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My media intern in Beijing

Viewed 1351 times 2016-2-15 08:46 |System category:News

My media intern in Beijing

For years I’ve been asking myself whether I shall enter journalism. I’ve been advised by my seniors and professors that traditional media is in decline facing the direct competition of new genres of information transmission. With excessive information available online, people now have less motivation to pay for news and opinions. One of the cruel examples is that some Hong Kong newspapers have reduced to making its profit by more ads promotion. But with the belief that listening to people’s stories and turning them into printed words is something sacred, I still came to Beiijng, the political and cultural heartland of China, with a small luggage and a fresh lung (to absorb the hazard!).


The chief editor in the company I’m longing to work in asked me what drove me here. I told her that it’s simply passion, passion for talking to people and turning them into printed words or video clips. While I was bluffing, she agreed to give me a try. So I came to the office. And i realized that even though it’s a big and prestigious media company, my team is just a subsidiary established one year ago and most of people working here are interns like me. And because our team dedicates to delivering interesting stories around the globe to Chinese audience, most people majored in language in their universities. So here you can find people speaking all kinds of language: Russian, Korean, Japanese, German.. 


Anyway my first week was going smoothly. I hunted news from other medias and pitched the information collected to my colleagues: a Sudanese boy who used to be a child soldier in the civil and tempted to eat his friend in a tough journey has redeemed himself through music; a Burmese hijacked a plane with a fake bomb twenty years ago for catching the world’s attention on the democratic situation in Burma. It was his first time on the plane and he mistook the door of toilet as that of pilot. That was before 9 11 and some passengers, feeling no life and property threat at all, asked him if they could take a selfie! Through those personal stories a bigger picture of the country was generated and I was able to know the history of civil wars in Africa and coup d’etat in Burma.


But gradually I feel something is missing in my work. I choose the topics I like, I do facts- check and I contact related persons for interview. But seldom could I have chance to talk to the interviewee. I could not experience the local culture. I do not know what the flower or tree is like in another land.All the information I got is from screen. It’s like living in an ivory tower.


A day sitting in the office is a day collecting excessive information, but without direct experience to any of those information. Then one day while walking on the street and seeing the “hazy beauty” of Beijing, I decided to sell health products - masks. Thus everyday after work, I hawked masks on the street. Contempt, sympathy, smile, people passed me by with different reactions. Sometimes I could not sell one after 30-minute talking with one. But I started to see different things. Soldiers standing in coldness for the whole night (there is a diplomatic apartment nearby). I asked them if I could give them a mask. They thanked me but said soldiers could not accept any gifts. Homeless people lie on the street in the freezing temperature. I do not dare to say that through selling some masks at night, then suddenly I came to understand the world. It’s just that the lives of people are so different. What my friends all think about is how to earn enough money by going to consulting or IBD. But here what I saw is another dynamic. So that’s why my dream continues - I want to listen to people’s stories and to turn them into words.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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