Lu Wei: The Lively Practice of the Marxist View of News in Present-Day China

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Some thoughts on the baptism of the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign

The Marxist news view is the root of the identity of every Socialist news worker, the basis of their employment and the spirit of their maturation, and it is a strong intellectual weapon to guide practice in news work. At present, the “March to the grass roots, transform work styles and improve writing styles” has been broadly launched across the nationwide news front, it is the newest practice of the Marxist news view in present-day China, and has further enriched the content of the times of the Marxist news view by integrating theory and practice.

I, Deeply launching the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is a necessary requirement for firmly establishing the Marxist news view.

At present, global circumstances, national circumstances and Party circumstances are changing profoundly, news and propaganda work is facing a series of new situations, new problems and new challenges, deeply launching the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign has a clear and real focus.

First and foremost, the Party’s news work faces a major task in strengthening the construction of its public opinion guidance capacity. Following the profound transformation of the economic system, the profound changes of social structures, and the profound adjustment of interest patterns, the independence, selectivity, variability and divergence of people’s thoughts and activities has strengthened incessantly, and social public opinion has become multi-layered, multi-category and diversified. Especially the development of the Internet and mobile telecommunications technology has resulted in the fact that networks are increasingly becoming bases for the generation of public opinion, collection and distribution centres for the dissemination of public opinion, and battlefields for public opinion conflicts. This has put even higher demands towards our ability to guide public opinion. Only if the Party’s news workers have a firmly established Marxist view of news, and incessantly resolve the problems existing in their work styles and writing styles, can they adapt to the needs of circumstances and tasks, and closely grasp the correct public opinion orientation.

Furthermore, the Party’s news work faces new tests of news competition under market economy conditions. The development of the Socialist market economy has infused vitality and vigour into the news undertaking. At the same time, fierce market competition and interest drivers have caused the emergence of problems in the news area, where in some cases, the Marxist news view has been violated, and the image of the news undertaking has been harmed. Some media one-sidedly pursue the maximization of economic interest, and tendencies towards excessive entertainmentization and commercialization have occurred; some news employees are driven by economic interest, and paid-for news, paid-for non-news, false reporting, vulgar tendencies and other such phenomena contrary to the professional spirit and professional ethics have occurred. Only if the Marxist news view is firmly established, and work styles and writing styles are incessantly rectified, is it possible to persist in putting social effect first from beginning to end, and guarantee the healthy development of the news undertaking.

Third, the Party’s news work faces pressing questions about raising the quality of its ranks. Following the vigorous development of the news undertaking, our news ranks have incessantly expanded as well, and one batch after another of young comrades have entered into the news ranks. The young generation that grew up during reform and opening up, has knowledge, has creativity and has enthusiasm, but they insufficiently understand the fine traditions of the Party’s news work and the basic national conditions, their ability to objectively and dialectically analyse social questions is insufficient, and they especially lack a practical history of going to the grass roots and going to the masses, a few news employees have a faint political consciousness, and a weakened mass view. Only if the Marxist news view is firmly established, and the construction of work styles and writing styles is firmly established, will it be possible to inherit and continue fine traditions and strengthen social responsibility, and build a line of high-quality news ranks that can make the Party feel assured and let the people feel satisfied.

Firmly establishing the Marxist news view requires strengthening education and training, and it is furthermore necessary to incessantly innovate ideas, innovate mechanisms and innovate channels, the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is an outcome of such innovation. The practice of Beijing Municipality’s earnest launch of the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign demonstrates that the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign complies with the new demands of current circumstances and developments, it conforms to the expectations of the popular masses concerning news work, it embodies the essential demands of the Marxist news view, and is an effective channel to strengthen the ideological construction, work style and writing style construction of news ranks under new circumstances.

II, Deeply launching the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is a vigorous practice of the Marxist news view

Theory guides practice, and at the same time, it is incessantly enriched and developed through practice. Through launching the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign, the news front has had an ideological and spiritual baptism, this further strengthened the theory of the Marxist news view, and at the same time, enriched the content of the times of the Marxist news view through incessant summary and improvement.

First, we must persist in the unity of responsibility toward the Party and responsibility towards the people. The principle of the Party spirit and the standpoint of the masses are two large bedrocks for the Marxist news view. The Socialist news undertaking is an organic component part of the Party’s undertaking, the principle of the Party spirit is the fundamental principle of news work. Our Party has serving the people with its whole heart and mind as its basic purpose, it is the loyal representative of the people’s interests, apart from the people’s interest, the Party has no private interest of its own, this has decided the unity of the news undertaking’s responsibility toward the Party and responsibility towards the people. News media must both propagate the Party’s theory, line, principles and policies, and consciously maintain a high level of unity with the Party Centre throughout; they must also reflect the interests, hopes and voices of the popular masses, and keep firmly in mind that the interest of the people is higher than everything from beginning to end, they must unify propagating the Party’s standpoints with reflecting the people’s voices, and unify persisting in the correct orientation with understanding social sentiment and the popular will.

In the process of deeply launching the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign, we have closely revolved around the principle of the Party spirit, we have demanded that all media, editors and journalists must go to the grass roots, get a grounding in the local atmosphere, and enhance their stamina, go deeply into the first line of production and construction, personally feel the magnificent achievements of reform and development, feel the huge changes in the appearance of town and country, feel the incessant rise in the popular masses’ living standards, deepen their understanding of the phase-type characteristics of our country’s economic and social development, fully understand the historical necessity of persisting in Party leadership and marching the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. The broad news workers are emotionally connected to the masses, are grateful to the masses, and revere the masses. they deeply understand the living situation of the common people, personally feel the full range of emotions of the masses, including lovingly getting rid of people’s fears and removing their difficulties, they have published a large batch of news works with strong insights and a strong guiding nature, they have propagated the Party’s standpoints, responded to the concerns of the masses, and served the lives of the common people, they have promoted the resolution of real problems to which the Party and government pay great attention, and against which the masses respond strongly, they have reduced their distance from the popular masses, they have fully elaborated the unity of responsibility toward the Party and responsibility toward the people. This is the most meaningful and most valuable aspect of the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign.

Second, we must persist in the fact that seeking through from facts is our ideological line and work style. Seeking truth from facts is the quintessence and spirit of the Marxist news view, and is the ideological line and work style that the Party’s news work must persist in. The value of news lies in truth, its beauty lies in truth, and its power lies in truth. In recent years, some news employees have become far removed from the grass roots and separated from the masses, they only receive through “aerials”, not through “ground writes”, they don’t go into the localities to gather news, but are content to dig up news from the network, piece together copy to make news, or rely on their imagination to make news, damaging the social prestige of the media. The “March, Transform, Improve” campaign aims to lay a foundation in practice, seek truth and deal with concrete masses through going deep into the first line of the grass roots and the masses’ lives, and firmly rejects this sort of harmful habits.

In the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign, we have put forward the general requirement that “there is a base for every company, there is a station point for every person, there is a report every day”, more than 200 urban news work units have established grass roots contact points in the entire city. The broad news workers have gone deeply into the grass roots, excavated large amounts of model cases that are rich in the flavour of life, they have grasped large amounts of stories behind events, and news behind news. At the same time, where institutional construction is concerned, we have strictly standardized the news dissemination order, have ensured that every journalist achieved that “they do not report what they have not seen with their own eyes, they do not report what they don’t have investigated on the spot, and they do not report what they haven’t examined and verified”, we firmly put an end to the phenomena of moaning without reason and working without good sources of information. Practice demonstrates that only if we persist in a work style of seeking truth from practice and from facts throughout, observe the truth, speak the truth, solve true problems and seek true affect, news work can be improved in quality and levels, only then can we effectively restrain vulgar tendencies, false news and other such chronic illnesses, and only then can we realistically bear the mission and the responsibility the Party and the people endowed us with.

Third, we must persist in forms and language that the masses like to see and hear. The truthfulness, objectivity and fairness of news must be integrated and united with accuracy, clarity and vivacity, which means that at the same time as correctly reporting facts, and propagating the standpoints, viewpoints and positions of the Party and the people with clear banners flying, we must gain the best propaganda results through lively reporting forms. News and propaganda must incessantly strengthen their likeability, attractiveness and infectiousness, to let the masses love to read, hear or see it, and let reporting enter into ears, brains and hearts. Eight-legged writing that is repulsive in appearance, with insipid language, officialise articles that could have been written by a thousand people and that lack any vitality cannot let the Party’s policies march into the bottom of the masses’ hearts.

In the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign, Beijing’s municipal media have made “improving work styles” into a basic requirement, they have organized the broad editors and journalists to sincerely make friends with the masses, and chat about household normalities with them, they have learnt to use the language of the masses, and use the angle of the common people to observe problems, and use methods that the masses love to accept to elucidate viewpoints. Since the campaign has been launched, a large batch of news reports “like dewdrops” and “full of fervour” have emerged, the amount of hackneyed clichés has gone down, and vivid and refreshing styles have increased; there have been fewer “monumental works” and more short, pithy and terse pieces; fewer pieces give an earful of advice, more articles have tireless heart-to-heart talks; there are fewer superficial and shallow pieces, and more profound analyses. The masses have universally responded that such reporting can be listened to, can be believed, and can be persuasive. Practice demonstrates that only by getting a local grounding, can there be stamina, and a long spiritual influence, only when going deeply into reality is it possible to become rich in the taste of life, only with a foundation among the masses is it possible to produce true emotions and real feelings, and only then can news reports have the temperature of the scene, and can there be pure, fresh and unadulterated writing stile and forces that can move people’s hearts.

III, Deeply launching the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is a strategic measure to persist in the Marxist news view

Practice fully demonstrates that the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is a “large classroom” to resolve ideological questions, it is a “bridge to join hearts” between the Party and the masses, it is a “golden key” to forge excellent works and masterpieces, and it is a “large furnace” to hammer new news ranks into shape. We must make the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign into a long-term task and a regular work, persevere and grasp the matter without tiring, and incessantly deepen the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign.

We must strive to produce masterpieces. One crucial matter in deepening the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is resolving the problem of “down” and “up”, ensure that a large batch of news workers go down, and a large batch of excellent works and masterpieces are brought up. We must meticulously plan themes and carefully arrange deployments, correctly grasp the concerns of Party Committees and governments, the interests of the popular masses, and the focus points of social public opinion, earnestly summarize the new experiences of scientific development, reflect the ardent practice of the grass roots, excavate moving deeds by next-door examples, and respond to the real questions that the masses are concerned about. We must concentrate superior resources, recruit crack troops and brilliant generals, deeply collect news and investigate, meticulously edit and compile, and produce even more excellent works and masterpieces that stir people’s hearts, bring people to tears and make people think. The excellent achievements of the campaign must be published in all kinds of media, to mutually generate strength, raise its fame and influence, and let excellent works sound their call, spread far, gain a foothold, and truly enter deeply into people’s hearts.

We must strive to foster talent. The “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is a “great troop training” for the news front, and is an important channel to improve the quality of news ranks. We must guide the broad news workers in firmly establishing a political consciousness and a mass viewpoint, realistically serve the Party, speak on behalf of the people, and eulogize the times; we must guide news workers in the process of grounding themselves, interviewing popular sentiment and inquiring after popular feelings, excavate depths that others have not reached, find angles that others have not imagined, incessantly strengthen their professional abilities and levels; we must guide news workers in steeling themselves through arduous practice, come to realize the true meaning of life, temper their characters and work styles, straighten their professional ideals, we must strive to foster and train a batch of famous journalists, famous editors, famous anchors and famous commentators.

We must strive for long-term mechanisms. Systems govern the roots, and govern the long term, we must incessantly perfect long-term mechanisms, promote the institutionalization, standardization and regularization of the “March, Transform, Improve” campaign. We must establish mechanisms for leading cadres to take the lead and act as examples, for members of leading ranks to regularly take the lead in going into the grass roots to gain experience, do research and compile copy; we must complete a system of grass roots contact points, to assist editors and journalists to deeply understand local situations and the sentiments of the people; we must perfect guarantee mechanisms, to provide guarantees and create conditions for editors and journalists in terms of expenses, staffing, material support an other such areas; we must strengthen incentive mechanisms, prominently broadcast reports coming from the first line at the grass roots, and shape a work orientation that holds the grass roots and original creation in high regard; we must complete and perfect assessment systems, establish supervision and punishment mechanisms, give preference to the first line of the grass roots in areas such as professional assessment, achievement evaluation, criticism and awards, etc., and must let resource allocation and talent use reflect the assessment results.

We must strive to summarize experiences. The “March, Transform, Improve” campaign is an effective carrier to practice the Marxist news view, and is even more a fantastic opportunity to explore the laws of news work and promote news theory innovation. We absolutely must timely summarize the new ways of thinking, new methods and news experiences from all work units, transform everyone’s harvest into wisdom and common experiences for the entire front, further enrich the Party’s news work theory, and further enrich the content of the times of the Marxist news view.

(The author is a member of the CCP Beijing Municipal Party Standing Committee and Director of its Propaganda Department and Vice-Mayor of the Beijing Municipality)

—— “走转改”活动的洗礼与思考























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