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N3Con 2017

THE RISE OF ALIBABA'S MEDIA EMPIRE

MAY 19-21 ISSUE 2

Broadcast boot camp for on-air talent HOW SOUTH KOREAN MEDIA STAMPEDED A PRESIDENT

Google tools for journalists

The official magazine for

NEW • NOW• NEXT

THE BATTLE OVER TRUTH AND FAIRNESS

SOCIAL DISRUPTION Navigating the New Journalism

AND

SPREADING LIES

Fake news threatens to undermine what journalists have strived for. Ethical media must work to clear its name


SCHEDULE MENG WAH COMPLEX THEATER 2 (MAIN HALL)

MENG WAH COMPLEX THEATER 1

MENG WAH COMPLEX THEATER 3

Create your schedule online at

MENG WAH COMPLEX THEATER 4

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2017 8:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Meet the recruiters (Bloomberg Hong Kong Bureau) Registration

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

12:30 - 1:00 p.m.

Opening remarks

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

The battle over truth and fairness

2:00 - 2:15 p.m. 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

Break The fintech dichotomy

A refresher: Very basic statistics for journalists

3:15 - 3:30 p.m. 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.

Finding the signal in the noise

Best practices of livestreaming platforms

Women in media: Is equality a myth?

Google tools for journalists

Break Reporting the news in digital short form

How to negotiate your salary

4:45 - 5:00 p.m.

Break

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Hong Kong handover 20th anniversary

6:00 - 6:10 p.m.

Break

6:10 - 6:40 p.m.

Lightning talks

6:40 - 7:00 p.m.

Closing

7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

VIP opening reception (Bloomberg Hong Kong Bureau, invitation only)

SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Registration

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Coffee and pastries

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Entrepreneurship and the future of media in Asia

10:30 - 10:45 a.m. 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Break The millennial experience

Where to start with 360-degree video (group lecture) Where to start with 360-degree video (hands-on

Lunch

training, limited to 15 participants)

The art of networking Mentoring hour (Eliot Hall Shum Room, to 1 pm)

1:30 - 2:45 p.m.

Asia’s not-so-free press

2:45 - 3:00 p.m.

Break

3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Challenges of expat reporting

Follow the money

Covering the North Korean crisis

Broadcast bootcamp for on-air talent

4:15 - 4:30 p.m. 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Independent filmmaking in the age of disruption

How to nail your next TED Talk

Innovative brand storytelling in Asia-Pacific

Break

5:30 - 5:45 p.m.

Break

5:45 - 6:00 p.m.

Closing

From 7:00 p.m.

Gala dinner (Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong, 2 Lower Albert Rd, Central)

SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017 BLOOMBERG HONG KONG BUREAU (25th Floor, Cheung Kong Center, 2 Queen’s Road Central) 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Mindful leadership through communication mastery, hosted by Arthur Joseph (limited to 20 participants)

11:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Lunch

11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Influence and leadership, hosted by Dr. Ron Brown (limited to 20 participants) Plenary

Panel

Workshop


VENUE MAP

MENG WAH COMPLEX

Chong Yuet Ming Amenities Centre

TRANSPORTATION TO HKU BY BUS

Take either No. 23, 40, 40M from Admiralty outside Pacific Place or No. 4, 7, 91 from Exchange Square at Central. Get off in front Run Run Shaw Building

of the East Gate on Bonham Road or the West Gate in front of Haking Wong Building on Pokfulam Road. BY MTR

HKU Station Exit A2 Elevator Lobby East Gate Bonham Road Entrance

Walk from HKU Station (Exit A2) and take the elevator to the Upper Level of University Street. BY TAXI

Library Building

From Admiralty or Central to Cotton Tree

West Gate Pukfulam Road Entrance

Drive to Robinson Road to Kotewall Road. Turn right onto University Drive.

New.Now.Next Media Conference 2017 is presented by

Angie Lau, AAJA-Asia president

Kinzie, N3Con executive producer EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Oanh Ha, chair Zela Chin

Angie Lau

Taehoon Lee Billy Wong

PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE

Mike Raomanachai, co-chair Wendy Tang, co-chair Jay Hartwell

Jenny Hsu Eunji Kim

Elaine Ramirez, N3 Magazine editor-in-chief

Marian Liu

Haruka Nuga

Carina Lee

Eunji Kim

Yuri Nagano

Mike Raomanachai

Archith Seshadri

SPONSORSHIP COMMITTEE

Chelsea Phua

Angie Lau, chair

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE

Eunice Kim, chair

Carina Lee, web administration co-chair

Taehoon Lee, web administration co-chair

Sean Lim, fellowship director Oanh Ha

LOGISTICS AND SOCIAL EVENTS COMMITTEE

Zela Chin, membership director Billy Wong, awards chair

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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President’s letter

RISING ABOVE FAKE NEWS, EXCESS INFORMATION AND SOCIAL DISRUPTION ‘Navigating the New Journalism’ seeks a path for an industry under attack As we gather journalists from across Asia and the U.S. for AAJA-Asia’s seventh annual

New.Now.Next Media Conference, we face an issue that is undermining the foundations of our profession: What is journalism?

Answers are being demanded from those in the industry and the very people we seek

to inform — our audience. How did we get here? This question didn’t appear overnight, nor can blame be placed on one person or one movement.

Make no mistake: Journalism is under attack. How we respond will determine how we

are regarded in the future.

Here in Asia, the Fourth Estate is populated by state players. For the media consumer,

it is a reminder that the written or spoken word can be delivered through the blurred

bias of the messenger. Even now, the story of Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui, who is facing

arrest after Interpol issued a red notice on him — alerting law enforcement to arrest him pending extradition — for alleged corruption, has been purged from social media on the mainland. But projects like Hong Kong University’s Weiboscope, which tracks censorship on Weibo, pierce the veil.

As journalism defends itself in the debate over what is fake and what is truth, AAJA-

Asia continues to support the professionalism of journalists in the Asia-Pacific region. We must reflect on our journalism individually and as an industry, while continuing to cover and uncover the stories of our day.

That is why this year we tackle “Social Disruption: Navigating the New Journalism.”

We discuss the challenges of leadership and the rise of artificial intelligence in our

business. We continue to build the skills our journalists need to tell stories across multiple platforms. We look at social media and our role in it.

Now more than ever, the journalist’s role in society is being challenged. We must rise

above the chaos by harnessing our strengths, sharpening our skills and remembering our mission as a service to all. In AAJA-Asia spirit,

Angie Lau President

Asia chapter

Asian American Journalists Association

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N3Con 2017 MAY 19-21 ISSUE 2

The official magazine for

NEW • NOW• NEXT

CONTENTS N3CON 2017

FOCUS

PERSPECTIVE

i Conference schedule 1 Venue map 2 President’s letter

25 Asia

44 Murdered with impunity

Rising above fake news, excess information and social disruption

5 Social Disruption: Navigating the New Journalism ‘Navigating the New Journalism’ seeks a path for an industry under attack by misinformation, government stifling and distrust

6 Panels

Journalists struggle with truth and fairness in the digital era, where millennials, fintech and indie filmmakers grow in importance

11 Events

Network and mentoring sessions offer channels to advance your career

12 Interview: Ellana Lee, CNN International Asia Pacific

Social media is exciting, but reporters must use it carefully and preserve the truth

14 Workshops

Tips on today’s digital media, and back-to-the-basics on topics from statistics to networking

17 Gala dinner with Joshua Wong

N3Con 2017 closes with a gala dinner featuring guest speaker Joshua Wong, Hong Kong activist and secretary general of Demosistō

Triumph and turbulence define a year in review

26 China The rise of Alibaba’s media empire

28 Philippines

Fact-checkers can’t keep up with Philippines’ Duterte

29 Malaysia

Fighting the battle for relevance in a digital world

30 China

For journalism in China, a millennial shift

32 India

U.S. media’s Trump challenge delivers a lesson for India

33 South Korea

Korean press still struggles against deep roots of corruption

34 Japan

The sinking of Japan’s bold foray into watchdog journalism

36 Vietnam

Young Vietnamese see an ally in Facebook

37 Thailand

The death of Big Sister Yu and rise of singalong journalism

38 South Korea

The Committee to Protect Journalists is fighting a war that will never be won

46 Shoot, post, repeat

Asia-Pacific readers are hungry for mobile news, and social media is the hook

48 Social echo chamber

No balance necessary when retweeting posts that affirm your beliefs

50 Mid-career crossroads

Journalists facing career disruption have choices to make

52 Interview: Yvonne Leow, AAJA National President Yvonne Leow strives to cultivate a culture of media entrepreneurship

53 Who we are

How AAJA and its Asia chapter have grown into a global force

54 Voice for Korea’s millennials Dotface grows its audience by posting on issues ignored by legacy news

55 Don’t make my mistake

Early bloopers provide key advice for journalism’s next generation

How South Korean media stampeded a president

40 Cambodia

Government looks to Trump in threatening foreign news outlets

41 Hong Kong

COVER STORY 18 Sowing discord and spreading lies

Fake news provides critics with an all-purpose slogan to disparage legitimate journalism

Beijing’s creeping control over Hong Kong media

42 Nepal

Community radio provides penetration that internet cannot

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Magazine The official magazine for

NEW • NOW• NEXT Media Conference

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Elaine Ramirez SPONSORSHIP DIRECTORS

Oanh Ha

Angie Lau DESIGN DIRECTORS

Edmund Ip

Adrian Leung EDITORS

Frances Fernandes Jay Hartwell WRITERS

CONNECT

Arjun Giri

AAJA-Asia

Eunice Kim Eunji Kim

Scott Harris Jane Jia

Jane Kim

Cindy Koh

Carina Lee

Nicole Pabello Peter Sabine

E: aajaasia@gmail.com

W: aaja.org/chapters/asia F: fb.com/aajaasia T: @aajaasia N3Con

W: n3con.com

F: fb.com/n3conference

Andrew Salmon Jess Turner

Shen Yiqian Jane Zhang

ILLUSTRATORS

Hannah Dormido Gavin Huang Sujin Kim

COPY EDITOR

Aya Lowe SUPPORT ISSUE 2

Kinzie

Zela Chin

Billy Wong

Sowing discord and spreading lies Cover design by Edmund Ip and Adrian Leung


SOCIAL DISRUPTION: NAVIGATING THE NEW JOURNALISM Stories by Gavin Huang, Jay Hartwell, Cindy Koh, Elaine Ramirez and Peter Sabine Edited by Elaine Ramirez The free press is beset by enemies from government pressure to corruption. Social media is a double-edged sword that gives voice to the voiceless but, unrestrained, allows “fake news” to proliferate.

Historic struggles over truth and fairness are cast in a new light as information from

the internet avalanches into our phones and covers the line between ethical journalism and lies. Investigative reporting is presented side-by-side with propaganda, forcing the

public to question whom they can trust. Controversial leaders such as Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte criticize media’s watchdog role, threatening the public’s access to truth. Media worldwide are undergoing overhauls as continuing digital revolutions,

populism and social media force the industry to reinvent their identities.

“Social disruption: Navigating the new journalism,” the seventh installment of the

New.Now.Next Media Conference, begins a conversation about the direction of the fourth estate in this environment and how individual journalists should prepare themselves to compete and prevail.

“The battle over truth and fairness” discusses how to strike a balance in providing

readers with clarity without fear or favor, while Asia’s not-so-free press zeroes in on the challenges of reporting in the region.

Digital adaptation, a pillar of N3Con, offers workshops and panels with tips on

livestreaming, fintech reporting and 360-degree video.

In addition, a range of sessions from networking and mentoring to communications

coaching will enable journalists to plan the next steps for their careers.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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Panels FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

The battle over truth and fairness

The fintech dichotomy

Untruth. Post-truth. Fake news. Misinformation. Alternative facts. Fact-free. These words are now concepts journalists must grapple with daily. Fact-checking is more critical than ever in filtering the rhetoric of emotions and personal beliefs from the plethora of information saturating the media landscape. Journalism’s first obligation, which Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel identify in “The Elements of Journalism,” is to the truth. How do we strike a balance in providing readers with clarity without fear or favor? Top Asian editors discuss issues and solutions to help newsrooms raise the bar on editorial and operating standards, and protect journalists who continue to honor truth and fairness in reporting.

Here’s a riddle: If a financial institution stores money like a bank, lends like a bank and invests like a bank, but only exists online, is it still a bank? The advent of such services as digital currencies, internet-only banks and robot investment advisers is blurring the line between finance and technology. Nowadays, most financial institutions need smart programmers to compete, creating a conundrum for journalists and government regulators. Financial technology, or fintech, may be finance or technology, creating a dichotomy for journalist who must understand the intricacies of financial instruments and their computer software. Governments must determine which agency should regulate these new industries. Business reporters and fintech entrepreneurs discuss how to navigate this undefined terrain and how media coverage addresses the new technologies encroaching on financial institutions’ domain. Pa n e l i s t s

Pa n e l i s t s

Ted Anthony

Ellana Lee

Asia Pacific news director, Associated Press, Bangkok

Senior vice president and managing editor, CNN International Asia Pacific, Hong Kong

Jase Leung CEO, Bitcoinnect, Hong Kong

Mike Steven Fang Raomanachai Executive director Tech anchor, Voice TV, Bangkok

and CEO, CapBridge, Singapore

Moderator

David Merritt

Senior executive producer, Bloomberg News, Hong Kong

Angie Lau 6

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Phil Pan

Asia editor, The New York Times, Hong Kong

Moderator

| Anchor, Bloomberg TV, Hong Kong

Issue 2

Melissa Gecolea

“Money Magazine” supervising producer and anchor, TVB Pearl, Hong Kong

Eunice Kim

Freelance reporter, Arirang TV, Seoul

Chelsea Phua

Associate partner, Bell Pottinger, Singapore


FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Meng Wah Complex Theater 1

Reporting the news in digital short form

Follow the money

When Facebook announced last year’s first-quarter earnings, one number stuck with industry observers — not its $1.5 billion profit nor record 1.65 billion monthly active users, but 50 minutes. That’s the average time people spend daily on Facebook’s social media platforms. In the time it takes to watch “60 Minutes,” one may read several Facebook news bites, “like” some Instagram photos and schedule dinner with a friend on Messenger. Traditional news organizations now post videos on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, but what worked on television may not work online, where patience is lacking and the medium may be a smartphone. Broadcast reporters and editors discuss how to develop social media content and tailor on-camera presentation for viewers on-the-go.

You don’t need a finance degree to write a business story. Sometimes the most compelling angles are those every reader can relate to. From South Korea’s coffee wars to Chinese mobile payment apps, interesting stories can be told through the lens of business, money and finance. How people spend their money can reflect hot consumer trends, tech innovations, economic conditions and trade partnerships. And many readers find top business moguls’ family feuds as entertaining as celebrity gossip. Good reporters know that getting to the heart of any business story means following the money — sometimes to top corporate offices. Veteran business journalists share strategies for covering companies and their executives, and finding hidden narratives behind the numbers. Pa n e l i s t s

Pa n e l i s t s

Moderator

Zela Chin

Archith Seshadri

Anchor, WION, New Delhi

Principal reporter and producer, CNN Digital Asia director, TVB Pearl, Hong Kong CNN International, Hong Kong

Marc Lourdes

Enda Curran Youkyung Lee David Webb

Senior reporter, Technology reporter, Bloomberg, Hong Kong The Associated Press, Seoul

Activist investor, Webb-site Reports, Hong Kong

Moderator

Sherisse Pham

Tech and business reporter, CNNMoney, Hong Kong

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Hong Kong handover 20th anniversary The handover of Hong Kong from the U.K. to China was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, replete with visual, cultural and historical spectacle: British representatives Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gov. Chris Patten stood alongside China’s President Jiang Zemin, Premier Li Peng and incoming Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa in an atmosphere charged with pomp as the city returned to Chinese sovereignty. Foreign correspondents discuss covering the historic day of July 1, 1997, the legacy of 150 years of conflict, colonialism and the Opium Wars, the new legal framework of the Basic Law and One Country Two Systems and the impact of the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre that helped create a legacy of fears that persists today.

Moderator

Keith Richburg

Director, Journalism and Media Studies Centre at The University of Hong Kong

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Panels SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 4:30 - 5:30 p.m

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 10:45 a.m - 12:00 p.m

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Covering the North Korean crisis

The millennial experience

Tension is rising as North Korea dominates the headlines with speculated intention to fire missiles on countries that dare to interfere with its closedoff, centralized political regime. While the country insists its space programs aim to advance peace, critics argue that they serve to advance military ballistic missile programs, reflecting the high level of mistrust worldwide for this country of some 25 million. Veteran news leaders discuss the challenges and strategies of covering a country that speaks through official pronouncements issued through state-run media, and where access to information is severely restricted and people cannot speak freely.

Millennials are making plenty of noise in the media world, and not just for leading consumption trends. They also make up a large proportion of the newsroom. These journalists in their 20s and 30s are tech-savvy, and while they may be out of sync with traditional media production, are setting ever higher standards for content production while driving new-media consumption. Leading digital media executives from across Asia discuss how to recruit, engage and retain millennials. Pa n e l i s t s

Richard Lai

Editor-in-chief for Chinese, Engadget, Hong Kong

Pa n e l i s t s

Carina Lee

Sales coordinator, Discovery Network, Seoul

Haruka Nuga

TV news producer, Thomson Reuters, Tokyo

Moderator

Mike Raomanachai

| tech anchor, Voice TV, Bangkok

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Mike Chinoy

Author and senior fellow, USC U.S.-China Institute, Los Angeles

Giles Hewitt

Asia editor-in-chief, AFP, Hong Kong

Moderator

Ken Moritsugu

Martyn Williams

Japan and Korea news director, The Associated Press, Tokyo

The challenges of expat reporting The life of a correspondent is full of challenges: handling faraway editors who lack the same perspective, learning how to report objectively from a birthplace or mother country and assimilating to a new location. On a personal level, expat reporters must navigate family loyalties and beliefs when reporting reveals other views, while living and working among other domestic and expat journalists, both competitors and allies. Reporters from the U.S. or Canada share why they call Asia “home.� Pa n e l i s t s

Senior correspondent, IDG News Service, San Francisco

Catherine K.Oanh Ha Asia consumer Lai

Reporter, Hong Kong Free Press, Hong Kong

team leader, Bloomberg, Hong Kong

Yuri Nagano

Senior reporter, Mergermarket Group, Tokyo

Wilfred Chan Journalist, Hong Kong

Moderator

Richard C. Paddock

Southeast Asia reporter, The New York Times, Bangkok

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SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 1:30 - 2:45 p.m

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Media entrepreneurship in Asia It’s tough to be a traditional media journalist. Falling revenue, cutbacks and layoffs have hammered the industry. Companies are expected to keep up with media innovations and storytelling despite shrinking budgets. Journalists experiencing their own Jerry Maguire moments may be tempted to jump ship to outlets dealing with so-called new media or join the “dark side,” aka marketing and public relations. A growing option is to create a startup in journalism or corporate communications. Three media entrepreneurs bid farewell to traditional media, strike out on their own, and share lessons learned from creating a new company or forecasting Asian media trends. Pa n e l i s t s

Asia’s not-sofree press Social media is hugely affecting Asia. Digital access opens up freedom of communication to Asian societies once subject to draconian print and broadcast media controls. As governments fear their loosening grip on their message, a backlash against journalists has begun with potentially severe consequences. Leading Asian news figures live daily with these challenges. Ching-Ching Ni, editor-in-chief for The New York Times Chinese in Beijing, Annalisa Burgos, managing editor for ABS-CBN in Manila, Ken Moritsugu, AP Japan and Korea news director, and Giles Hewitt, Asia editor-inchief for the AFP in Hong Kong — all working on the battle lines between government and free press — will discuss how reporters, broadcasters and online journalists navigate the challenges Asia poses: access to information, interviews, censorship and avoiding legal action that threatens defamation suits or imprisonment. Pa n e l i s t s

Toshi Maeda

CEO, Pacific Bridge Media Consulting, Tokyo

Chan Yi Wen

Cofounder, Content.co, Singapore

Moderator

Ching-Ching Ni Editor-in-chief, The New York Times Chinese, Beijing

Annalisa Burgos

Managing editor, ABS-CBN, Manila

Wendy Tang

Nina Xiang

Editor and cofounder, China Money Network, Hong Kong

Independent tech writer, Beijing

Mark Angeles

Journalist, Global New Light of Myanmar, Yangon

Giles Hewitt

Asia editor-in-chief, AFP, Hong Kong

Moderator

K. Oanh Ha

Asia consumer team leader, Bloomberg News, Hong Kong

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Panels SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 10:45 a.m - 12:00 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 4

Independent filmmaking in the age of disruption While a rogue filmmaker’s backpack may contain a DSLR camera or two, a DIY rig fashioned from plastic rods and duct tape, independent filmmakers’ kits are changing, along with funding and distribution models. Movies stream on smartphones, money is raised on crowdfunding sites and visual content is no longer limited to twodimensional screens. Cameras made for virtual reality can shoot 360 degrees to tell old stories in new ways. Video streaming websites and social media platforms give content creators a direct channel to audiences. Asian and U.S. documentary filmmakers discuss how to navigate this new cinematic landscape and use digital tools to seek funding, produce innovative work and distribute independently. Danny Kim will show clips from his latest documentary “Still Waters” on the Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea. Speakers

Danny Kim

“Still Waters” official poster.

Tens of thousands of people convene in the central square of downtown Seoul to protest for impeachment of President Park Geun-hye in December 2016.

Jonna Bowers Taehoon Lee

Documentary filmmaker, “Still Waters,” Seoul

Film producer, Documentary producer, Cheeky Monkey The Korea Observer Productions Asia Limited, and CNN, Seoul Hong Kong

Yang Oak-ja tears up as she sends a video message to her son Hur Jae-kang.

A tent is set up by the Sewol families to monitor the salvage operation. ​

Moderator

Mathew Scott

| Freelance journalist, Hong Kong

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 6:10 - 6:40 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 2

Lightning talks From learning how to release the power of your voice to discovering the sneaky tricks that PR pros teach their clients, seven panelists will share industry tips with lively, rapid-fire presentations of up to five minutes each.

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Speakers

Don’t make my mistake

Jay Hartwell, University of Hawaii, Honolulu

Why facts don’t matter: A reflection of the stories we tell each other and ourselves

Crisis Comms 101: Firefighting with the media

Chelsea Phua and Sam Turvey, Bell Pottinger, Singapore and Hong Kong

Story in a frame

Yvonne Leow, AAJA, San Francisco

Daylon Soh, Singapore

Super sneaky tricks that PR pros teach clients

Voice is power: How to be heard loud and clear

Erik Cornelius, G3 Partners, Seoul

Arthur Joseph, Vocal Awareness Institute, Los Angeles


FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 3

Pa n e l i s t s

Women in media: Is equality a myth? Commentators are claiming society has entered an area of gender parity. Yet as recently as 2015, the Global Media Monitoring Project, the world’s largest research initiative for equality, found women made up only 24 percent of people heard from in newspaper, television and radio news globally. Leading female media executives Mariko Sanchanta of APAC Fidelity International, AAJA president Yvonne Leow, Reuters Hong Kong Bureau Chief Anne Marie Roantree, and Yunhee Kim of The Wall Street Journal discuss career progression, work-life balance and overcoming the hurdles of inequality.

Mariko Sanchanta

Head of corporate communications, Asia Pacific, Fidelity International, Hong Kong

Yvonne Leow President, AAJA, San Francisco

Moderator

Yuri Nagano

Anne Marie Roantree

Bureau chief, Reuters, Hong Kong

Yun-Hee Kim

senior editor, The Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong

Senior reporter, Mergermarket Group, Tokyo

Events

Meet the recruiters

May 19, 8:00 - 11:30 a.m. | Bloomberg Hong Kong Bureau Bloomberg Hong Kong opens its doors for an insider view of how the newsroom functions locally while impacting the world, offering insights into its vision and mission. The tour will offer an opportunity to meet recruiters and editors who can answer questions on the news organization’s hiring trends.

VIP opening reception May 19, 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. | Bloomberg Hong Kong Bureau N3Con participants can mingle with new and familiar faces over food and drinks on the first day of the conference, while soaking up the Hong Kong skyline at Bloomberg’s Hong Kong Bureau. It will be an opportunity to network and share ideas with movers and shakers in the journalism industry who are attending from all over the world. This is an invite-only event.

Mentoring hour May 20, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | Eliot Hall Shum Room Experienced journalists and media professionals will offer oneon-one advice and guidance in 15-minute blocks to conference delegates. Bring your resume, videos or questions and be matched with a mentor closest to your preference. Spots are limited, and time slots are designated after signup closes. New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Perspective

CNN FACES OFF AGAINST FAKE NEWS

Journalists find social media extremely exciting, but we must use it carefully.

As an undergraduate, Ellana Lee was intrigued by media’s role during key moments in history. Twenty years later, the CNN International Asia Pacific senior vice president and managing editor is broadening the broadcaster’s reach and documenting history as it happens. Lee sees CNN’s new Eco Solutions as an opportunity to shine a light on environmental issues affecting the planet and track innovative solutions as they emerge.

Fake news is increasingly making the headlines. Is this solely a EuroAmerican phenomenon?

of newsgathering when working through a third-party news organization?

Lee: Fake news is an issue that impacts us

Before CNN enters any partnership, we

misinformation, a lot of fake news. Good

of values and core principles. We enter

globally. There is a lot of information and journalism requires looking at as many

sources as possible to get as full a picture as possible. And that’s where the skill, training

and professionalism of CNN’s editorial team comes in.

The biggest part of our job is to check,

check and check again, as we verify and

corroborate the snippets of information,

pictures, videos, claims and counterclaims. There is enormous interest in the current

news cycle – whether it’s Trump, Brexit or North Korea.

partnerships in growing markets with a growing need for first-class journalism.

These media partners retain full editorial

control, but they receive ongoing training in all aspects of newsgathering, feature programming, technical support and

digital content. As with CNN worldwide, a

standards and practices department operates locally to ensure that all standards are

upheld. A joint editorial board also discusses issues of ethics and editorial standards as required.

What advice can you give to today’s would-be journalists?

Social media plays a part in spreading fake

successes but also for your failures. I’m

and it’s instant. Journalists find social

media extremely exciting, but we must use it carefully. People often say that they hear or see something on social media, and go

Apart from making the most of your

education, working hard and securing

internships, be grateful not only for your grateful for the mistakes I’ve made because I learned from them and grew. I became more optimistic, able to problem-solve and create solutions with each valuable lesson.

Think of it as failing forward. The

to CNN to see if it’s true – that’s something

ability to recover quickly from setbacks

take for granted. This all boils down to

the roadmap to success is paved with

we must work hard to preserve, and never first-class journalism and trust, a news organization’s most vital commodity.

CNN has created a half-dozen partnerships with local newschannels worldwide, including in the Philippines and India. How do you ensure the quality

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do due diligence to ensure an alignment

Fake news isn’t a new phenomenon. We can trace it back to government misinformation during the Vietnam War. How does this phenomenon differ today? news. It’s at the tip of everyone’s fingers

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Issue 2

Interview by Frances Fernandes Photo courtesy of CNN Edited by Jay Hartwell

is essential. Whether you like it or not, lessons learned from your mistakes.

The reality is we live in a competitive

world, so you must learn to fail fast and fail forward while you are young.

And finally, remember these

key words: dignity, empathy and

compassion. These are the qualities I look for when hiring. 

Frances Fernandes can be reached at frances.fernandes@ucr.edu.

Ellana Lee, senior vice president and managing editor, CNN International Asia Pacific


New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Workshops

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 4

Google tools for journalists

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 1

How to negotiate your salary Salary negotiation is key to ensuring healthy income growth as your career progresses. With intense pressure on media budgets, achieving a fair offer can be difficult. Ron Brown, president of the management consulting firm Banks Brown, will discuss presentation and quantifying value to employers. Whether an employee is hunting for a new job or negotiating for a raise, having these essential skills makes the difference between success and failure, while positively impacting earning power. Host

Ron Brown

President, Banks Brown, San Francisco

Data are the cornerstone of journalism, yet many in the industry are unsure how to use data for reporting. Even though many journalists find data complex and inaccessible, it’s easy to put them to work to strengthen reporting and glean story ideas. Google’s toolbox of solutions, such as Trends and Analytics, can help develop compelling story ideas, while charts and features can be generated to visually reinforce articles. Host

Irene Jay Liu

APAC News Lab lead, Google, Hong Kong

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 10:45 a.m - 12:00 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 3

The art of networking

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 3

Finding the signal in the noise Mining accurate news, separating disinformation and presenting a balanced view of issues is paramount in the age of fake news. Storyful’s Asia Editor Iain Martin shares his experience in interpreting social media and developing AI to verify facts and stories. This interactive workshop will teach participants to sift through the noise and learn how to find the facts themselves. Host

Iain Martin

Asia editor, Storyful, Hong Kong

14

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Some of us think networking is unnecessary for journalists. Well, think again. Archith Seshadri of Wion (World Is One News), Forbes Asia’s digital director Paul Armstrong and ABS-CBN managing editor Annalisa Burgos will share on the art of building professional relationships and lay out successful strategies for a skill that is crucial for journalists in this hands-on workshop. Hosts

Archith Seshadri Anchor, WION, New Delhi

Paul Armstrong

Digital director, Forbes Asia, Hong Kong

Annalisa Burgos

Managing editor, ABS-CBN, Manila


SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 4

Meng Wah Complex Theater 3

Innovative brand storytelling in Asia-Pacific Branding in Asia requires a tricky balance of localization, lean content and leveraging experts to tell stories effectively. Be it written, visual, video or interactive content, the format is merely a tool to tell the more important story. Content.co’s Chan Yi Wen invites participants to brainstorm content marketing strategies to achieve their company’s objectives in this interactive session. Host

Chan Yi Wen

Head of content strategy, Content.co, Singapore

How to nail your next TED Talk Public speaking can be a daunting experience. With the proliferation of live media experiences, journalists are increasingly sought out to share their insights with an audience. The ability to own the stage, write an impactful speech, pace a performance and engage the crowd is indispensable to career development. TV anchor, speaking coach and TEDx Talk Hong Kong veteran Angie Lau shares tips on how to approach speaking opportunities. Host

Angie Lau

Anchor, Bloomberg TV, Hong Kong

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 10:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 1

Meng Wah Complex Theater 4

Where to start with 360-degree video Even though virtual reality news production is in its infancy, 360-degree video has hit the mainstream — providing immersive video experiences for mass market audiences. Paul Cheung, director of visual journalism for NBC News, explains how 360-degree video transports viewers into the middle of the action. His lecture and workshop will show participants how to begin developing their own 360 videos and reach audiences with engaging content for today’s video-driven generation. *The second-half workshop from 12:00 p.m. is limited to 15 participants. Hosts

Paul Cheung

Director of visual journalism, NBC News, New York

KC Lai

Best practices of live-streaming Facebook Live Video is another solution for reaching out to existing audiences, diversifying content presentation and expanding user bases. Since its inception a year ago, Facebook LV has become a leading tool in the live-streaming world. The New York Times Chinese website editor-in-chief Ching-Ching Ni and University of Hawaii student media adviser Jay Hartwell cover camera positioning, getting clean audio and other essentials to create the optimal user experience. Hosts

Jay Hartwell

Faculty, University of Hawaii, Honolulu

Ching-Ching Ni

Editor-in-chief, The New York Times Chinese, Beijing

Founder and CEO, iZugar, Hong Kong

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Workshops SUNDAY, MAY 21 | 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 20 | 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Bloomberg Hong Kong Bureau

Meng Wah Complex Theater 1

Mindful leadership through communication mastery Arthur Samuel Joseph is known globally as one of the world’s top broadcast trainers and an authority on how to develop the human voice for effective and authoritative presentation. His vocal awareness program teaches participants to master communication, enhance leadership skills and amplify personal presence through body-language techniques, vocal warm-ups and storytelling skills. Joseph has used his methods with actors, singers, politicians, broadcasters and business leaders during his 50-year career.

Broadcast boot camp for on-air talent Many top broadcast journalists around the world learn from one man: legendary vocal coach Arthur Samuel Joseph. The president of the Vocal Awareness Institute helps broadcasters to maximize the character and integrity of both voice and persona while presenting on air. While useful for broadcast and online journalists, writers will also find this workshop essential. As news organizations push for more video content, a powerful voice is a strong weapon. Host

Arthur Samuel Joseph

Founder, Vocal Awareness Institute, Los Angeles

Host

Arthur Samuel Joseph

Founder, Vocal Awareness Institute, Los Angeles

FRIDAY, MAY 19 | 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

Meng Wah Complex Theater 1

A refresher: Very basic statistics for journalists

SUNDAY, MAY 21 | 11:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Bloomberg Hong Kong Bureau

Ron Brown’s influence and leadership workshop Influencing people is a key tenet of career development. Dr. Ron Brown, president of Banks Brown and one of the top career coaches in the U.S., offers his insights into gaining influence to progress through the ranks of an organization. A psychologist who has consulted for major Fortune 100 corporations for more than 30 years, Brown will help participants develop the critical mindsets and skills necessary to seize new leadership opportunities and progress in their careers. *Space is limited to 20 participants. Host

Ron Brown

President, Banks Brown, San Francisco

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News professionals often find it difficult to report accurate figures. Interpreting surveys, health research and social science studies are challenging as information can be spun, be presented unclearly or be intended to misinform. Lecturer Anne Kruger and Assistant Professor Masato Kajimoto of The University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre apply their reporting and research experience to demonstrate how to cut through the distortions and present a balanced view of issues that matter. Hosts

Anne Kruger

Cyber News Verification Lab principal investigator, Journalism and Media Studies Centre at The University of Hong Kong

Masato Kajimoto

Assistant professor, Journalism and Media Studies Centre at The University of Hong Kong


SATURDAY, MAY 20 | FROM 7:00 P.M.

Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong

FAKE NEWS AND THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO KNOW Story by Zela Chin | Photo courtesy of Joshua Wong Edited by Elaine Ramirez

Joshua Wong, Hong Kong activist and secretary-general of Demosistō, speaks on political struggle and press freedom at N3Con’s closing gala dinner. as the secretary-general. His party has no plans for the next few

by-elections, but will support representatives from the pro-democracy camp to gain a seat in the legislative council.

“I hope to get the new generation to care more about social

justice and to get back our rights to decide our future instead of allowing the upper or ruling-class elites to decide,” he said.

Wong’s activism career began early. At age 13, he demon-

strated against plans to build a high-speed rail link between Hong

Kong and mainland China, although it was ultimately approved by pro-government lawmakers.

The authorities have not appreciated Wong’s activism. Last

The 79-day protests in 2014 calling for more democratic elections

year, he was convicted of one count of unlawful assembly over the

streets and paralyzed parts of the financial district. At the frontline

Movement protests began, and sentenced to 80 hours of communi-

in Hong Kong drew international attention as crowds blockaded

was Joshua Wong, then a teenager, who held a prominent role in what became known as the Umbrella Movement.

The protesters were not able to achieve universal suffrage and

storming of government headquarters just before the Umbrella

ty service. In October 2016, he was barred from entering Thailand, reportedly at the request of the Chinese government.

Wong said he has been affected by fake news, including

democracy for Hong Kong during the movement, but Wong hardly

accusations of him being a CIA agent trained by the U.S. Marines

in Hong Kong, and drew attention from foreign media to increase

he said.

regards this as a failure. Rather, it was a step toward democracy pressure on the government.

The protests, he said, highlighted how Hong Kong media

would lean conservative and oppose their movement, in contrast with the current global dynamics in which international media supports democracy.

“We realized how Hong Kong media is dominated by racke-

teers who mainly stand on the side of the pro-China camps or just follow the propaganda of the Hong Kong government,” he said in an interview with N3 Magazine.

Wong, 20, has since continued to fight for democracy and

and of holding an American Green Card — none of which are true, “I believe ‘fake news’ is undeniably a major challenge to

journalism around the world today as it hinders the public’s right to know. While the internet has enabled the free flow of true

information, which is a major advantage our generation enjoys, it has also significantly lowered the barrier for disseminating false information,” he said.

Wong will speak on political struggle and press freedom at

N3Con’s gala dinner at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong on May 20.

“I hope, through this meeting and my sharing, to let more

civil disobedience. While attending the Open University for politics

people realize we need to preserve the core values in Hong Kong,

party pushing for an autonomous Hong Kong, for which he serves

fight for press freedom,” he said.

and public administration, he has cofounded Demosistō, a political

especially human rights and freedom. It’s necessary for us to first

AAJA-ASIA THANKS OUR SPONSORS FOR THE N3CON CLOSING GALA DINNER


and

SPREADING LIES Fake news threatens to undermine what journalists have strived for. Ethical media must work to clear its name.

Story by Scott Duke Harris Additional reporting by Eunji Kim, Carina Lee, Nicole Pabello, Yiqian Shen and Jane Zhang Edited by Elaine Ramirez

South Korean consumers are known

tragedy that killed 304 people.

cosmetic surgery and K-pop. They are also

mentioned in the Chosun Ilbo and Sankei,

for indulging in fashion, tech gadgets,

hungry for “hadeora” — or so it is said.

That’s the translation of hadeora: “It

is said that.” The term, tacked onto the end of a sentence, is like the rhetorical

tic Citizen Donald Trump used to spread gossip en route to becoming President Donald Trump: “…people are sayin’.”

Hadeora, also sometimes “kadeora,”

provides the speaker with a dash of

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Issue 2

social platforms, namely Kakao, Daum

and Naver, according to Se-woong Koo, publisher of Korea Expose. “But I first

heard it from my mother, who in turn had heard it from her friends, before media reported it,” he wrote.

Koo’s essay was titled “In Rumor We

example: the unsubstantiated claim that

could serve as a template — just substitute

with her lover during the Sewol ferry

Magazine

after it had spread on popular Korean

Trust: The Proliferation of Fake News in

former President Park Geun-hye had met

|

South Korean and Japanese newspapers,

deniability while he or she fertilizes a

discussion with dubious information. One

18

That allegation was eventually

South Korea.” These days, that headline the country. Fake news is a multifaceted

problem that has mutated from stubborn


virus to global pandemic, propelled by

social media and adapting to every culture, country and purpose.

The pen may be mightier than the

sword, but fake news is both poison pen and double-edged sword. On one hand,

the fabrications that are purveyed as news deliberately misinform the public and

undermine the credibility of legitimate journalism. On another, the term “fake news� becomes a slogan for politicians and critics to disparage reportage and

commentary that cause them discomfort. Russian propagandists even used the

Twitter hashtag #fakenews to discredit video of Aleppo atrocities.

The deluge of fake news poses two

threats. The first is from the bogus reports designed to deceive news consumers

with misinformation. The second is the way politicians and governments have

adopted the phrase to discredit legitimate journalism.

Bad money

The authoritarian Chinese government, which has jailed more than 40 Chinese

journalists, recently denounced as fake

news the reports in Western media that

a Chinese human rights advocate said he

had been tortured. In Singapore, the rise in

Illustrations by Shutterstockcom

bogus news has been deemed such a threat

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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to “community values” that the minister

N3 Magazine. “People become cynical

parliament that the nation’s Broadcasting

reputable news sources when they stop

for communications and information told Act should be updated.

In Vietnam, authorities express similar

concerns as they ponder ways to police

Facebook and use it to spread their version.

believing anything, or begin to believe

only news stories that confirm existing opinions or bias.

“This is aside from the possible

In the Philippines, legislation seeks to

damage from the content of the fake news

to make it harder for them to create fake

correspondent in Asia for two decades.

require social media firms to register users news sites, while Indonesia has announced the creation of a new “cyber agency”

to fight fake news. And in Cambodia, a government spokesman suggested a solution to address allegedly false

stories,” added Butler, who worked as a

“Government reaction can compound the

problem, as governments create new levers of control over free expression that can be used to oppress the legitimate press.”

reportage by the Voice of Democracy,

Enemy unknown

“Shut it down. … Expel them.”

headlines before people could even agree

Voice of America and Radio Free Asia: These examples, compiled in part by

Mong Palatino at citizen media outlet Global Voices, illustrate how Asian

governments may further flex their restrictive powers.

The effect has fueled spiraling distrust

in mainstream media and even cast a cloud over the notion of objective truth itself.

“We live in the age of trolls, sowing

discord and spreading lies,” Davan

The crisis over fake news began to sear

on the answer to a key question: What is it, anyway?

“That’s the problem itself, right?

Nobody knows how to define what fake

news really is,” professor Masato Kajimoto of Hong Kong University, a specialist in social media, told N3 Magazine. “But people are using the term and that is where the confusion comes from.”

Kajimoto, formerly a web producer

Maharaj, publisher and editor of the

at CNN, pointed out that the term “fake

in April. So-called “alternative facts,”

thinking skills involved in understanding

Los Angeles Times, declared in a speech he added, “inspire acts of hate and

retribution. Allegations of ‘fake news’ threaten to undermine what we have

fought for. Science itself is under attack. “Such hostility is a threat not just to

journalists and writers and editors like

news, known as “news literacy.” Rather,

such content would fall within the broader category of “problematic information,”

which also could include “advertorials” and government propaganda.

While newspaper references to "fake

news" date to 1890s, the term became

the world.”

fabricated news online, much of it

For journalists committed to

producing quality work, the tsunami of misinformation has an insidious effect.

“Fake news is like bad money. It drives

out the good stuff, debases the currency,” Steven Butler, Asia program director for

the Committee to Protect Journalists, told

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Magazine

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Issue 2

MOST RELIABLE NAME IN NEWS

news” isn’t used in teaching the critical-

us. It is a threat to anyone who trusts us, who turns to us for help in understanding

20

about what we might otherwise consider

popular in 2016 with the profusion of focusing on the U.S. presidential

election. Trump further popularized the term to denounce journalism he deemed unfavorable.

“Fake news” is an elastic

label that can be used by anyone to discredit any

Illustrations by Gavin Huang

SEE MORE


bit information, regardless of its veracity. When journalists use the term, Kajimoto said, fake news can refer to fabrications

with a political or profit motive, or both. The U.S. presidential campaign season was peppered with bogus click-bait

“news,” some of which was produced by entrepreneurs in Macedonia.

“Technology has made it easy for

anybody to create fake news and make

it look genuine,” Kajimoto said. “Memes are a good example. You choose a good

We live in the age of trolls, sowing discord and spreading lies. ‘Alternative facts’ inspire acts of hate and retribution. Allegations of ‘fake news’ threaten to undermine what we have fought for. Davan Maharaj, Los Angeles Times publisher and editor

picture with a nice headline and put it on

Facebook, and it can look like it is coming from a news organization. That definitely has made the situation worse.”

The “fake news” charge also can be

leveled at honest errors. “Journalists do make mistakes,” Kajimoto said.

“For some news readers, that can be considered fake news.”

People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of

large doses of misinformation.

fake news “seriously damages the image of

was demonstrated in the spread of text

authoritative nature of the news media, is

others aboard the ferry Sewol in 2014. The

the Communist Party, claimed then that

news workers, corrodes the credibility and strongly opposed by all sectors of society, and bitterly detested by the people.” WeChat, with about 550 million

Contentious solutions

users, operates a fact-checking center that

the public and private sectors to address

according to the company. Weibo reports

Concerns over fake news have prompted the issue. Google and Facebook, colossal

forces in the digital realm, have introduced

gets about 10,000 complaints per day,

receiving about 2,000 complaints per day. WeChat, a subsidiary of Tencent, told

efforts to label disputed content in hopes

N3 Magazine that its policies penalize

also have emerged in various countries —

once the social media platform verifies

of minimizing sharing. Fact-checking sites

but these, too, often merit skepticism. The government of Malaysia, not considered a bastion of free expression, has created

the online tool Sebenarnya, a Malay term meaning “actually.”

In China, authorities who have jailed

more than 40 journalists are further

asserting their powers over popular social

networking platforms WeChat and Weibo. (Meanwhile, a media studies initiative

The emotional power of social media

messages from doomed teenagers and

political fallout, in retrospect, marked the beginning of the scandalous end of Park’s

leadership. The tragedy also damaged the reputation of South Korean news media as some major outlets were accused of

parroting the government line, ignoring

critical voices and failing in their watchdog roles.

Distrust escalated as the nation’s

accounts “based on severity of the case

focus shifted in recent months to both

and confirms that the information involves

swirling around Park and her confidante

infringement, breach of confidence, fake

news, harassment, spam, etc., which violates

the country’s law, regulations, policies, public order and social moral, according to users’ reports and government authorities.”

To date, WeChat said it had penalized

about 45,000 public accounts “involved in

spreading false information and fake news.” The Korean Peninsula, with its stark

the hadeora and hard facts of corruption Choi Soon-sil, who allegedly leveraged their relationship for financial gain.

According to some reports, elderly South Koreans increasingly turned to social

media and away from conventional news

sources to follow the national drama that pitted pro-Park supporters against those who wanted to end her regime.

The political battle also spawned a

at the University of Hong Kong called

contrasts, illustrates how fake news can

surge of “fake news” in Park’s defense,

reveal censored material.) In 2014, The

North Korea, news is largely government

overarching narrative is quite simple.

Weiboscope pushes back with efforts to Wall Street Journal reported that the

Beijing government aimed to snuff out “a disease” in the news industry that

promoted extortion and fake news. The

thrive regardless of the level of freedom. In propaganda, which may or may not be

true. Meanwhile, South Korea’s rollicking, always-on media culture has given voice

to a multitude of perspectives, as well as

reported Seung Lee in Gizmodo: “The

Every fake news story seems to focus on

how the entire scandal and its subsequent protests are a leftist conspiracy to bring down Park’s conservative regime.”

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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21


Many of the fabrications, Lee reported,

featured three common elements: a

fictional Western media outlet, political

expert or politician speaking out against impeachment; made-up data suggesting

that support for Park was growing, and

“so-called evidence tying the Choi Soonsil scandal and anti-Park protests to North Korea.”

Some of South Korea’s fake news

purveyors have piled it on with a certain verve. Make-believe Western “experts” were given the names Pendragon and

Littner, apparently borrowed from popular anime characters, Lee reported. “One of

the most popular people ‘quoted’ in fake news stories was not a fictional expert but the real President of the United

States.” Some Koreans were led to believe that Trump had told CNN that he was

concerned that Park’s impeachment will

affect the global economy. “I am very sorry that Park Geun-hye [was] impeached,”

Trump supposedly said. “Korea is America’s most influential partner.”

The campaigns for South Korea’s Illustrations by Gavin Huang

FAKE NEWS IN ASIA The term “fake news” is used in a various ways across Asia. Here are a few examples of the phenomenon sweeping the continent: VIETNAM The proliferation of “distortions, defamations and fabrications” on Google and YouTube prompted the Ministry of Information and Communication to ask Google to block and remove 2,200 clips on YouTube. As of April 12, Google was reported to have removed 1,300 such clips.

22

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CHINA A reputable Japanese newspaper cited sources in its report that Beijing had urged Washington to fire the top U.S. naval commander in the Pacific in return for increased pressure on North Korea. China’s Foreign Ministry labeled the story as “fake news and not worth refuting.”

MALAYSIA The government is warning administrators of WhatsApp groups about spreading fake and defamatory news, which risks prosecution under existing media laws. A 76-year-old man was charged last year for sharing a WhatsApp group photo that insulted Prime Minister Najib Razak.

SOUTH KOREA A doctored video purporting to show former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon violating sacred ritual at ancestors’ grave sites was among the factors that persuaded Ban to withdraw from South Korea’s presidential election.

INDONESIA Muslim clerics, professing alarm about the spread of falsehoods that have spurred protests against Chinese and Christian minorities, have proposed a fatwa against “fake news,” decreeing that the spread of slander and lies is forbidden.

THAILAND A fake news site reported an explosion in the heart of Bangkok last December. That “explosion” report prompted Facebook to activate its safety check tool with a link to the story, which caused FB users in the city to alert friends to guard their well-being, spreading the story further. But the “explosion” was a one-man protest near the prime minister’s office and involved some firecrackers. No one was hurt.


recent election to succeed Park generated

In an editorial, the Korean news site

able to ask for fact-checking on suspicions of fake news.

further rumor and misinformation.

Media Today cited human nature as an

Center at the country’s National Election

proliferates more when people want to

that there is no better way to combat fake

gains strength when media fails to do its

authentic, trustworthy journalism. "Fake

According to the Election Cyber Crime

Commission, more than 31,000 allegations of fake news regarding the upcoming

election had been reported as of April 25

— about four times as much as during the last presidential election in 2012.

Tackling a deluge

But the efforts of Google and Facebook

to curtail dubious content may not have

much of an impact in South Korea, where the global giants are middleweights and

domestic platforms like Naver and Daum

dominate the scene. A study by the Korea Press Foundation determined that the

country’s major digital platforms account for more than half of the circulation of fake news. The foundation’s survey of nearly 1,100 people found 76 percent

experienced fake news on the internet. Mobile messengers like KakaoTalk and

Line accounted for 39.7 percent, followed

by portals including Daum at 27.7 percent and online communities at 24.3 percent. Traditional sources of journalism

suffered from the deluge. A 2016 study by Edelman found that only 47 percent

of Korean internet users “trust traditional media for news and information” — a

enabler for rumors to flower: fake news believe it. But, the article added, fake news work; it loses power when media gains the people’s trust.

Media outlets are seeking ways to

percent responded that they suspect real

outlets to conduct a “fact check-o-meter.”

believed the societal problems deriving from fake news were very severe.

The impact became news after former

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, once considered the favorite to succeed Park,

managed by a fact-checking organization

consisting of up to 11 scholars and media professionals that gives each outlet an accuracy score out of 5.

Social network company Kakao has

misinformation had caused undue stress to

to confirm facts. The broadcaster provided

and passion were damaged by rumors and fake news,” Ban said in February.

real news does its job well.” 

The platform, at factcheck.snu.ac.kr, is

also developed a platform called KakaoPlus

him and his family. “My genuine patriotism

declared, "but it will lose its strength when

University has partnered with 14 news

decided to withdraw from consideration with the claim that the onslaught of

news may never disappear," Media Today

Masato Kajimoto, Hong Kong University news literacy professor prove news accuracy. Seoul National

news to be fake, and that 83.7 percent

news than to focus on the production of

Technology has made it easy for anybody to create fake news and make it look genuine. Memes are a good example. You choose a good picture with nice headline and put it on Facebook, and it can look like it is coming from a news organization. That definitely has made the situation worse.

decline from the 58 percent in 2012. The press foundation survey also showed 76

The moral for journalists, many say, is

friend, which JTBC news has been utilizing live fact-checking during presidential

debates and viewers were able to follow it through live messages. Viewers also were

Scott Duke Harris can be reached at toscottharris@gmail.com.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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23


QUALITY JOURNALISM FIGHTS MISINFORMATION

7

KEY TYPES OF

MISINFORMATION & DISINFORMATION (FROM LEAST TO MOST INTENT TO DECEIVE)

1 | SATIRE OR PARODY No intention to cause harm but has potential to fool.

2 | FALSE CONNECTION

3 | MISLEADING CONTENT

When headlines, visuals or captions

Misleading use of information to

don’t support the content.

frame an issue or individual.

4 | FALSE CONTEXT

5 | IMPOSTER CONTENT

When genuine content is shared

When genuine sources are

with false contextual information.

impersonated.

6 | MANIPULATED CONTENT

7 | FABRICATED CONTENT

When genuine information or imagery

New content is 100% false, designed

is manipulated to deceive.

to deceive and do harm.

CREDIT: CLAIRE WARDLE/FIRST DRAFT

Read more and download journalist guides from First Draft: firstdraftnews.com Learn how to use Google Tools for online verification: newslab.withgoogle.com/training

g.co/newslab

medium.com/google-news-lab

@GoogleNewsLab

YouTube.com/googlenewslab


Focus:

ASIA

Triumph and turbulence define Asian media’s year in review Story by Elaine Ramirez

Media in the past year has seen triumph

Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, and

for democracy and freedom of the

ing ship and leaving a vacuum.

and turbulence as Asian countries battle press. South Korea’s shining moment

Chinese mid-career reporters are jumpCronyism is crippling efforts to

was the investigative journalism that

free the media in Japan and India, but

impeachment of Park Geun-hye, while

Alibaba’s growing media empire on the

sparked massive protests and led to the other voices in the industry risk political polarization.

Cambodia and India are learning

in China, the results of the influence of country’s media remains to be seen.

But silver linings for Asia’s media

can be found in Nepal’s citizen-led net-

lessons from U.S. media’s relationship

work of 300 community radio stations

pines continues its long, winded battle

both the government and netizens have

with Donald Trump, while the Philip-

against Rodrigo Duterte. Government pressure on the media continues in

and Vietnam’s social media, where

embraced Facebook to reach its inter-

net-savvy population.

SOUTH KOREA

p33 The proliferation of alternative media may lead to greater political polarization

CHINA

p26 Alibaba’s media investments align with its e-commerce operations p30 Many veteran reporters have deserted, leaving inexperience in their wake

p38 Opposition media fueled protesters, the true authors of Park Geun-hye’s downfall

VIETNAM

p36 Both the government and netizens have embraced Facebook to reach the internet-savvy population

NEPAL

p42 Nepal’s earthquake revealed the importance of the country’s 300 radio stations

INDIA

p32 Journalists are taking a lesson from U.S. media’s ‘Trump problem’

JAPAN

p34 The Asahi’s retreat from investigative journalism may mean Japanese media’s days are numbered

HONG KONG

p41 Hong Kong’s media environment will be more like the mainland, with censorship and selfcensorship to follow

CAMBODIA

p40 Both the government and Government looks to Trump as a model against press freedom

PHILIPPINES

p28 Fact-checkers cannot keep pace with Duterte’s unsubstantiated information and falsehoods

THAILAND

p37 Both the government and The death of Thailand’s longest-serving government reporter is a reminder of challenges ahead

MALAYSIA p29 Media struggle against digital changes, censorship and attacks on press freedom

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focus

CHINA

The rise of Alibaba’s media empire

Jack Ma’s money is transforming Chinese journalism — for better and for worse. Story by Yizhen Jia | Illustration by Freepik | Edited by Elaine Ramirez and Jay Hartwell

When Jack Ma bought the South China Morning Post Group and

while users could click the advertisements into Taobao’s system,

e-commerce giant Alibaba was expanding a media investment

companies also announced that their cooperation would bring

which made shopping and payments more convenient. The two

all its assets two years ago, the founder and chair of Chinese

$380 million in marketing and e-commerce revenue for Weibo in

strategy that had begun earlier in Mainland China.

next three years.

Alibaba already had invested heavily in Chinese media, from

printed press to financial media, social media and online video.

In 2015, Alibaba invested in China Business Network (CBN),

Ma told Bloomberg that Alibaba needed media to help promote his

one of the country’s most influential financial media. Alibaba

from the money for operations and data to forecast the economy.

produces professional data reports. It also launched data news

small and medium-size companies, while the media would benefit Ma’s purchase reminded observers that money is a double-

edged sword: an operational necessity but a threat to journalism’s independence. “Still, the journalist is on the weak side in this

balance of power with the capital,” Shirley Yam, vice chairperson

combined its big data and media by establishing CBNData, which projects, such as DTcaijing digging data news of business trends, consumption and technology, and TheRisingLab focusing on city and business data.

Yimei Mao, a data journalist at TheRisingLab, said she used data

of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, told N3 Magazine.

derived from public information, government statistics and Taobao

Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, for $586 million. Claiming over

big cities, comparing costs of brands of baby products in different

In April 2013, Alibaba purchased an 18 percent stake in

300 million monthly active users, Sina Weibo is an important

platform for Alibaba to promote e-commerce on social media.

After the investment, people could log in to Weibo directly with

their accounts on Taobao, one of China’s biggest online shopping platforms owned by Alibaba. Sellers could advertise products

data. Mao covered news about the cost of raising a child in China’s

cities, using charts and graphics based on Taobao consumption data. Providing the sources for the data was not meant to be an Alibaba

promotion, Mao said, but a necessity so that readers would know the source of the data to judge its credibility.

Alibaba investments in media-content and distribution businesses

Beijing South China Youth Daily Morning Post Business Review

i.wshang.com

thecover.cn

2010

2011

2012

2013 Sina Weibo 590M

Deals with unknown details Deals with known details * Including Economic Weekly, Blogweekly, and Portrait

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2014

2015

Wasu Huayi Media Brothers 1,100M 240M

BOYA Books*

● ●

2016

Youku China Business Tudou 4,500M News 190M Tango Huxiu.com Snapchat 36Kr.com 200M 20M 150M 220M China Enlight Media Vision Media 380M 800M


“Media’s pressure to survive is enormous, and I think Alibaba’s acquisition just conforms to the trend.” Anonymous journalist, South China Morning Post Alibaba’s big data platform made it easier for her team to mine

data, she said. “Nowadays, one big barrier to reporting data news is it’s hard to get original data,” she said. “If internet companies

open more data to media, it will be beneficial for media to analyze

SCMP under Alibaba dropped its paywall to allow free

access to all articles, a benefit for growing its global readership, according to Alibaba and SCMP’s announcement.

The journalist also said Ma was a very friendly businessman

business phenomena.”

to Beijing, and buying SCMP was obviously not for profit, while

business data reports, ranging from analysis of internet insurance

operations. “Media’s pressure to survive is enormous, and I think

Since December 2015, CBNData has released more than 100

to Chinese consumption of imported goods. On its home page, two full screen images slide back and forth with data report headlines. Both screens include the logo of Tmall, another e-commerce platform operated by Alibaba.

Yu Dai, chief data news editor of the Shanghai Observer, said

that opening the big data platform also was good public relations for enterprises. “If there are free platforms open to the media,

then the media’s direct reports can be corporate promotion, and it also reflects the data quality of the companies,” said Dai.

Alibaba’s media sprawl extends past the domestic market. Its

purchase of the SCMP in December 2015 may have been a first step to promote its corporate image overseas.

Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, said

the media outlet got its much-needed investment to maintain Alibaba’s acquisition just conforms to the trend,” he said

Alibaba is one of several examples of capital “marrying”

media. In 2013, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Earlier, Warren Buffett spent $344 million on 28 daily newspapers.

“Capital’s influence on media is huge,” said Yam of the Hong

Kong Journalists Association. “Traditional media need capital more than online media need capital.”

Yam also said self-censorship was the key issue for Hong

Kong’s media industry nowadays, as journalists guess what the boss or editor does or does not want, and self-censor before submitting articles.

The market is so small in Hong Kong that media outlets cannot

in an interview with SCMP that this acquisition would combine

survive on their own or have a long-term business model, Yam

excellence, to help the world better understand China as well as

you look at the media in U.S., the market itself will be able to

Alibaba’s digital and technological strength with SCMP’s editorial Alibaba’s business.

The biggest effect of the sale to Alibaba was that SCMP’s

said. “That’s different from the media in bigger markets. When justify the survival of the media.”

“There is no way you can avoid the way capital influences

strategy became “Go Global,” said a SCMP journalist who

media’s independence, because the capital is the dominating voice

SCMP requires us to report with more ‘Internet thinking,’ which

report the facts and try to do so as much as possible.” 

requested anonymity. “Our paywall has been removed, and

means pleasing Internet audiences so that they are more willing to share.”

nowadays,” Yam said. “The only thing journalists can do is to

Yizhen Jia is a journalist in Hong Kong. She can be reached at jyzjane@126.com.

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PHILIPPINES

Fact-checkers can’t keep up with Philippines’ Duterte

The most difficult challenge for journalists covering Rodrigo Duterte is making sure they do not let themselves be used to peddle fake information. Story by Ellen T. Tordesillas | Illustration by Shutterstock.com | Edited by Jay Hartwell President Duterte is often loose with facts.

Daily Inquirer, the country’s top two media outfits, for continuing

barangay (village) elections and instead personally appoint village

which he never explained and for “slanting” stories on drug-related,

A month ago, for example, he justified his plan to cancel

leaders by saying 40 percent of the more than 42,000 barangay captains are involved in the drug trade — as either addicts,

to report about his bank accounts containing billions of pesos extra-judicial killing.

His Communications Secretary, Martin Andanar, also

producers or both.

accused Senate beat reporters of taking bribes to cover the press

His spokesperson was no help, and said the president is privy to

Duterte of being behind the Davao Death Squad.

He did not cite any study to back up the alarming number.

confidential information.

A barangay is the smallest unit of government in the

Philippines, ranging in size from 2,000 people in the provinces

to 247,000 in Caloocan City in metropolitan Manila. It’s a crucial

conference of former policeman Arturo Lascañas, who accused

To be sure, Duterte is not the only Philippine leader who has

complained about local media, which are considered among the freest in Asia.

Former President Benigno Aquino III often complained of

component of Philippine society because barangay captains,

reporters not writing about his government’s accomplishments.

the masses.

Arroyo, filed libel suits against more than 40 journalists who wrote

elected by the people every three years, are the ones in touch with Duterte’s plan to appoint them, doing away with elections,

would be a violation of the Constitution and would undermine democracy. It is seen as another step toward authoritarianism. Fact-checkers cannot keep pace, given the frequency with

which Duterte spews unsubstantiated information and oftentimes outright falsehoods.

Given that propagandists believe that a lie becomes truth

if repeated enough, a journalist, by repeatedly reporting and

quoting Duterte’s false claims, inadvertently becomes a peddler of fake information.

Duterte is not an easy public figure to cover. We are not

talking about his cursing or his penchant for talking for hours or

holding midnight press conferences that last until the wee hours

of the morning. What is troubling is the culture of impunity he is perpetuating by his words and actions.

His war on drugs is premised on dubious, unsubstantiated

Former President Gloria Arroyo, through her husband Mike

stories critical of them. Former President Joseph Estrada sued The Manila Times for libel and initiated an advertising boycott against the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

But Duterte is the only president to have been accused of

directly ordering the killing of a journalist — Jun Pala, a vocal critic when Duterte was Davao City mayor.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and other

media organizations slammed Duterte for justifying the killing of

journalists who, he said, are “sons-of-bitches” as he had called Pala.

He once dared journalists: “Kill journalism. Stop journalism

in this country, if you’re worth your salt. If not, you look pathetic and scared.”

A journalist’s job is to hold accountable those who are in

power through truthful, responsible reporting. That becomes more urgent, but more difficult, with President Duterte. 

data. His “Kill, Kill” solution to the drug problem shows disdain for due process. His public support for police who have killed without

due process creates an attitude in which they flout the law and get away with it.

Last month, Duterte lambasted ABS-CBN and the Philippine

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Ellen T. Tordesillas is a writer and trustee of VERA Files, a group that produces in-depth reports on current affairs in the Philippines and currently implements the country’s only sustained fact-checking project. She also writes a column for the broadsheet Malaya Malaya Business Insight, the tabloid Abante and ABS-CBN online. She can be reached at ellentordesillas@gmail.com.


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MALAYSIA

Fighting the next battle

Malaysian journalists battle to stay relevant in a digital world while contending with censorship and rising attacks on press freedom. Story by Boo Su-lyn | Illustration by Shutterstock.com | Edited by Jay Hartwell Journalism in Malaysia is in disarray. At a time when we should

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is also secretary-

be figuring out how to prevent our profession from becoming

general for the federal opposition party the Democratic Action

here and around the world are competing with non-journalists

Sin Chew Daily over a report on Lim’s political rival, Malaysian

obsolete, some of us seem content to be stenographers. Journalists who have the power to “publish” news themselves on social media that can reach massive audiences.

So, why do we still need journalists when people can get

Party (DAP), issued a legal notice to the Chinese-language paper People’s Movement Party (Gerakan) Penang Chairman Teng Chang Yeow.

The Malaysian Home Ministry recently issued a show-cause

information directly from newsmakers’ Facebook pages? Of course,

letter to Nanyang Siang Pau over the Chinese-language daily’s

rarely go beyond the headline and the first paragraph.

Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president to enhance Shariah courts’

journalists put things in perspective and context, but readers

And since we have to take time to verify facts, non-journalists

can get news out much faster than journalists. “Fake news” is

frequently shared on Facebook and WhatsApp, popular social

caricature of the RUU355 debacle — a bill moved by the Pan-

punitive powers — that depicted the PAS president, the House of Representatives speaker and other lawmakers as monkeys.

The government decided not to take any action against

media platforms that are more “go-to” news sources in Malaysia

Nanyang since the paper apologized, but the show-cause letter

are on Facebook, and in Southeast Asia they spend the most time

freedom of expression.

than traditional media outlets. More than 18 million Malaysians watching videos on their smartphones.

While we battle to keep ourselves relevant in this ever-

changing age of information and “content,” Malaysian journalists also must contend with censorship and rising attacks on press

freedom. Malaysia ranked 146th out of 180 countries on the 2016

should not have been issued in the interest of press freedom and It’s difficult for the press to be independent in a country where

the government wields control over mainstream media and

where readers refuse to pay for journalism, satisfied instead with free “content.”

Meanwhile, as advertisers shift from newspapers to Facebook

World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without

where they enjoy access to target consumer groups, online

newsrooms, the blocking of news websites, and government

media to be sustainable and independent without the largesse of

Borders, which highlighted police raids against Malaysian lawsuits against media outlets.

The Home Ministry issued a three-month suspension order

advertisements yield paltry revenue. It is hard for Malaysian politically connected investors or owners.

It is also disheartening to see the lack of media solidarity in

against The Edge Financial Daily and The Edge Weekly in 2015

Malaysia on issues like censorship when all journalists, regardless

Development Berhad.

to their work. This is especially pertinent as politicians from both

over their reports of a Malaysian state investment firm, 1Malaysia

of political inclination, should join hands to speak up on dangers sides attack the media.

Yet some of us keep silent when fellow journalists are berated

by opposition politicians at press conferences or lose their jobs

when their company is shut down following state action. There

appears to be a lack of willpower to stand together as the Fourth Estate and to hold people in power accountable.

If the Malaysian media is to progress as a dynamic institution,

we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves, decide if we really want to be journalists, and figure out how to overcome the issues plaguing the industry. 

Bu Soo-lyn is an assistant news editor at Malay Mail Online. She can be reached at sulyn@themalaymailonline.com.

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CHINA

For journalism in China, a millennial shift Many of the old reporters have deserted, leaving inexperience in their wake. Story by David Bandurski | Edited by Jay Hartwell Two years ago in Hong Kong, I sat around a conference

table with some of the finest journalists to have worked in

the Chinese media in the past two decades. They had broken

major stories of corruption, malfeasance and cruelty, and who

had, in the process, shaped the contemporary history of Chinese journalism — a history in which, from time to time, a broader

notion of the public interest won out against the narrow interests of the Party-state.

Now, however, all of them were busy with start-ups having

little or nothing to do with journalism. The low point for me came when one seasoned former reporter said with some bitterness: “I no longer think of myself as a journalist at all.”

Over the past few years, much of the experience the

journalism profession in China has gained since the 1990s has

been hollowed out by deeper economic, political and technological shifts in the media industry.

Many factors have driven an exodus of older talent from

China’s media, from poor pay and the digital transformation of the industry  —  now hitting traditional Chinese media that for many years had seemed protected from the storms buffeting media

elsewhere in the world  —  to the vagaries of censorship, which can sap the professional spirit. But the net effect of this shift is the progressive loss of professional journalism capacity in China’s media.

That capacity could take many long years to rebuild,

particularly if the stringent controls we’ve seen under President Xi Jinping continue into the next decade.

Falling pay (relative to cost of living) and rising pressure mean

the entire journalism profession is skewing younger in China. A

2016 survey by PR Newswire showed that more than 80 percent of the “front-line journalists” reporting the news in China were

born after 1985, meaning they were 30 years old or younger. By

contrast, a survey of journalists in the U.S., conducted in 2013 by

the School of Journalism at Indiana University, showed the median age had risen from 41 to 47 since 2002.

Just over 80 percent of the Chinese journalists surveyed for the

PR Newswire study  —  1,477 in all  —  reported monthly income

below 10,000 yuan ($1,450). To put these numbers in perspective, this means incomes for Chinese journalists haven’t budged

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from a decade ago, when Chinese media were heading toward the tail end of what had been a “golden decade” of journalism

development, and when housing prices and other costs in major cities were a fraction of what they are today.

Last month, the youthfulness of China’s journalists became a

topic of renewed debate on social media in China after former FT

China editor-in-chief Zhang Lifen said at the Bo’ao Forum for Asia

Annual Conference that while the journalism profession anywhere in the world must rely on cumulative experience, journalists

in China treat the job as a “young rice bowl” profession  —  in

other words, as something to be endured only for a few years

early in a career before one moves on to a job with real pay and a real future.

Zhang noted how, during coverage of the annual National

People’s Congress that same month, many young Chinese

journalists had become distracted from the story at hand, pulling

delegates (some of whom are celebrities) aside to pose for selfies. “Watching them, old journalists like us thought on the one hand that they were just having fun,” said Zhang, “but on the other hand that this was really not how journalists should behave.” Is Chinese journalism, on top of all of its other problems,

plagued with youth and inexperience?

These questions about journalism in China as a “young rice

bowl” profession have been kicked around for a number of years now. Following the disappearance in March 2014 of Malaysia

Airlines Flight 370, a story that drew intense interest in China, many internet users were appalled by the inability of Chinese

journalists to get valuable scoops like those reported by the likes of CNN, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

For many, the failure of Chinese media to compete in reporting

the MH370 incident, a story of core interest to the domestic audience, exposed the callowness and incompetence of the country’s journalists. These were not just days of disaster for the aviation world  —  they were “days of disaster for Chinese media.”

These “days of disaster” have persisted since 2014, as Chinese

media have remained virtually silent on major breaking stories

of the kind that in years past might have drawn more aggressive coverage. During this period, only the Tianjin explosions in

August 2015 have offered a notable exception to the lull in quality


reporting by China’s domestic media. The explosions were a story

controls, now more stringent and more effective than at any time

area, that coverage was impossible to quell entirely.

of the profession.

of such immense scale, unfolding in a highly populated urban

Some point out that there is also a pre-existing bias toward

in the past two decades, have a constraining effect on all aspects The Chinese Communist Party has no interest, ultimately, in

younger professionals in hiring for media jobs. Many media

more professional reporting. As President Xi Jinping emphasized

prioritizing applicants “under the age of 35.”

“sing the main theme and transmit positive energy.” They must, in

in China, old and new, routinely advertise journalism jobs by Using age as a hiring standard, according to an article on

a WeChat public account, might seem understandable given

in his speech on media policy in February 2016, the media must

other words, be obedient servants of the Party and its objectives. All three of the reasons cited in the recent WeChat article

the fiercely competitive nature of the news profession, which

for journalism becoming a “young rice bowl” profession in

stories, or to get print editions out the door. The pressures of the

prospects  —  might be resolved if the industry was permitted to

sometimes requires late or unpredictable shifts to cover breaking media workplace can demand a great deal of journalists, and

younger staff are better equipped  —  or so the argument goes — to handle that pressure.

Even if all of the above were true, energy is no substitute for

experience. If better, more professional reporting is the desired

outcome, young journalists need the benefit of working with older and more seasoned colleagues.

The discussion inside China of the reasons for journalism’s

flagging appeal among older   professionals tends not to dwell on censorship, the elephant in the room. But the fact is that media

Taste nature in 40 delicious organic teas

China  —  poor pay, health and well-being, and murky future

develop with a sense of professional purpose. The article, however, could only hint at this underlying malaise. “Before, we called

journalists the ‘uncrowned kings,’” it said. “Now, they are just the temp workers of journalism.” 

David Bandurski is editor of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre, and author of “Dragons in Diamond Village” (Penguin, 2015). This is a revision of an article originally published on Medium on April 25, 2017. Reprinted with permission. Bandurski can be reached at dbandurs@hku.hk.


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INDIA

U.S. media’s Trump challenge delivers a lesson for India

No other democratic society rivals India for neglecting evershrinking press freedoms.

Story by Urmilesh Illustration by Shutterstock.com Edited by Frances Fernandes

U.S. President Donald Trump’s combative attitude toward the

in India. Many private TV

employ the same tactics on Trump that they use when reporting

estate traders, havala (currency)

media prompted the editor of Reuters to urge journalists to on authoritarian regimes and areas of conflict.

In his guidance to reporters, Reuters’ editor-in-chief Steve

Adler said journalists should never be intimidated or pick

channels are funded by real

traders, industrialists, babas (so-called holy men, usually rich and politically ambitious) and politicians with undisclosed assets.

Such investments are stifling the press. Many private news

unnecessary fights, cover what matters in people’s lives and

channels sell tasteless entertainment and packages in the name of

preserve integrity, independence and freedom from bias.

has crept into print media.

provide them with facts to make better decisions, and always Adler was responding to tirades by Trump and his advisers calling

news rather than factual and useful information. This trend also Whereas the U.S. Constitution shields journalists and the

journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” “the

press, India provides no such constitutional protection. Only

thrown out of Trump campaign press conferences.

including the press.

opposition party” or “a terrible group of people.” Journalists were

In authoritarian regimes and developing democracies where

journalists lose their jobs and even their lives, Trump’s attitude would be the first step before putting reporters behind bars.

The tussle between the media and this U.S. administration

should concern democracies worldwide. This is happening in a country that — despite intrigue, attacks and plots to overturn

power in developing and underdeveloped nations — claims to be

article 19-1A guarantees freedom of expression for individuals, However, some dedicated journalists still work objectively

and earn public attention, even as others are busy sticking with the system.

The 21-month period (1975-77), when Prime Minister Indira

Gandhi unilaterally declared a state of emergency, was a shameful chapter in India’s history of individual and press freedom.

“When asked to bend, the media crawled during [Gandhi’s]

the world’s most vocal supporter of democracy and human rights.

Emergency,” remarked L.K. Advani, a senior leader of the ruling

whistleblowers, it ranks 41st among 180 countries in the World

the media bows before the administrative and political bosses

Despite the U.S.’s controversial record of punishing

Press Freedom Index. India stands at 133. Indeed, these spats

between Trump and the media are relevant to the Indian press.

India’s mainstream media rarely takes up its pens to protect

freedom of the press. No other democratic society rivals India for neglecting ever-shrinking press freedoms.

Indian media, like those in the U.S., have been corporatized.

Although journalists in the two countries interpret freedom of press differently.

A group of White House journalists cautioned Trump in an

open letter: “You may decide that giving reporters access to your

administration has no upside. We think that would be a mistake on your part. ... We are very good at finding alternative ways to get

information; indeed, some of the best reporting during the campaign came from news organizations that were banned from your rallies.”

Bharatiya Janata Party. Today, even without being asked to bend, rather than serving the people.

In recent years, the government has indicated some support

for press freedom. In May 2013, the information technology

department’s parliamentary standing committee issued a detailed

study on the internal structure of paid news and the media. Since then media outlets in several states have been severely criticized for publishing “paid news.”

Although the parliamentary committee report proposed

several important suggestions about investment in the Indian

media and cross-media ownership, neither the government nor

the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have acted. As

a result, media owners and the government have rendered Indian media powerless. 

In India, where media companies, outlets and journalists consider

access to high-level officials necessary for good journalism, media owners tend to use editors and journalists for their commercial advantage. Any editor who balks is shown the door.

Crony capitalism poses a major threat to media and democracy

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Urmilesh is a senior Hindi journalist and presenter of Rajya Sabha TV’s weekly Hindi program “Media Manthan.” This is a revision of an article originally published by The Wire on Feb. 9, 2017. Reprinted with permission. The original article was translated from Hindi by Naushin Rehman. Urmilesh can be reached at urmilesh218@gmail.com.


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SOUTH KOREA

Korean press still struggles against deep roots of corruption New media selling points are emotion and opinions rather than facts and analyses. Story by Jane Kim Photo courtesy of Yonhap News via Bloomberg Edited by Frances Fernandes and Elaine Ramirez

Choi Soon-sil, accused of masterminding government decisions during the Park Geun-hye administration, is said to have ordered a defamation indictment against a Japanese journalist for reporting on Park’s clandestine meeting during the Sewol ferry disaster.

Ever since the Park Chung-hee administration of the 1960s and

‘70s, South Korea’s mainstream media has exhibited propagandistic manipulation, ranging from corrupt ties with businesses and politicians to deliberately falsified reporting.

Park funded the newspaper Chosun Ilbo, now the top con-

servative daily, and also instituted laws that enabled government

officials to appoint executives of nationally owned broadcast out-

lets. Today, most mainstream broadcasters and newspapers remain under the conservative political party’s grips.

Decades after the authoritarian regime instilled favoritism and

media control, media-politicking retains a grip on most Korean

media to this day, said Ahn Soo-chan, chief editor of the progressive, opposition weekly newsmagazine Hankyoreh21.

Longstanding media censorship

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016 found that 54

percent of Koreans do not think that “the news media of their country is independent from undue political or government influence most of the time.” Korea, the U.S. and Malaysia emerge as the only countries with half or more of the nation distrustful of their media.

The Park Geun-hye scandal exemplified corruption in Korean

mainstream news providers. Choi Soon-sil, accused of master-

minding governmental policy and decision making during Park’s administration, ordered a defamation indictment of Japanese

journalist Tatsuya Kato, Seoul bureau chief of Sankei Shimbun, for reporting an alleged, secret, seven-hour meeting between

President Park, Chung Yoon-hoi and Choi after the sinking of the

Sewol ferry. Chung, Choi’s ex-husband, is accused of blackmailing a private media outlet to suppress documentation of the apparent intervention in governmental affairs.

In 2012, a group of veteran journalists launched The Korea

Center for Investigative Journalism, the first, online, nonprofit,

investigative reporting organization in South Korea. The center,

which runs the website Newstapa, delved into illicit activity in the Park campaign and Twitter abuse of campaign workers for today’s

presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in. Park affiliates were convicted of spreading libelous Twitter claims and rumors. More recently, Newstapa revealed that Moon’s camp rehired the same people convicted for the Twitter incident four years ago.

Social media for bypassing suppression

The internet is allowing a diversity of independent voices to

thrive. Guk Beom-geun, a student at the progressive SungKongHoe University, started G-Pictures when he was in high school. He is featured on his media channel as a candid political commenta-

tor, garnering 45,000 YouTube followers and more than 73,000 Facebook fans.

Some see a positive in this development. The recent boost in

citizens’ awareness level presents a brighter outlook for the nation, said journalist and author Daniel Tudor: “A positive outcome of the Park scandal is it is creating an opportunity to move on from Park Chung-hee.”

The massive citizen demonstrations over the Park scandal have

caught the attention of politicians, wrote SungKongHoe University political science professor and columnist Kim Dong-choon. He saw the public outcry as a sign that Korea is undergoing an unprecedented, highly critical time in history.

Although Guk admitted to having political biases, he said he

is concerned that the proliferation of alternative media may lead

to greater political polarization. “(It’s) seeing what you want and believing what you want,” he said.

These are inherent problems with the new media, said Ahn of

Hankyoreh21. “Their selling points are emotion and opinionated argument rather than facts and analyses.”

Because of its very accessibility, he said, “there is no filtration

to ensure the reliance of these sources … unlike the research and fact-checking that certified corporations can afford to filter their materials through.”

Chungnam University professor Kim Jae-young, who was

jailed as a student activist during Chun Doo-hwan’s authoritarian regime, doesn’t see much difference between “the repetitive projections for elections” in 2012 and today.

The internet’s impact on politics is a “double-edged sword,

indeed,” said Kim. 

Jane Kim can be reached at janekimjiyeon@gmail.com.

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JAPAN

Sinking Japan’s bold foray into watchdog journalism

The Asahi’s decision to punish its own journalists will discourage others from taking the same risks inherent in investigative reporting. Story by Martin Fackler | Photo courtesy of Bloomberg | Edited by Jay Hartwell

It seemed like compelling journalism: a major investigative story

newspaper for his investigative prowess. Yorimitsu taped a sign to

newspaper, about workers fleeing the Fukushima nuclear plant

Pooches Proclamation” — a vow that his reporters would not be

published by The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest daily against orders.

It was the work of a newly expanded, special investigative

pets of the press clubs, but journalistic watchdogs.

The Investigative Reporting Section won Japan’s top journalism

section that the newspaper had promoted with fanfare to regain

award two years in a row for its exposure of official coverups and

nuclear power plant in March 2011, when the Asahi and other

crippled when a huge earthquake and tsunami knocked out vital

readers’ trust after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi media were criticized for repeating the official line that the government had everything under control.

The team had been producing award-winning journalism for

three years, but the story on the workers would be the last for

some of its reporters. And its publication in May 2014 would mark the demise of an effort by a major Japanese news organization to embrace more independent journalism.

Asahi’s retreat raised doubts about whether watchdog

journalism — an enterprise that seeks to expose and challenge the powerful — is possible in Japan’s national media, which are tied to the country’s political establishment.

The editors at the Asahi, considered the “quality paper”

shoddy decontamination work around the nuclear plant, which was cooling systems. The section’s journalism hoped to attract younger readers for the 7 million-reader Asahi and Japan’s other national

dailies. These publications, the largest circulation newspapers in the world, face declining sales.

However, two years later, the Asahi retreated from this foray.

In September 2014, the newspaper retracted the story it had

published in May about workers fleeing the Fukushima plant

against orders, punishing reporters and editors responsible for the story, slashing the size of the new section’s staff and forcing the

resignation of the newspaper’s president, an ex-reporter who had supported the investigative push.

A newspaper-appointed committee of outside experts later

favored by intellectuals, knew the culture they were facing, but

declared that the article, which the Asahi had trumpeted as a

nuclear plant disaster as the opportunity to launch an experiment

“an excessive sense of mission that they ‘must monitor authority.’”

they saw the public disillusionment in Japan that followed the to reframe journalism.

No more pooches

In October 2011 the newspaper gathered 30 hand-picked

historic scoop, was flawed because journalists had demonstrated While the section was not closed, its output of investigative

articles dropped as the remaining journalists were barred from writing about Fukushima.

journalists into its still experimental section dedicated to

Emasculating the Asahi

favor ties with officials via press clubs. The clubs are usually

with 2,400 journalists that has been postwar Japan’s liberal media

investigative reporting, rare in a country whose national media restricted to those from major newspapers and broadcasters, who are stationed within government ministries and agencies to keep an eye on authority. In reality, the clubs do the opposite; turning

journalists into uncritical conduits for information and narratives

The abrupt about-face by the Asahi, a 138-year-old newspaper

flagship, was a victory for the administration of Prime Minister

Shinzo Abe, which had sought to silence criticism as it moved to

roll back Japan’s postwar pacifism and restart its nuclear industry. “In Japanese journalism, scoops usually just mean learning

from government officials.

from the ministry officials today what they intend to do

Takaaki Yorimitsu, who had been recruited from a smaller regional

section who quit the Asahi a year ago because he felt blocked from

The choice to head the newly augmented section was unusual:

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the newsroom door declaring “Datsu Pochi Sengen,” or “No More

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tomorrow,” said Makoto Watanabe, a former reporter in the


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A major investigative story in The Asahi Shimbun, which revealed workers fleeing the Fukushima nuclear plant against orders, created problems for the paper’s investigative team.

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Media scholars say most reporters in elite national newspapers

did not attend journalism school and spend their entire careers

within the same company. Until recently, a job at a national daily was seen as a safe career bet rather than a calling, as the Asahi and its competitors offered salaries and lifetime jobs similar to banks and automakers.

This result is that many Japanese journalists are unable to

resist pressures that officials put on them via the press clubs. doing investigative reporting. “We came up with different scoops that were unwelcome in the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Abe and his supporters on the nationalistic right seized on the

Asahi’s missteps in its Fukushima coverage to launch a barrage

Journalists who are deemed overly critical can find themselves barred from briefings given to other club members. This

sanction can break a career for missing a scoop that appeared in rival newspapers.

“When the chips were down, they saw themselves as elite

of criticism. The taming of the Asahi set off a series of moves by

company employees, not journalists,” said Yorimitsu, who after

commentators and newscasters.

supplement where he writes entertainment features.

major newspapers and television networks to remove outspoken Political interference in the media was one reason Reporters

the Fukushima article’s retraction was reassigned to a Saturday Media scholars and former section reporters believe the Asahi’s

Without Borders cited in lowering Japan from 11th out of

decision to punish its own journalists will discourage others from

press freedoms.

say the Asahi has lapsed into the access-driven ways of Japan’s

180 nations in 2010 to 72nd in the 2016 ranking of global “Emasculating the Asahi allowed Abe to impose a grim new

conformity on the media world,” said Koichi Nakano, a professor

taking the risks inherent in investigative reporting. Worse, they mainstream journalism.

“The Asahi retreated from its experiment in risky, high-quality

of politics at Sophia University in Tokyo and a critic of the

journalism, back into the safety of the press clubs,” said Tatsuro

once Asahi gave in, they were exposed and could be next. So they

Hanada was so dismayed by the Asahi’s retreat that he led the

administration on press freedom issues. “Other media know that gagged themselves.”

Some Asahi reporters and media scholars say the government

also was able to exploit weaknesses within Japanese journalism,

particularly its lack of professional solidarity and its emphasis on access-driven reporting. At the Asahi’s weakest moment, other

Hanada, a journalism professor at Waseda University in Tokyo.

establishment in 2016 of Japan’s first university-based center

for investigative journalism, The Waseda Chronicle. “It makes me think that the days of Japan’s huge national newspapers may be numbered.” 

national newspapers bashed it, while also trying to poach readers to shore up declining circulations.

The knockout blow came from within the Asahi, as reporters in

other sections turned against the investigative journalists. The new

section’s adversarial approach was resented for threatening the access — enjoyed by the Asahi as part of the mainstream media — to the administration and the central ministries that govern Japan.

Martin Fackler is a research fellow at the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a Tokyo-based think tank, and former Tokyo bureau chief for The New York Times. This is a revision of an article originally published by the Columbia Journalism Review on Oct. 25, 2016. Reprinted with permission. Fackler can be reached at martfack@gmail.com.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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focus

VIETNAM

Young Vietnamese see an ally in Facebook

Both the government and netizens have embraced Facebook to reach the internet-savvy population. Story by Dien Luong | Illustration by Edmund Ip | Edited by Jay Hartwell

In Vietnam, the opposition to dizzying development

boasts around 35 million local users, as a no-

heritages has found an ally: Facebook.

and open discussion has created catharsis online.

at the expense of natural attractions or colonial

In 2014, a Facebook petition garnered almost

“The internet infrastructure developed far

3,500 signatures to save the historical elements of

faster than the [Vietnamese] government’s ability

opened in 1924, before the developer demolished it

a Washington-based analyst who authored a

the Saigon Tax Trade Center, a colonial structure

to make way for a 40-story skyscraper. A year later,

Vietnamese netizens formed a mob on Facebook and thwarted a plan to chop down 6,700 trees in Hanoi. The backlash forced the government to cancel the plan and punish officials.

“Facebook has been nothing short of a revolution

in Vietnam,” said Tim Doling, a British historian

whose Facebook pages show thousands of historical and

current photos of heritage sites in Ho Chi Minh City. “There’s been a complete sea change in how people communicate online.”

Nearly 49 million people in Vietnam use the internet and 60

percent of the total population of nearly 92 million is under 35.

The Vietnamese government has embraced Facebook to reach the internet-savvy population.

“You’ve all got Facebook up on your phones to read

to regulate and control it,” said Zachary Abuza, 2015 paper about the media and civil society

in Vietnam. “There is nothing the government

can do to shut it down. And there are plenty of technical workarounds.”

Unlike China, which has blocked access

to the social network since 2009, “Vietnam is surprisingly different,” Abuza said.

In January, the Vietnamese Ministry of

Information and Communications issued a circular asking

Facebook and similar sites with a Vietnamese user base of over 1 million to “collaborate” with the authorities to block “toxic information.” Under Vietnamese laws, such information

ranges from ads for banned products to anti-state content and state secrets.

Under its new directive, the Vietnamese government gives

information,” then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung Dung told his

Facebook up to 48 hours to block information falling under its

accurate information online immediately.”

when information poses a threat, authorities have the right to

cabinet at a 2015 meeting. “We cannot ban it. ... We must publish Since then, top officials from the ruling Communist Party

have warned the press against trailing behind technology,

urging them to capitalize on the internet and social media to spread the party’s messages.

The government has set up its own Facebook page to update

the public on its policies or to livestream cabinet meetings

where decisions on hot-button issues are made. The authorities have also deployed a group known as the “public opinion

shapers” to gauge public sentiment on Facebook and to deal with “online hostile forces.”

Even the police, the target of widespread flak after their staff’s

misconduct was exposed online, utilize the platform. In Danang

and Ho Chi Minh City, the police use Facebook as a venue for the public to report traffic-related information or crimes.

Analysts see Vietnam’s move to embrace Facebook, which

36

nonsense move in a country where space for free

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purview. Failure to do so allows local authorities to act. But block it immediately.

Despite these issues, many Vietnamese have not budged from

using the platform to spread their messages.

Tran Huu Khoa, who initiated the online petition that called

for the preservation of the now-defunct Saigon Tax Trade Center, said he would continue to make the most of Facebook to rally

support for changing attitudes about urban development. He also has joined groups that raise awareness among students about protecting the environment and heritage.

“I’m optimistic that a strong civil movement is growing in

Vietnam,” Khoa said. 

This is a revision of an article originally published by VnExpress International on Feb. 2, 2017. Reprinted with permission. Dien Luong can be reached at dnl2117@columbia.edu.


focus

THAILAND

The death of Big Sister Yu and rise of singalong journalism

Yuwadee Tunyasiri’s death gives reason for mourning as well as concern for journalism’s future. Story by Pravit Rojanaphruk | Photo courtesy of Bloomberg | Edited by Jay Hartwell The death of Thailand’s longest-serving government reporter was

a loss to Thai journalism and a reminder of the challenges ahead.

Yuwadee Tunyasiri, Jae Yu or Big Sister Yu, had covered 20 prime

ministers spanning 49 years for the Bangkok Post and the now-

defunct Bangkok World since 1969. She saw prime ministers and

dictators come and go. Her career began covering one dictator, Field Marshall Thanom Kittikachorn, and ended with another, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.

In my eyes, Yuwadee, who died March 10 at 71, was a

capable but unexceptional reporter. Yet what made her stand out was that most Government House beat reporters were far less critical of sitting prime ministers, dictators or not.

In Thailand, many Government House beat reporters are

young, inexperienced and chummy with the sitting prime minister.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.

the position. During this military regime, one recalls Government

Correspondents’ Club of Thailand and Indochina bureau chief for the

They find themselves bamboozled by the power and prestige of House beat reporters singing along with Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth last year, or dressing up as school kids to greet and

Straits Times — ­ were relocated last year to cover Trump.

In Thailand, it’s common to become a Government House

“surprise” Prayuth on National Children’s Day.

beat reporter after 12 months of experience. New kids at

She made news last May for murmuring behind Prayuth’s back:

fellow beat reporters who have grown into influential figures with

Yuwadee did not dress like a schoolgirl to sing with Prayuth.

“Press freedom is people’s freedom.” This led Prayuth to warn her to “watch out.”

A few months after that, Yuwadee, who worked on a

Government House must toe the line. The pressure comes from

cozy relationships with government officials at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Ask sharp or hard-hitting questions to Prayuth and you

freelance basis after retirement, was unable to continue reporting.

may get away with it if you were Yuwadee, due to decades of

regulation that any reporter working at the PM’s office must have

by senior peers if they try to ask critical questions to the prime

The military-occupied Government House came up with a new a paper verifying that they’re employed by a bona fide media organization. That was on Oct. 31, 2016, four months before Yuwadee succumbed to internal bleeding.

Yuwadee was a recognizable face on television, asking hard-

hitting questions to prime ministers over the years. One now

worries what will become of the quality of coverage of Prayuth with so many sing-along reporters surrounding him.

The majority of Thai media organizations keep young

reporters there because they are cheap and the editors can instruct them on what to ask the prime minister. In contrast, experienced veteran reporters cover America’s White House. Two longtime

Bangkok-based foreign correspondents — Steven Herman of the

Voice of America and Nirmal Ghosh, former President of the Foreign

experience and old age. Young reporters risk becoming ostracized minister, a reporter from Government House — who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from other news

organizations — lamented to me after hearing about Yuwadee’s fatal illness.

Government House is thus a breeding ground for sing-along

journalism and the passing of Yuwadee is not just a reason to

mourn but to be very concerned about what will become of the quality of journalism on that important beat. 

Pravit Rojanaphruk is a senior staff writer at Khaosod English. This is a revision of an article originally published by Khaosod English on March 18, 2017. Reprinted with permission. The writer can be reached at pravit@khaosodenglish.com.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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37


focus

SOUTH KOREA

How South Korean media stampeded a president Opposition media’s herd mentality fueled protesters, the true authors of Park Geun-hye’s downfall. Story by Andrew Salmon | Illustration by Shutterstock.com Photo courtesy of Bloomberg | Edited by Elaine Ramirez

It was a first in South Korean history when the democratically

scenes role of Park’s shadowy confidante, Choi Soon-sil, came

and cronyism, was booted from presidential office. She now

powerful Joongang Media Group, which has familial connections

elected Park Geun-hye, having allegedly spun a web of corruption languishes in a holding cell, disgraced and despised, awaiting trial on criminal charges. (Contrary to popular belief, she has not been found guilty, thus far.)

The authors of her downfall were less the Constitutional Court

judges, and more the millions of protesters whose candles illuminated

to the mighty Samsung Group). JTBC acquired a tablet PC

allegedly owned by Choi, packed with apparently incriminating

evidence. Rarely is one media outlet so gifted with a source. JTBC published. The bomb detonated.

JTBC led the charge. Outlets from across the political spectrum

central Seoul every Saturday for months. The demonstrations were

leapt aboard the bandwagon as it surged onward. A photographer

for their size. A confederation of NGOs and civic groups formed the

hours to capture a photo of a Park ally enjoying a relaxed chat

as remarkable for their nonviolent, festive ambience as they were organizational skeleton for the protests. Who put the flesh on the bones by drawing such colossal numbers?

Many Koreans are wary of their institutions. The office of the

presidency is notoriously corrupt – every single president since

1948 has suffered scandals in office or immediately after leaving office that have led to exile, suicide or jailing of themselves or

family members. Parliamentarians are detested. The judiciary is distrusted. Then there is media.

One reason why online conspiracy theorizing wins such

traction in Korea may be because mainstream media is so

from Korea’s leading daily perched in a virtual sniper’s nest for

with prosecutors — rather than the stern interrogation the public

demanded. Media competed furiously to scoop anything negative on Park. Did she — shock! — have plastic surgery from non-

presidentially approved surgeons? Did she — horror! — demand a dedicated toilet during overseas trips?

Story followed story; allegation followed allegation. “At least the

media have not failed us!” said one pundit, voiding a widespread fear (subsequently disproven) that Korean institutions were too weak, pusillanimous or compromised to overthrow a president.

But where was the opposing voice? Was there no case to make

distrusted. Seoul maintains executive control over terrestrial

on Park’s behalf? Reading media, one would assume her guilty of

emasculated, as conglomerates leverage ad budgets to quash

certain players — some of whom appear to be prejudiced sources

broadcasters, and it is an open secret that business coverage is negative reportage.

Demonstrations were ignited when the allegedly, behind-the-

38

to light. That fuse was lit by cable TV station JTBC (part of the

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Issue 2

all charges. The veracity of some evidence and the motivations of — went unquestioned.

Absent vernacular coverage, it fell largely to foreign writers, in


such outlets as Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic and CNN, to question the virulence of public sentiment, the lack of an opposing voice and the equanimity of the justices. (To be fair: Some of these reports were translated and ran in Korean media.)

Now, the dust is settling. Soon, the judiciary will judge Park.

Later, posterity will judge the judiciary. Meanwhile, in covering the scandal, South Korea’s media have asserted their independence from political control, and some of their investigative reporting practices should be lauded.

However, questions hang over partisanship — even of a herd

mentality — in Korean media. Moreover, the role of the media

in responding to, or perhaps formulating, the all-powerful force of public sentiment needs to be explored as we gain a more

distant vantage point from which to dispassionately assess this extraordinary drama. 

Demonstrations for and against then-President Park Geun-hye were ignited by media coverage.

Andrew Salmon, MBE, is the Seoul correspondent for France24’s English service, a columnist and an author. He can be reached at imjin.river@gmail.com.

AAJA-Asia thanks our venue partner

Journalism and Media Studies Centre The University of Hong Kong for hosting the 7th Annual New.Now.Next Media Conference

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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focus

CAMBODIA

Cambodian government looks to Trump in threatening foreign news outlets The White House’s faceoff with U.S. media gives Phnom Penh backing for its attack on ‘anarchy.’ Story by Mike Ives | Illustration by Shutterstock.com | Edited by Jay Hartwell In a sign that President Donald Trump’s criticism of the news media may be having a ripple effect overseas, a government

spokesman in Cambodia has cited the U.S. leader in threatening

to shutter foreign news outlets, including some that receive money from Washington.

The spokesman, Phay Siphan, said that foreign news groups,

including the U.S.-financed Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, should “reconsider” how they broadcast — or risk a government response if their reports spread disinformation or threatened

journalists already face official intimidation, such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Rohit Mahajan, the director of public affairs for Radio Free

Asia, said the organization planned to “continue bringing the

people of Cambodia independent, credible and honest journalism.” “The government’s efforts to deter and discourage RFA and our

esteemed media colleagues only further underscore the need for free press in Cambodia,” Mahajan said.

In 2012, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia were

peace and stability.

summoned to a closed-door meeting with Cambodian officials to

including The New York Times, CNN and Politico, from a briefing

Borders. Topics at the meeting included news coverage of the

The White House decision to bar several news outlets,

in February, Phay said in a Facebook post, “is based on the power and mandate of the state.”

The decision, he wrote, “sends a clear message” that Trump

“sees that news broadcast by those media outlets does not reflect the truth, which is the responsibility of professional journalists.”

“Freedom of expression,” he wrote, “is subject to the law and

must respect the state’s power.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen echoed the remarks but stopped short

of threatening to close problematic news outlets, according to a report in The Phnom Penh Post newspaper.

Hun Sen, who has been in office for 32 years, has relied on

brutality and intimidation to stay in power, according to rights

discuss their “professionalism,” according to Reporters Without

2012 killing of Chut Wutty, a Cambodian environmental activist, and the sentencing that year of Mam Sonando, the owner of a

Cambodian radio station that had

criticized Hun Sen, to 20 years in prison on charges of instigating

insurrection and other offenses.

In a speech in Phnom Penh, the

capital, Hun Sen appeared to liken

his views on the news media to those of Trump.

Cambodia respects rights linked

groups. Critics say that his government is now using Trump’s words

to the rule of law “but not the rights

adding that the move could herald a new tactic in efforts to suppress

the Phnom Penh Post. Referring to the

to justify a crackdown on critical news coverage before two elections, free speech by governments in Southeast Asia and beyond.

The Facebook comments “show pretty clearly that as soon as

there are perceptions that the U.S. has wavered on its commitment to press freedom, then countries with authoritarian tendencies are very quick to abandon any pretense of allowing the media

of anarchy,” he said, as quoted by

barring of the U.S. journalists from the

White House briefing, Hun Sen said that “Donald Trump sees them as causing anarchy,” The Post reported. 

to operate freely,” said Shawn W. Crispin, the Bangkok-based Southeast Asia representative for the Committee to Protect

Journalists, a nonpartisan advocacy group based in New York.

Crispin said he worried that Phay Siphan’s comments would

“open a can of worms” in Southeast Asian countries where

40

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This is a revision of an article originally published by The New York Times on Feb. 28, 2017. Reprinted with permission. Nara Lon contributed reporting from Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


focus

HONG KONG

Beijing’s creeping control over Hong Kong media

More censorship, and more self-censorship, likely to follow. Story by Madeline Earp | Photo courtesy of Bloomberg | Edited by Jay Hartwell British to Chinese rule in 1997. But every year, that protection seems less robust.

Both the purchase of the South China Morning Post and the

Mighty Current cases should be considered “part of the Chinese government’s ongoing war against the media in Hong Kong

that are not under its direct control,” Bao Pu, the founder of

New Century Press, explained by email from Hong Kong. But

the Mighty Current disappearances are a particularly “extreme Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, with close ties to Beijing, acquired the South China Morning Post in 2015.

Financial and political pressures from mainland China have

gradually eroded Hong Kong’s historically free media over the

past decade, according to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press report. The trend has grown worse in tandem with deteriorating conditions on the mainland itself, where an already repressive

environment for freedom of expression has become even more

example” of the campaign, he said.

Lokman Tsui, assistant professor of journalism and

communications at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, agreed. “The purchase of the SCMP group is a structural change,” he told

Freedom House via email. “You can argue that those [publishers] are just a few people, and that the SCMP is the major English-

language newspaper in Hong Kong and therefore more important. But SCMP has already been very pro-Beijing. The ‘disappearance’ of the publishers has more serious long-term implications.”

As of April 2016, the investigations against the men associated

restrictive since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013.

with the publishing house were reportedly ongoing.

like the mainland,” Hong Kong-based publisher and political

Tsui said of their treatment. “For the first time, Beijing has

more self-censorship.”

they’re willing to do this in broad daylight, as it were, with the

“In the end, Hong Kong’s media environment will be more

commentator Bao Pu told Freedom House. “More censorship, and Two events illustrated the deterioration in 2015. The Alibaba

Group, a major Chinese e-commerce company with close ties to the

Beijing government, moved into the territory’s information market by purchasing the South China Morning Post newspaper in December. Meanwhile, five people affiliated with an outspoken Hong

Kong publishing house were effectively moved in the other

direction, to mainland China, in a series of disappearances. They

later reemerged, said they were cooperating with Chinese police,

and denied being abducted in statements to the media that many observers believe to have been coerced. Chinese authorities

have detained domestic critics and forced them to participate in

stage-managed, often televised “confessions” since Xi assumed the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. But the past year saw that practice extend far beyond China’s legal jurisdiction.

Hong Kong residents are, in theory, still shielded from the

worst mainland abuses by the “one country, two systems” principle laid down in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which preserves

Hong Kong’s freedoms for a 50-year period after its transfer from

“This is a difference in kind, not just in degree,” Professor

been willing to go outside their borders to control speech, and television ‘confessions.’”

The five men associated with Mighty Current represent the

new targets of CCP repression in 2015, targets with residences,

passports and personal networks outside mainland China. Small

wonder that “the middle class, the professionals, the accountants” of Hong Kong are “freaked out,” as one resident told the

Guardian. The sale of the South China Morning Post illustrates the changing dynamics of the information marketplace, and

augurs more Freedom of the Press declines to come. But the case of the booksellers, by showing the impact of such dynamics on

individuals at work and on vacation, demonstrates what personal

freedoms have already been lost. More censorship, and more selfcensorship, seem likely to follow. 

Madeline Earp is the Asia research analyst for Freedom on the Net at Freedom House. This is a revision of an article originally published by Freedom House / Freedom of the Press on April 27, 2016. Reprinted with permission.

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May 19-21, 2017

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focus

NEPAL

Community radio provides penetration that internet cannot

After the 2015 earthquake Radio Sindhu in Chautara broadcast from the Agricultural Development Office in Chitwan.

Nepal’s earthquake revealed the importance of the country’s 300 stations.

Story by Arjun Giri | Photo courtesy of AMARC Asia-Pacific | Edited by Jay Hartwell High mountains have kept Nepal’s internet penetration and adult

FM stations freedom of speech. However, several political parties

news broadcasts from the country’s 300 community-funded FM

and nongovernmental bodies have threatened journalists not to

literacy rates low — between 45 percent and 65 percent — so radio stations were crucial during the 2015 earthquake that devastated the country.

More than 90 percent of the country’s population owns a

radio, which is “a powerful tool in disaster relief situations,” according to the World Association of Community Radio

Broadcasters. “They are an indispensable way to provide reliable information to a vulnerable population, help the humanitarian relief and ease the fear of the population in tense situations.”

In much of the world, FM radio is primarily an entertainment

medium with songs, but Nepal’s community radio network

broadcast content and news.

According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists, two radio

station owners and three journalists have been killed in this

decade and more than 200 threatened, detained or arrested for delivering news.

The 298 community radio stations and almost the same

number of privately owned stations face challenges because the country and its 29 million people — 35 percent of whom are illiterate — cannot support all of them.

“There is not any help and support policy from the

includes news and information programs for 125 ethnic groups

government for FM radio stations, so in this situation it is really

of the population has electricity. “In this situation, community

president of ACORAB. “Community radio is doing the work that

who speak 123 languages in a country where only 40 percent

radios are the absolute means of the communication,” said Dr.

Ramchandra Lamichhane, the executive director of ACORAB, the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal.

Nepal’s first community station was Radio Sagarmatha,

named after Everest. It began broadcasting awareness programs 20 years ago.

After 1997, more communities raised funds to establish radio

stations. Their news bulletins aided the country’s social change by rooting out malpractices, including child marriage and the dowry system in the community of Madhesh. Community radio stations also raised awareness about caste-based discrimination and violence against women.

“These radios are operated by rural community including

women, minority communities and most marginalized

communities,” said Lamichhane. “After the emergence of

community radio, people are more concerned about their daily needs and their supply chain. They are trying to change the

tough to save all the radio stations,” said Subhash Khatiwada,

should be done by the government, but government is not helping community radio by any means.”

Lamichhane concurs. “The local people needs huge

information about upcoming new [government] policies, acts, rules, regulations and development policies and plans. They

need multiple information in their own language. Due to heavy

illiteracy and poverty, printing and television media partially can fulfill this need, but ... the community radios can inform to the diverse communities in short period of time.”

Community radio stations are established and supported

by local fundraising. Those stations support local dialects and

culture by broadcasting content in the area’s language as well as promoting the region’s goods.

Because of community radio’s popularity and its local focus,

Nepal’s network of stations presents itself as a model to the world despite lacking government support.

“Government must bring forth certain policies regarding

daily lives of their audiences. Community radios are picking

community radio,” said Min Bahadur Shahi, vice president of the

people’s lives.”

soon regarding community radio would help achieve success in

up very grassroots-level issues, which has a direct impact on Prior to the people’s movement in 2006, the king terminated

community radio licenses and confiscated four stations. Now,

the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal allows its community

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and their sister organizations, criminal gangs, governmental

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broadcasters association. “We hope new policies that will come the community in the coming days.” 

Arjun Giri is a radio journalist in Nepal. He can be reached at arjungiri98@gmail.com.


Presented by

Sponsored by

AAJA-Asia Digital Journalism Student Award 2017 The AAJA-Asia Google Digital Journalism Student Award 2017 provides a platform for prospective journalists to put new ways of storytelling into practice through digital technology to explain events that matter in the region. Undergraduate students of all disciplines are encouraged to exercise their creativity and showcase their talent in using multiple media including but not limited to text, audio, graphics, videos and social media such as blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Storify, Soundcloud, Twitter, Wordpress and YouTube.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS

ENTRY PROCEDURES:

JUDGING & AWARD:

• Undergraduate students of all disciplines

• One entry per student or group

Our three professional journalist judges from

• Online submissions only

AAJA-Asia will review all submissions to

• Provide links to original sources and/or

recommend a winner. AAJA-Asia chapter

WORKS MUST BE: • In English

digital attachments for submission: text,

board members will have final approval of the

• Properly attributed: Use of others’ work

video file, audio file, blog, etc.

winning candidate.

to support the story, including someone

• Attach a one-page summary of why you

else’s Twitter posts, must be indicated

feel the work deserves the award and

PRIZES

provide an open-source outline of how

• The winner will receive $1,000 and a ticket to

• Compiled during the past 18 months, from Jan. 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017

the story was executed and produced.

• Reported from the Asian region

In the outline, explain how professional

• Works from abroad will be considered if

journalists can apply the strategies, apps,

they address Asia-specific issues

the Global Editors Network Summit • The winner and runners-up will receive a one-year student membership to AAJA-Asia

functions in their own reporting • Deadline: June 30, 2017 • Inquiries: aajaasia@gmail.com

PAST WINNER’S WORK 2016 winner: “Street Wonder,” The University of Hong Kong

APPLY HERE


Perspective TOP 10 DEADLIEST COUNTRIES FOR JOURNALISTS

JAILED FOR JOURNALISM, MURDERED WITH IMPUNITY

MEXICO

40

47

Number of deaths: <10

For journalists in troubled parts of the world, these are dangerous times. The peril in war zones is understood. But the number of homicides is also rising.

Consider the case of Wai Yan Heinn. The 27-year-old publisher of

Myanmar newsmagazine Iron Rose was found dead inside his Yangon

office on April 16, his torso bearing 15 stab wounds, according to news

reports. The unsolved murder followed his publication of articles about

the country’s former ruling generals and their business associates and portrayed de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as a “drone president.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists called for authorities to swiftly

investigate the crime and bring the killer or killers to justice, but the trend of homicide is accompanied by one of impunity.

“Myanmar is fast emerging as a country where media murders go

unpunished,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. Two other Myanmar media homicides since 2014 are unsolved.

11-25

26-50

26-100 101-150

>151

CPJ’s data suggests that, globally, press freedom is declining and journalists are in greater mortal and political danger. The progress on press freedom seen

around the world has been reversed in many countries. There’s no reason to

expect this trend to end anytime soon

with countries like China, for example, promoting their own brand of control

beyond its border. On the other hand,

there are many targets of opportunity to

make things better, to score small victories that could help in places.

the 76th to be murdered since 1992. Among those, CPJ classifies 68,

You oversee a vast region with dramatic cultural and political contrasts. Which Asian countries are of growing concern?

crimes were never resolved by the justice system.

challenges. Internal controls

of Dec. 1, 2016, CPJ counted 38 reporters incarcerated in China and

have been ratcheted up, and too

The Philippines’ record is particularly bloody. When crime reporter

Joaquin Briones was gunned down on March 13 in the island province of Masbate, he became the third Filipino journalist killed in 2017, and including Briones, as “murdered with impunity,” meaning that the

Meanwhile, authoritarian governments target journalists for jail. As

China, perhaps, offers the greatest over print and online media

eight in Vietnam, a country with about 1/14th the population of China.

many journalists — mainly online

Times and the Christian Science Monitor, and later was foreign editor of

correspondents stationed in China

Steven Butler, who spent two decades covering Asia for the Financial

Knight-Ridder in Washington, D.C., is CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. N3 Magazine interviewed him about the challenges journalists face.

44

60

COLOMBIA

CPJ is fighting a war that will never be won. Story by Scott Duke Harris Edited by Jay Hartwell

ALGERIA

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operators — remain in jail. Foreign face severe restrictions.


RUSSIA

56 IRAQ

179 PHILIPPINES

78 PAKISTAN

60

SYRIA

108

SOMALIA

INDIA

62

Moreover, China’s efforts to control

the press are extending beyond its borders, to Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere in the region.

A combination of business and

government pressures have partially tamed the once-freewheeling Indian press. In Pakistan, while journalist

deaths and attacks from the Taliban have moderated, the new fear is of

religious zealotry, of being labeled as

a blasphemer, amid a difficult business environment that sometimes causes journalists to take excessive risks covering stories.

The Thai press still faces severe

restrictions operating under military rule, although an eventual return to elected, constitutional government

may offer some hope. Burma has also

enjoyed progress toward a freer press, although it has been uneven.

In the Philippines, although right-

wing trolling was an issue right after Duterte’s election, we haven’t seen

an uptick in attacks on journalists,

even as extrajudicial killings mount.

40

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Of course, there’s a huge issue of

researchers in the U.S.

journalists, that remains.

and shame when governments attack

How have the proliferation of the digital news, “citizen journalism” and social media affected CPJ’s work?

protect journalists. Beyond that, we have

impunity, of past unsolved murders of

We’ve had to adopt a more flexible attitude as to who is a journalist.

The first tool is to publicize, to name

journalists or press freedom, or fail to

programs to help journalists in trouble to

pay for legal or medical fees, or sometimes to support relocation (often in partnership with other organizations).

Bloggers in Vietnam and China have

shown great courage and independence

How confident are you that CPJ’s work is having a positive impact?

in reporting aspects of the news, even

as they sometimes adopt social causes.

I have no doubt that CPJ’s work

Thai citizens run the risk of being

has a tangible impact, even if it is

sometimes hard to measure. Our ability

accused of lese-majeste. Deliberately

planted false news stories are a scourge everywhere.

We’ve had to adopt a functional

definition to decide who is a journalist. It’s no longer just an employee of a traditional news organization.

to embarrass governments and put

pressure for change, or, for example, to release imprisoned journalists, varies from country to country.

CPJ is fighting a war that will never

be completely won, but little victories add up and are meaningful. 

How would you describe the dayto-day work of CPJ? We monitor daily, press-related developments in Asia, with

correspondents in the region and from

This interview was edited for length. Scott Duke Harris can be reached at toscottharris@gmail.com.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Perspective

A PICTURE IS WORTH 1,000 FOLLOWERS Asia-Pacific readers are hungry for mobile news, and social media is the hook. Story by Jess Turner | Edited by Jay Hartwell

Take a photo, a video. Post. Repeat. Use of Instagram and Snapchat

has doubled in the last two years in the Asia-Pacific, a region where

smartphone use for accessing news already exceeds that in Western countries. News organizations and content creators are recognizing the potential offered by image capturing and sharing.

Among 70,000 consumers Connected Life surveyed in 2014

across the Asia-Pacific region, 22 percent were on Instagram and 8 percent on Snapchat. Two years later in 2016, the figures were 39 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

On Instagram, which presents images in gallery style, instant

reaction functions such as live stories and share buttons encourage interaction. Its competitor, Snapchat, allows people to share raw videos and pictures with one another. With a Discover page,

Snapchat users access news directly and share it with others

without having to leave the app. Instagram responds to its users’

preferences via its Explore page, which suggests posts for users to view based on their “like” trends and “following” list.

These social media platforms are ripe with potential for news

outlets. “The rise of Instagram and Snapchat highlight how consumers are eagerly adopting visual ways of expressing themselves, as they

embrace the ability to capture and share moments,” Zoe Lawrence, the

Asia-Pacific digital director at Kantar TNS, said in a social media survey report last year. The features of these apps allow news outlets and content creators to have conversations with their audience.

With 91 percent of online consumers sharing photos and updates

about what they are doing, the possible content for breaking news is vast. Users can interact with other users and participate in the

news production process through liking, commenting, sharing and messaging. Brandwatch reported in 2016 that engagement with

content creators on Instagram was 10 times higher than on Facebook. This behavior pushes news organizations to think more visually

and instantly altering their content. Still growing, more news outlets are spending time on creating visual profiles. 

Jess Turner is based in Hong Kong. She can be reached at jmturner511@gmail.com.

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hypebeast 16.2k posts

Company

HYPEBEAST

19:33

3.8M

followers

99

following

Follow

Hypebeast started as a sneaker blog in 2005. Now it’s an online destination for editorially driven commerce and news for men. With an 8.4 million social media reach including 3.7 million followers on Instagram, the brand has expanded to Hypebae (reporting on female creative and contemporary culture) and Hypemaker (a creative studio serving a range of industries). Headquartered in Hong Kong, Hypebeast focuses on the up-andcoming trends of the fashion world and related content such as art, music and lifestyle. Its Instagram presence blends with its editorial content, interacting with followers by reposting their images and presenting them with exclusive preview content is part of its Instagram style. On Snapchat, Hypebeast reveals to fans behind-the-scenes clips with celebrities and sourcing for limited edition clothing.


Company

19:33 lifestyleasiahk

2,180 posts

25.2M

followers

612

following

Follow

Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong

With curated articles and localized content focusing on luxury, Lifestyle Asia gets 4 million pageviews a month and has 40,000 followers on Instagram. Its editorial and advert content is aimed at the affluent urban population ages 25-45, covering tips on lifestyle, travel, fashion and entertainment. On Instagram, Lifestyle Asia shares snapshots from entertainment events and targets followers’ niche interests by posting local pictures.

rappler Company

11.3k 19:33 239k posts

followers

343

following

Follow

Rappler Starting out as a Facebook page in the Philippines, the tech-forward news site was among the first in the country to use a multitude of visual technology and platforms to distribute content. Rappler’s distinguishing feature is Mood Meter – where readers can react to the article on a range from “amused” to “people are divided.” Rather than posting snippets of articles on Instagram, the outlet favors photos that remind followers of upcoming important events, such as the country’s voter registration deadline. They publish exclusive pictures with important figures like the president and feature breaking news images that other users have taken. Rappler has 238,000 followers on Instagram.

vice Company

19:33

1,938 posts

1.2M

followers

344

following

Follow

vice

Starting in Toronto, Vice Media has pushed into Asia-Pacific by setting up its first Asia branch in 2016 in Indonesia. The brand delivers topical news formatted for a younger audience. Indonesia’s 18- to 34-year-old demographic makes up 50 percent of the country’s population. A large follower base of 1.6 million led Vice to set up several accounts dedicated to different content. @vicenews (374,000 followers) shares snippets of breaking news and its top articles from around the world. Vice has its own Discover page on Snapchat.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Perspective

SOCIAL MEDIA BUILDS SILOS OF IGNORANCE

No balance necessary when retweeting posts that affirm your beliefs. Story by Nicole Pabello Illustration by Gavin Huang Edited by Jay Hartwell and Elaine Ramirez

They are wearing bandanas and goggles as the police advance with pepper spray and shoot inflammatories into the eyes of protesters. The night is lit by the video crews, but we

see no umbrellas — a merely symbolic defense against

the tear gas that dispersed

thousands from the Occupy barricades in Central Hong Kong.

For three months, the

Umbrella Movement was

delivered live through our

mobiles, then captured, edited, posted, shared, tweeted

and retweeted within a few

“The danger of social media is that information availability is very high. Every day we get information from these places. And because they are so accessible, then somehow you increase this vicious cycle.” Janet Hsiao, University of Hong Kong associate professor of psychology

seconds to thousands more,

who retweeted them again. In the first four days of the 2014 Hong Kong protest, these shares reached 1.3 million tweets and posts.

News analysts believe social media helped fuel and sustain the

and faster for users to distribute and redistribute their bias without seeking balance.

Janet Hsiao, an associate

professor of psychology at The University of Hong Kong, says the more people repeatedly

absorb one-sided content, the stronger their confirmation

bias becomes. “You see more; you confirm your bias and it

[the bias] can get stronger and stronger. It’s a vicious cycle,” said Hsiao.

“I think the danger of social

media is that information

availability is very high. Every day we get information from

these places and because the [info is] so accessible … you increase this vicious cycle.”

The effects of this came to the fore worldwide during the

demonstrations. But such social media spirals in Hong Kong and

2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Confirmation bias contributed

Kong between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps who fought

sheltered in divided, social network communities.

around the world have come at a cost, like the clashes in Hong in defense of their ideals.

Since social media enables anyone to release their point of

view, the sharing process allows like-minded people to retweet and affirm their point of view with others in their digital community.

But this cycle of confirmation bias allows people to live in a bubble without being exposed to other opinions.

Academics are concerned this process narrows our perspectives

— whether people choose The New York Times for a perceived

liberal focus or the New York Post and Fox News for conservative

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content. And it is getting easier

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to the surprise over election results and polarized Americans who In Asia, these effects had been seen years earlier during the

Hong Kong protests. After months of circulating Hong Kong news via open channels like Facebook, the protest and pro-democracy

camps then decided to construct closed groups on WhatsApp and

WeChat, so only like-minded peers could continue their discussion about democracy in Hong Kong without resistance.

Occupy Central demonstrated social media’s public

penetration and its impact on political agendas in Hong Kong,

where 84 percent of people consume their news online, including


social media, according to the 2016 Reuters Institute Digital News Report. The protest affected most of the city’s people, the financial

sector, local businesses and the travel industry, while contributing

to regional uncertainty.

With such pervasiveness, social media became the nexus of

the protests because the community supporting Occupy Central’s

ideals used it not only as a tool to document on-the-ground events but also to provide a channel where leaders could organize and

84%

of people consumed their news online, including social media, during the Occupy Central in Hong Kong.

mobilize protesters.

The events in Hong Kong also exposed the way people

who may not even have a strong belief are also affected. In this phenomenon, called availability bias, all the available information is slanted, and thus biases even an onlooker’s

beliefs, explains Hsiao.

During the protest, the big news was the protest itself. All

allowed breaking news to be covered as it happened, said young

eyes were on the pro-democracy camp and its opposition towards

South Korean protester Nova Lee. Using Facebook and Twitter,

covered the events on the ground or published explainers. This

Park abused the people’s right and manipulated the law.

on the protest might have developed a pro-democracy bias that was reinforced by exposure to the movement’s ideals through

public demanded accurate reporting and moved to online outlets

Beijing’s government. Most of the international news outlets

could have resulted in availability bias: People without an opinion

people uploaded whatever information they found that showed The conflict was a political awakening for the media. The

to report information rather than the usual platforms. Korea

social media.

Expose, an English-language news and culture magazine, reported

Park Geun-hye showed social media’s power to bring together like-

organizations as the outlets changed tone from supporting

Exposure in social media got more people to join. The resulting

impeachment.

with both sides claiming 1 million demonstrators. The anti-Park and pro-Park groups used mainly Facebook, Kakao, Ilbe and other

people distrust traditional media outlets, they seek news on

top media organizations support the government. South Korea

views,” he said.

surveyed, as those journalists are considered to have ties with political leaders, the Reuters Institute report also found.

for people to seek news, more can be done to prevent isolated and

More recently, the impeachment of South Korea’s President

minded people, whether pro or anti-Park, who then took action.

protests brought hundreds of thousands to the streets of Seoul,

social media networks because of a perception that South Korea’s

has the most distrusted mainstream media outlets among those

Social media’s instantaneous response and penetration

the pro-Park camp’s discontent and distrust with mainstream the president to exposing the latest events that triggered her

Hong Kong University professor Masato Kajimoto says when

social media. “This distrust in mainstream media actually laid a foundation for fake news, because people want alternative

With social media’s rising domination as the go-to platform

polarized communities. “Education is key to raising awareness

about what availability and confirmation bias are to encourage

people to seek more than one source and different angles for every story,” said Hsiao.

Hsiao supports the delivery of fair and balanced news to

prevent left- or right-leaning news from becoming the only story that reaches social media users. The next challenge for the news industry will be to implement the social media algorithms that

curate news to the user’s preferences. Changing this, she said, will require cooperation by social media platforms, users and media organizations. 

Nicole Pabello can be reached at nicolepabello@gmail.com.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Perspective

HOW TO BEAT THE MIDCAREER BLUES With rising pressures on the media industry, journalists facing career disruption have choices to make. Story by Cindy Koh Edited by Elaine Ramirez and Jay Hartwell Today’s journalism — riddled with disruptions — has given mid-career journalists a dilemma: Is it worth the struggle to remain in the industry or should they move on to new

pastures? A large number of veteran journalists have left, yet some remain and find ways to fit into the changing media landscape.

Take retraining upon yourself

Although mid-career journalists represent a low percentage of

journalism program students, J-schools are recognizing the

importance of providing options for those who want to learn

said Columbia’s dean of student affairs Ernest Sotomayor.

“Journalists have to go out and take it upon themselves to seek

new skills.

out courses to stay up to date, very unfortunately,” he said.

have worked an average 18.5 years recognize that changes in the

13 years ago and took a break to study at Northwestern, says that

individualistic and less stable, but they are not particularly pessimistic

evolving industry.

A 2015 Reuters Institute study found that journalists who

media landscape are likely to “make journalism more stressful, about the future of journalism as a professional practice.”

South Korean journalist Kim Yoo-chul, who entered journalism

mid-career grad school is a critical move to keep pace in the rapidly “I think journalists should be marketable,” Kim said. “It’s worth

“Mature students” are enrolling in master’s programs to learn

investing time and money to acquire new skills to remain adaptive

schools at the University of Hong Kong, Northwestern University and

his monthly business plans to the top management, he said. “And

video, digital and data skills that are crucial today. The journalism

Columbia University offer targeted training for mid-career journalists who want to learn new skills to stay competitive.

“People come back for different reasons, as we are always in the

process of learning and growing,” Northwestern University’s Medill

School of Journalism assistant dean Beth Bennett said. “Coming back to school could be satisfying because we get to bring ourselves to a

different level, hence customization is important to allow (journalism

and responsive.” Kim uses data analytic skills when he presents

being in this part of the world gives me the Western perspective and diversifies my thinking.”

Mature voices are crucial to journalism programs.

“We love them — with their experience, they add a lot

to classroom discussion,” said Keith Richburg, director of the

University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre. “We need experienced journalists who have a keen sense of

professionals) to develop in the different areas that they need to.”

history and strong storytelling abilities, as much as we need young

fellowships, part- and full-time programs to meet the needs of these

... and alternative ways to engage audiences.”

Medill and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism offer

50

students as news organizations have done a poor job of training staff,

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journalists who might have more facilities with using social media


“We’ll always face new challenges and it’s important to keep learning and reinventing ourselves. The ones with a growth mindset are likely to stay in the game longer.” Wendy Tang

Fail fast, grow faster

Wendy Tang, a tech journalist in Beijing, has endured

setbacks through company downsizing and a failed startup. But she learned to come out stronger.

The startup’s failure taught her the importance of

failing fast and learning quickly. Through the challenges,

Tang stayed calm, reassessed her direction and focused on new goals.

“As we move ahead in our careers, we’ll always face

new challenges and it’s important to keep learning and

reinventing ourselves,” she said. “The ones with a growth mindset are likely to stay in the game longer.”

Find a fellowship

Those who are unable to make the full commitment to

school and believe that part-time courses don’t suffice may

find that a fellowship offers an immersive space to face the realities of the trade.

Subina Shrestha, a social justice video journalist in

Nepal, needed a breather from 17 years of reporting on trafficked women, brothels, HIV-positive patients and abortion.

Be a leader

AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program (ELP)

and programs like it help mid-career journalists explore the responsibilities and challenges of working in media and examine how cultural

values come into play in newsroom dynamics. Lauren Hardie, a U.S. multi-platform

freelance journalist with about 11 years of

experience, struggled with issues a salaried journalist usually doesn’t face, such as

balancing financials, navigating complex

situations independently and negotiating the amounts on paychecks.

Through the ELP, she learned strategies for

negotiating fair rates.

“I think all these made me gain more

confidence,” she said, “and that I am armed with knowledge in asking for more money.”

“While it was an amazing learning experience, the

grueling routine and the lack of time to keep things fresh

made me rethink my approach and whether I was in a good place to carry on,” Shrestha said.

Entering the year-long Nieman Foundation Fellowship

at Harvard University, the traditional-platform journalist got a crash course in digital transformation.

Some of her peers had made significant changes on the

way they deal with news, she said. “However, I am not yet sure how I might adapt my journalism to account for the

ever-changing digital world,” Shrestha said. “It makes me

want to restrain myself and revert to words, the texts and textures of print at times.”

Shrestha finds the break is providing a worthwhile

chance to see the big picture and ponder the possibilities of journalism’s future. Later, she hopes to focus more on longform and documentaries.

“I would see this as a continuation rather than a

disruption,” she said. “It is worth the time off and I would say it’s the best thing that I have done in a long time.” 

Cindy Koh can be reached at cindykoh2015@u.northwestern.edu.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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51


Perspective

AAJA EYES THE NEXT FRONTIER President Yvonne Leow strives to cultivate a culture of media entrepreneurship and engage a wider community. Story by Carina Lee Edited by Elaine Ramirez

AAJA is not only a community for journalists with relatable backgrounds and challenges. The association has also evolved into an important voice for the defense of minorities in media coverage, such as its recent challenge to Fox News’ much-criticized Chinatown segment. How have you witnessed AAJA evolve throughout your membership? How do you envision its future role? It’s an incredible honor to witness and be a part of AAJA’s evolution. I’ve been an

AAJA member for a decade now, and even in the past five years, we’ve undergone

a governance restructure. Our Executive

Leadership Program and I-Con initiatives

have been expanded to all journalists, not just Asian-Americans. Our involvement with the Asian American and Pacific

Islander community has grown with 2016’s inaugural AAPI Town Hall.

Whether it’s further engagement with

the AAPI community or expanding our programming abroad, AAJA’s mission

is to serve our members, and promote

diversity and representation. We can only

As AAJA president, what traditions and vision will you carry over from your predecessor, Paul Cheung, and what new initiatives are you introducing? AAJA’s commitment to diversity, and fair

and accurate journalism remains, but we’re excited about pushing forward on three key initiatives:

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Issue 2

Regarding the N3Con 2017 theme “Social Disruption: Navigating the New Journalism,” what do you believe are the biggest challenges facing journalists today? One of the biggest challenges we face

should capture the caliber of creativity,

between journalists and the communities

organization. We’ve redesigned our logo

misinformation online these days, and the

management system this year. Our goal

will be essential in the coming years.

trust. How do we increase the trust

ingenuity and influence that exists in our

we cover? There is a deluge of news and

and website, and upgraded our member

way we help people cut through the noise

is to continue creating an identity that

expresses who we are and the impact we have on our industry.

2. Globalization. It is essential for AAJA to serve and meet our members where they are. Following the success of AAJA’s Asia

chapter, we hope to expand our membership and resources in areas such as Europe and Latin America in the coming years.

be solutions. Our goal is to help cultivate

Magazine

media companies.

members, and our brand identity

and staying ahead of trends in a rapidly

|

build their own products, brands and

in journalism is preserving the public’s

3. Entrepreneurship. Changing the status

changing media landscape.

journalism and empower people to

1. Branding. We have incredibly talented

accomplish that when we’re focused on

where we want to dedicate our resources

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Yvonne Leow has grown with AAJA over the past decade. As former vice president of journalism programs, she focused on impactful career growth for aspiring journalists. During her two years as national president, starting in January 2017, the San Francisco-based visual journalist aims to encourage media entrepreneurship and expanding the newly rebranded AAJA’s horizons, geographically and in conversations on the media. She joins N3Con this year to weigh in on the panel “Women in media: Is equality a myth?” N3 asked Leow about her vision for AAJA’s new direction.

quo is long and arduous, but there may a culture of media entrepreneurship in

How does the Asia chapter contribute to the national association? The AAJA-Asia chapter has been a

powerhouse in representing and expanding AAJA’s programming abroad. We’re

learning a lot from what’s happening in the region, and AAJA-Asia chapter members have been invaluable to our discussions

about convention programming and our redesign initiatives. 

Carina Lee is the AAJA-Asia chapter secretary and Seoul subchapter treasurer. She can be reached at carina.lee713@gmail.com.


AAJA: WHO WE ARE

190

AAJA ASIA LEADERS President: Angie Lau

Asia chapter

Secretary: Carina Lee

How the U.S. nonprofit association has grown into a global force.

memberships

Treasurer: Eunice Kim

National board representatives: Oanh Ha, Yuriko Nagano At-large board representatives: Zela Chin, Eunji Kim

Story by Eunice Kim Edited by Elaine Ramirez

of global membership

Seoul also has its own board

Programming directors: Brolley Genster,

72

Youkyung Lee, Mark Zastrow

Coordinators: Hayoung Choi, Simone Jeong, Power in numbers and in unity: This was the tenet

Nayoung Kang, Haeyoon Kim, Sunho Kwon,

Association in 1981 in Los Angeles. Since then,

At-large: Gavin Huang, Elaine Ramirez

the coalition of journalists — bound by a shared

(no vice president)

over 1,400 members across oceans to Asia, with goals of greater global reach.

13

Likewise, the Asia chapter, founded in 1996 by

Greater Asia

Allen Cheng and Alan Ota, has ballooned in recent

(not a subchapter) Includes Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Myanmar, India and Nepal

years to become AAJA’s second-largest chapter,

reflecting the continent’s emergence on the global stage. Made up of subchapters in Hong Kong,

Next Media Conference, the region’s leading

journalism forum, for the seventh consecutive

THE ASIA CHAPTER HAS 5 SUBCHAPTERS LED BY REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS

year. After two years in Seoul, it returns to Hong

The University of Hong Kong Freelance Bloomberg CNN Korea JoongAng Daily The Associated Press

14 11 10 3 3 3

Full

and support

117 32 20 14 2 4 1

Student

Associate Gold full

Gold associate Platinum full Retired

Annual membership:

(headquarters) Co-vice presidents: Jenny Hsu, Billy Wong

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Global membership: Over 1,400 Number of chapters: 19

AAJA National president: Yvonne Leow

Dues get used for: • Fellowships, scholarships, stipends organized by AAJA-Asia and AAJA U.S.

headquartered nonprofit diverse programming

7

Southeast Asia

Hong Kong

MEMBERSHIP TYPES

How the San Franciscoassociation finances its

57

Co-vice presidents: Chelsea Phua, Mike Raomanachai

Kong this year — where N3Con began.

ASIA MEMBERS’ MOST POPULAR AFFILIATIONS

Co-vice presidents: Haruka Nuga, Hiromi Tanoue

Mainland China

the newsroom and on the field — has extended to

Asia, the Asia chapter hosts its annual New.Now.

Tokyo

Vice president: Taehoon Lee

9

goal of fairer representation of Asian-Americans in

Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore and greater (Southeast)

24

Seoul

Kianna Mckenzie, Jihyoung Son

that launched the Asian American Journalists

MONEY MAP

14%

$25 Student

$750 Platinum

• Networking opportunities region-wide

• Conferences: N3Con, National Convention,

For more info

ICon, Executive Leadership Program

www.aaja.org

• Chapter budgets (30% of membership fees return to chapter)

New. Now. Next Media Conference

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May 19-21, 2017

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Perspective

MILLENNIAL STARTUP PIONEERS A VOICE FOR ITS GENERATION

In South Korea’s rigid media landscape, Dotface grows its audience by posting on issues ignored by legacy news. Story and photos by Elaine Ramirez Edited by Jay Hartwell

Sodam Cho dropped out of studying for South Korea’s media exam after a teacher beat her younger brother, a high school student. When reporters covered the incident, the tables turned for the aspiring

journalist, who was now the one being interviewed by the press. That was when she experienced what Cho calls the

superficiality of Korea’s traditional news outlets — ask a few questions prodding for emotional quotes by deadline, then

sensationalize the story without getting to know the victim’s situation. Seeking a more intimate connection with subjects is what

fueled Cho, 27, to start Dotface — a new, social-native video outlet for South Korean millennials launched last September.

Dotface has focused its coverage on five areas it deems

important to a younger generation: social justice, LGBTQ issues, feminism, urban ecology and how technological development impacts societies.

Last summer, traditional outlets covered a gay pride parade

near Seoul City Hall as a social conflict story: conservatives versus

liberals, Christians versus LGBTQ, traditional values versus loosening social mores. But Cho focused on the presence of parents of LGBTQ children who were offering free hugs to the crowd.

“I looked at all the reports later that night, and this scene

was not mentioned once. In contrast, we were able to cover this because we had our own subjective standard — that embracing diversity is something to be valued,” Cho said.

Dotface’s video covering that scene went viral, amassing 4.9

million views on Facebook.

Cho believes younger Koreans are thirsting for media content

that goes beyond conglomerate news, dense political coverage and rewrites of government press releases. She said her friends often

share poorly translated articles and videos from U.S.-based online media about everything from job interviews to not wearing bras, just for something new to read.

While 70 percent of Koreans head regularly to major portals

like Naver and Daum for news, Dotface is attracting its audience

through social media. Its niche is on platforms like Facebook and the Korean app Pikicast, where 20-somethings congregate over news of mutual interest and share open comments. Dotface’s

videos get around 6 million views a month, with 42 percent of its Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 24.

“Our goal is not just to become a good media company, but

to provide people with different knowledge,” Cho said. “We want

to become a media outlet that will help the millennial generation

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Magazine

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Issue 2

Sodam Cho, cofounder and CEO of Dotface.

find identity and values that will be needed to prepare for the society of 10 years from now.”

Traditional outlets, like the national broadcaster Seoul

Broadcasting System (SBS), have set up their own social media teams to create Facebook-friendly video clips targeted at younger audiences. Legacy media outlets might be able to create content in these newer formats, but Cho said they can’t change their institutional voice,

bound by the constraints of having to accommodate older generations and pro-government self-censorship.

South Korean distrust in journalists and news organizations is

higher than in the U.S., U.K., and other Asian countries, according to a Reuters Institute report. These issues came to the fore

again when major broadcasters, whose leaders are governmentappointed, were criticized for undercovering the first burst of

protests last year against impeached President Park Geun-hye.

“Traditional media tries to make content to target people in

their 20s, but the audience doesn’t feel like that is their voice,” she said. “It’s not just having media that people listen to, but media that they can actually communicate with.”

Cho is confident that with the launching of more media

startups that fall between legacy media and Facebook-only

verticals, the South Korean media landscape will see a revolution. “Entertainment agencies are trying to become media companies,

and they can actually push aside content from traditional media,”

Cho said. “So in reality, with all the new competition coming in, if it isn’t fun, it’s hard to survive. It’s the same for news.” 

This is a revision of an article originally published by Nieman Journalism Lab on April 5, 2017. Republished with permission. Ryu Ji-min contributed to this article. Elaine Ramirez can be reached at elaineramirez@gmail.com.


Perspective

DON’T MAKE MY MISTAKE

Edited by Elaine Ramirez

Read, remember and do not repeat mistakes that helped cubs become professionals

Keep your word

We all make mistakes and hopefully learn from them, but if you had to pick one to prevent another journalist from repeating it, what would it be?

That’s the focus of a Lightning Talk episode — one of several

to take place at 6 p.m., Friday, May 19, at the University of Hong

Kong. Jay Hartwell has rounded up advice that more experienced

In 1986, I covered a hearing about Honolulu’s most heavily used golf course, the Ala Wai. One daughter of a player did not testify but said she would let me paraphrase their concerns about the city’s proposal if I called her before going to print to verify my summary. I did not and got their concerns wrong. She telephoned after and said she would never talk to another reporter again. So my lesson is: No matter who the source is, always keep a promise.

professionals want to pass down to younger journalists to prevent them from making the same mistakes they did. 

Jay Hartwell

Former reporter and University of Hawaii student media adviser, Honolulu

Tech glitches You never know when you are going to be taken on air or when your mic is on. … Keep printed copies of your scripts and guest contacts, and a copy of your Twitter on during breaking news, just in case the teleprompter fails and you have to ad lib. Always call your guests ahead of time. Introduce yourself. Tell them who the other panelists are and find out what questions they are comfortable answering.

Archith Seshadri Anchor for WION News, New Delhi

TV reporter Tokyo

Spell check When I was a TV producer in Tokyo many years ago, I was in charge of producing a program for young kids in Japanese. I grew up in the U.S., so Japanese was not my forte. I received a letter one day from an elementary school student, asking if we spelled a certain Chinese character wrong. I should have been more careful when it came to superimposed Japanese text on TV. Suffice to say, I use the dictionary a lot more now, especially when Japanese is involved.

Pregnant pause When I was a student reporter just starting out in broadcast, I had not quite handled the art of juggling yet. As a broadcaster, there are a lot of things going on. Behind the scenes, we have producers talking in our ear telling us about the next commercial break or if the video or soundbite we expected to introduce next was suddenly unavailable. So, there I was, proudly in the broadcast booth, reporting on a story. I tried on my most authoritative broadcast voice to intone: ‘Hundreds of workers at the local auto plant got laid …’ (At that moment, the producer was telling me something urgent, and I stopped to listen and process before resuming my broadcast) ‘... off today.’ Too late. The disaster of the pregnant pause. Sadly for the workers, it was indeed a layoff and they lost their jobs. But it sounded a lot more optimistic with my pause.

New. Now. Next Media Conference

Angie Lau

Bloomberg TV anchor and AAJA-Asia president

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May 19-21, 2017

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MAY 2018 SEE YOU IN HONG KONG

www.n3con.com


Profile for N3 Magazine

N3 Magazine issue 2  

N3 Magazine is the official magazine for N3Con, the annual media conference held by AAJA Asia. N3Con 2017: Social Disruption: Navigating the...

N3 Magazine issue 2  

N3 Magazine is the official magazine for N3Con, the annual media conference held by AAJA Asia. N3Con 2017: Social Disruption: Navigating the...

Profile for aajaasia
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