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[ecrea] Chinese newspapers and convergence -- revised call for papers

Sat Feb 25 12:44:09 GMT 2017

Our apologies for circulating this call again, but in order better to accommodate Western scholars we have changed the dates of the abstract submission and the conference. Herewith please find the revised call with the changes highlighted:


International Symposium


Hong Kong Baptist University 1^st and 2^nd June 2017

The last five years have seen a mounting challenge to both the business models and journalism of the Chinese newspaper press. After 25 years of rapid expansion, both in circulation and advertising revenue, the impact of digital technologies, notably the mobile phone, have reversed many of these gains. Readers are deserting printed newspapers for electronic news sources and advertisers are moving their business online. At the same time, the interactive nature of these new technologies mean that news producers have a much fuller and more rapid knowledge of their audience’s activities. They can know more or less instantaneously which kinds of stories are attracting readers and what their responses are to each item. The news media also find themselves challenged as the sole source of news and information. Particularly in breaking stories, citizen journalists are sometimes able to play a role in defining the news agenda. These developments are forcing managers and journalists at Chinese newspapers to rethink major elements of their strategies in order to find new sources of revenue and new ways of relating to their readers.

HKBU School of Communication is organizing an International Symposium designed to bring together leading experts from China and internationally to explore the state of knowledge with regard to the current state of the Chinese newspaper press and to chart future avenues for research. While there is a considerable literature exploring the impact of similar crisis in the West, the Chinese experience is both later and more rapid, and is taking place in different economic and political circumstances. The specific ways in which these forces are affecting the Chinese press and the range of responses to them remain relatively underexplored. We invite attendance from scholars and industry researchers who can make an original contribution, in the form of a scholarly paper, on the ways in which this general crisis is developing in the Chinese context and the specific ways in which the industry is responding.

Abstracts are invited for papers focusing on relevant topics, which may include, but are not restricted to, investigating the following questions:

 1. Most, if not all, mainland newspapers have launched websites, weibo
    and weixin accounts, and mobile apps. What is the thinking behind
    these initiatives, and their relative success or failure, both in
    their own terms and in relation to the original newspaper?
 2. Some titles have been closed, and at least one new online-only title
    “The Paper” (/Pengpai/) in Shanghai, has been launched as a
    replacement.  The reasons for these closures are generally economic
    but what are the economic and journalistic dimensions of any new
 3. Although theoretically it is not possible to launch online news
    sources independent of a linked news outlet, the larger online
    companies do have their own news portals.  While they are legally
    only permitted to recycle news produced elsewhere, they have
    attracted many experienced journalists and seem to have found ways
    around some of the restrictions.  How are these online sites
    organised, what are the characteristics of their content, and how,
    if at all, do they generate news independently?
 4. Citizen journalists can both supplement and compete with the work of
    professional journalists.  How do journalists maintain the
    boundaries between their own “newswork” and that originating
 5. What changes in journalistic practices have arisen as the result of
    newspapers attempting to “market credibility” through alliances with
    business and governments, or through developing their own “sideline
 6. How have such attempts changed the organisational structure of
    newspapers?  In particular, what new relationships between editorial
    and business employees are arising?
 7. What kinds of changes in journalistic practices have arisen as a
    result of the ready availability of data concerning audiences’
    likes, dislikes, commentary and so on?
 8. What is known about the emerging patterns of news consumption?
 9. Some party newspapers, notably /Renmin Ribao/, have been very
    successful online.  Others are receiving massive subsidies to help
    them adapt to the new situation.  Inside newspaper groups, the
    advertising of the party titles has usually held up much better than
    that of the commercially-oriented papers.  What are the reasons for
this apparent renaissance of party papers and what are their objectives?
10. How does the Communist Party view these developments and do they
    believe it threatens their control of the symbolic environment?  If
    so, what strategies are they developing to retain control?

The Symposium will take place on 27^th and 28^th of April at the HKBU campus in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong. In order to facilitate participation of Chinese scholars, the proceedings, including all papers delivered, will be in Chinese. It is the intention of the organizers to produce publications in both Chinese and English based on a selection of the papers presented at the Symposium.

Abstracts are invited that may be in English or Chinese and should not be of not more than 500 English words or 500 Chinese characters by 10^th March 2017. Send all abstract to (hkbucomm.conference /at/ <mailto:(hkbucomm.conference /at/>. Successful proposers will be notified of their acceptance by 1^st April 2017.

Colin Sparks, Professor of Media Studies

Huang Yu, Professor and Dean, School of Communication

Hong Kong Baptist University

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