China’s Latest Industrial Coup? Journalism


While the West slashes newsroom budgets, the Chinese Communist Party’s state-run news factory, the Xinhua News Agency, is growing like gangbusters. In the past year, Xinhua has spent billions launching a 24-hour English-language news station and populating a skyscraper in Times Square, with plans for 120 to 200 overseas bureaus and 6,000 additional journalists. Taking a page from its success in cheap electronics and questionable seafood, China plans to commoditize the news, but, you know, not like all the news. According to Xinhua, Tiananmen Square is a myth and the Dalai Lama’s a conspiracy theorist. When the Pentagon published a report on China’s military, Xinhua called it “‘unprofessional,’ guilty of ambiguities and inconsistencies.” Sensitive news, like last summer’s Uighur riots, is gathered and sent only to officials. But things get more fair-and-balanced once China’s not in the headline. As a wire service, Xinhua has a lower price tag than the Associated Press, Reuters, or AFP. Recent deals with other state-run outlets make it the leading source for news in Africa and much of Asia, with a strong hold in the Middle East.

All the Propaganda That’s Fit to Print [Newsweek via Mediabistro]