets about how to influence the foreign correspondents in China to carry out one's own personal agenda.  This comes from my personal experience of many years of successful manipulating them to do my biding.  You too can manipulate them as well.  You have no idea how easy it is.  

All you have to do is remember:


If you forget Rule #1, then you are stupid!!!

Foreign correspondents do not come to a website such as EastSouthWestNorth and just copy-and-paste.  Anyone who does that will probably be dismissed by their employers very quickly.

It is more appropriate to think of EastSouthWestNorth as a tipster calling up the newspaper hotline.  The important thing to note is that EastSouthWestNorth is not a source itself.  After all, a Hong Kong-based blogger cannot have first-hand knowledge of all the latest exciting developments all across China.  For a full story, a foreign correspondent still needs to establish and verify the facts (for example, having two or more "independent sources") as well as decide whether the story is newsworthy for his/her readers.

Let us look at the two most recent examples of 'big-time' news stories in which EastSouthWestNorth was among the first English-language websites to cover them and before any foreign correspondents did so.  This may create the impression that EastSouthWestNorth created, promoted and fulfilled the agenda.  But what is the reality?

The first case is the Shanghai sex blogger Chinabounder.  The exact sequence of events is as follows:

At this point, what do you think a foreign correspondents does?  Copy-and-paste/paraphrase in order to become the first to break the news?  NO WAY!  Here are some of the things that could and should be done:

Please go back and re-read these steps -- EastSouthWestNorth is not a source of anything.  You may ask that blogger for an 'expert' opinion (and he does not consider himself an expert in such matters), but he cannot verify any of the facts for you.  EastSouthWestNorth was just a hotline tipster.  Everything else is up to the foreign correspondent doing due diligence.

The second case is FoxConn versus China Business News (aka First Financial Daily).  From August 26, EastSouthWestNorth began a series of blog posts on the developments in the case as well as forum/blog commentaries.  

I may have insisted that this story was important, but why would a foreign correspondent take my word for either the facts or the importance?  Here are some things that a foreign correspondent could and should do:

Please go back and re-read these steps -- EastSouthWestNorth is not a source for anything.  It only served the function as a hotline tipster.  Everything else was up to the foreign correspondent doing due diligence.

So here is the trick to influencing foreign correspondents.  Remember:


If you are going to influence them to write about a specific case, you do your own due diligence first.  You make sure that you were not being conned.  Then you present all that you already know.  You can try to bully the foreign correspondents, cajole them, harangue them or shame them.  But it does not really matter.  It won't work.  In the final analysis, your presentation must stand on its own merits with respect to the facts and whether they can be verified (as in "two or more independent sources") as well as the newsworthiness to the anticipated audiences.

The other dimension to the situation is that not all tipsters calling into a hotline are the same.  Some tipsters are accorded greater respect, because they have proven themselves with their track records and they always provide the details that allow their tips to be easily followed up and confirmed.  That is where you want to be.

Oh, just to be totally redundant, I remind you with:


And if you are ignored, it is not because they are stupid.  More likely, you were stupid by being conned because the information was false or unverifiable, or else it was not newsworthy.  In any case, whining won't get you anywhere.  Instead, you need to figure out where you came up short.