Tag Archives: nieman lab

Journalism in China is “almost like playing a video game”

Wu Nan, March 29, at Northeastern University

Based on Nieman fellow Wu Nan’s testimony about her work in Chinese journalism, being a reporter in that country has similar appeal as eating fire. Remember, some people like that stuff.

Wu’s work at various sites, including The Wall Street Journal’s Chinese site, gave her insight into the difficulty that nation’s reporters face in reporting every day news, she said to about 50 Northeastern students. She also said the emergence of social media in the area, from Facebook and Twitter knockoffs, has become crucial to the reporting process.

Wu’s roughly 35-minute discussion was kind of insider journalism discussion, but her experience reflected her talent in navigating censorship and disclosure restrictions, something journalists in every state have to face. But she described it as kind of a thrill, suggesting, to me anyway, she was interested in reporting that was challenging.

As China increasingly becomes a more important country, it makes sense to understand the ability of their reporters in covering the national news. On the face of it, it sounds like China embraces citizen journalism because it’s already a backbone of the journalism scene there.

Wu doesn’t mind, though. She thinks Chinese journalism is like a maze in a video game – and a great challenge.

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Non-profit investigative reporting sites do one thing, do it well

Kristen Lombardi at Dan Kennedy's Reinventing the News class, March 22

Investigative reporters are probably seen by accountants and others who stare at spreadsheets as big money losers. It’s not totally unwarranted. A daily newspaper is pretty much in the business of writing daily news, and investigative stories take months, if not years, to report. That means investigative reporters aren’t exactly turning over stories quickly.

Kristen Lombardi works for the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit site started decades ago by an ex-“60 Minutes” reporter who was “frustrated by commericail media and an inability to do deep-digging investigative projects,” she said.

“Much of my work at the center has been what you’d call an investigation hidden in plain sight,” Lombardi said. “It’s not as if these stories weren’t out there for mainsteam reporters to seize upon. Nobody, I think, had the time or resources to deal with them.”

Lombardi, who is a 2011-12 Nieman Foundation fellow, said she came to the center after taking a buyout from the Village Voice. Out of a job, she said she didn’t want to go back to daily assignment reporting and wanted to work at an online publication, seeing that as “being ahead of the curve.”

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Comments: Are we angry over some God-given right or just a nice touch?

When exactly were comments expected at the bottom of every story from a news organization? I have some nostalgia for the days you read something in the paper and then slammed it down in disgust, only giving your opinion to the person next to you. Apparently no one else cares to relive those memories.

There’s no getting around the fact comment sections are better breeding grounds for vicious attacks rather than insightful discussion. That’s the tangle the New Haven Independent got in this month just before shutting off its comments section. The editor, Paul Bass, was fed up with filtering out obscene, ridiculous posts all day. I can’t blame him. Bass hopes to find a way to return to offering comments in the near future, but I think this cooling-off period serves as a reminder to news organizations of every size: There’s no right way to do comments, they all present problems.

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