People’s Daily: An Action Plan for the News Undertaking of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Period

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Deeply Studying and Implementing the Spirit of Comrade Xi Jinping’s Important Speech at the national Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference

This article by People’s Daily chief editor Yang Zhenwu was published in People’s Daily today, and is the latest in a series of articles by propaganda officials on extolling the virtues of Xi Jinping’s important speech at the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference on 19 August.

Yang Zhenwu

Doing news and propaganda work well relates to the future fate of the Party, relates to a long time of peace and order for the country, relates to the cohesion and centripetal force of the nation, and requires the guidance of scientific theory. The important elaboration concerning news and propaganda in Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech at the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference is permeated with the spirit of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, it shines with the brilliance of the truth of the Marxist news view, it manifests our Party’s standpoints, viewpoints and methods concerning press and propaganda, has a strong ideological nature, strategic nature and innovative nature, it is the newest and best teaching material for the Marxist view of news, it is a scientific guideline for the news undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is an action plan for us to incessantly innovate a new picture for press and publications work in a new period.

Deeply understand the important elaboration of the speech concerning persisting in politicians running the media, keep the bigger picture in mind, grasp general trends, fix eyes upon great matters, and more consciously and forcefully propagate the Party’s theories, line, principles and policies well.

Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech stresses persisting in the principle of the party managing the media without wavering, persisting in politicians running newspapers, running periodicals, running stations and running news web sites, persisting in having to conform to the requirements of the Party in what to persist in, what to oppose, what to say and what to do, becoming truly proficient, being reliable, and truly ensuring that “we remain firm after a thousand hits and ten thousand strikes, and withstand the winds coming from all directions.”.

The speech made a profound elaboration of persisting in politicians running the media, it clarified the basis, preconditions, methods and objectives for us to better persist in politicians running the media in the new period and under new technological conditions, and has provided a fundamental path to follow to further do news and propaganda work well.

The root of persisting in politicians running the media lies in keeping the bigger picture in mind, grasping general trends and fixing eyes upon great matters. Keeping the bigger picture in mind requires that we keep in mind the bigger picture of reform, development and stability, the bigger picture of comprehensively moving Socialism with Chinese characteristics forward and comprehensively constructing a moderately prosperous society, and the bigger picture of realizing the “Two Centuries” struggle objective and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation; grasping general trends means that we must establish a global vision, foster strategic thinking, deepen our grasp of international and domestic economic trends, political trends, social trends and other developments and changes; fixing eyes upon great matters, means that we must revolve around the central work of the Party and the State, grasp large matters and important events that have a directional nature or bring a directional nature well, find correct entry points and focus points for work. If we grasp these “three bigs” well, press and propaganda can strengthen its political concentration and political differentiation strength, grasp directions and orientations, and give rein to a major positive function in persisting the Chinese path, carrying forward the Chinese spirit and concentrating Chinese forces.

The precondition of persisting in politicians running the media lies in scientific judgment and control of public opinion trends. Public opinion trends are decided by economic trends, political trends, social trends, etc., and at the same time have a profound influence on the latter. Mature politicians should be able hands at judging and controlling trends, this includes that they must scientifically judge and control public opinion trends, and includes creating trends benefiting reform, development and stability, and benefiting the larger picture of the work of the entire Party and the entire State, through public opinion. With regards to the leaders running news media according to political requirements, it means that they must completely and accurately grasp international and domestic public opinion trends, their status quo, direction and tendencies, they must dialectically consider social consciousness, social public opinion, news public opinion and other important component factors of and dissemination structures for public opinion, scientifically judge and effectively control public opinion trends, are unbiased, not hollow, and not false, timely adopt countermeasures, seize the commanding heights, strengthen discourse power and fully give rein to their public opinion guidance function.

The methods of persisting in politicians running the media lies in suiting plans to trends, acting in response to trends, and going ahead on the basis of trends. “forms” can be seen, “trends” hare hidden; “forms” can be distinguished, “trends” are hard to judge. Suiting plants to trends requires that we raise our insight into trends, and plan news and propaganda work on the basis of developments and changes in trends, concerning those tendentious and symptomatic issues, strengthen acuity and judgement strength; acting in response to trends means that we must raise our ability to adapt ourselves to changes in trends, that we see “forms” and differentiate “trends”, calmly respond, are not complacent, conservative, or hold back, and do not barge about and act rashly either; going ahead on the basis of trends means that we must adapt to public opinion trends and media technology developments and changes, raise control strength over trends, have some achievements, and act effectively. Especially in the present, where people’s thoughts and actions are clearly strengthening in individuality, selectivity, variability and differentiation, only when these “three trends” are ensured can news and propaganda rise in influence and expand in dissemination strength.

The objective of persisting in politicians running the media lies in consolidating and expanding mainstream ideology and public opinion. Press and propaganda are at the forefront of ideology, and must unwaveringly persist in the principle of the Party spirit, consciously maintain a high level of consistency with the Party Centre, persist in safeguarding the Party’s authority, further consolidate the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological area, consolidate a common ideological basis for the united struggle of entire Party and the people of the entire country, propagate the Party’s theories, line, principles and policies even more consciously and forcefully, propagate the Centre’s major work deployments better, and fully give rein to the function of mainstream media as “mainstays” and “the magic needle that calms the seas”, and create a good public opinion atmosphere to realize the Party’s struggle objective.

Deeply understand the important elaboration of the speech concerning establishing a work orientation with the people at the centre, further clarify the orientation, objective, work focus and evaluation standards for news and propaganda.

In his important speech, Comrade Xi Jinping persisted in putting the population first and putting people first, he stressed that news and propaganda must establish a work orientation with the people at the centre, give prominence to the basic standpoints of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, elaborate news and propaganda orientations, objectives, work foci and evaluation standards.

If the orientation is correct, the direction is clear, if the direction is clear then thoughts are clear. Establishing a work orientation with the people at the centre has indicated the orientation of news and propaganda work. In news reporting, public opinion guidance as well as the development of undertakings and team construction, the general orientation and big orientation of news and propaganda are serving the people. The orientation is the banner, which summons news, propaganda and the people to breathe jointly, share the same fate, link hearts to hearts, and arouse and cry for the people’s happiness and beautiful lives. The orientation is the direction, which guides news and propaganda to better grasp “for whose sake, relying on who, who am I”, and unifies reflecting the Party’s standpoints with reflecting the people’s aspirations. The orientation is the path, which guides news and propaganda to unwaveringly progress with great strides along the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The objective reflects the work target, reflects real demands and announces the final pursuit. Establishing a work orientation with the people at the centre clarifies the objective of news and propaganda. The subjects of news and propaganda are the popular masses, and so there should be more reporting and propaganda about the magnificent struggles and passionate lives of the popular masses, more propaganda and reporting about advanced models and moving achievements emerging from among the popular masses, more page space should be reserved for the popular masses, more lenses should focus on the popular masses. The starting point and stopover point of news and propaganda should be the people’s requirements, it should think what the people think, fear what the people fear, fully reflect the people’s real appeals, interests and concerns, and incessantly satisfy the people’s daily increasing spiritual requirements. News and propaganda’s only law is persisting in the supremacy of the people from beginning to end, safeguarding and developing the people’s basic interests well. Regardless of under which circumstance, we must persist in this basic objective and long-term objective as a unity that pervades all things

There is a division of weight in work, the present weighty matter and the long-term weighty matter for news and propaganda are responding to the people’s concerns and reflecting the people’s voices. Establishing a work orientation with the people at the centre clarifies the work focus of news and propaganda. News and propaganda touches upon a mass of areas and themes, events and issues, but it must forever attack most importance to the people’s interests. For example, when reporting on education, healthcare, housing prices and other hot issues, guaranteeing and improving people’s livelihoods must be the focus; when reporting on major natural disasters and other sudden incidents, the security of people’s lives and property must be the focus; when exposing violations of the people’s interests and other negative issues, guaranteeing the people’s lawful rights must be at the centre. Closely grasping this focus and never deviating from this focus from beginning to end will enable news and propaganda to stand firm, stand stable, march straight and march far.

Establishing a work orientation with the people at the centre has clarified the evaluation standards for news and propaganda. Whether or not the people endorse them or not, praise them or not, are happy about them or not, respond to them or not are the yardstick to measure the success or failure of news work, and are the criterion to evaluate the dissemination effects of news .In exploring content forms of news communication, public opinion methods and means, as well as in researching strategies and tactics to develop the undertaking, the people’s support, praise, happiness and response must be made into standards, these objectives must be obeyed, reflected and achieved with devotion, so that a satisfactory examination sheet can be submitted to the people.

Deeply understand the important elaboration in the speech concerning persisting in unity, stability and encouragement, give first place to positive propaganda, carry forward the main melody, disseminate positive energy, inspire the energy of the entire society.

In his important speech, Comrade Xi Jinping stressed persisting in unity, stability and encouragement, giving first place to positive propaganda, carrying forward the main melody and disseminating positive energy, and arousing strong forces for the united advance of the entire society. This continues a consistent standpoint of news theory of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and has put forward even higher requirement for news and propaganda at present and in the future.

The key to implement unity, stability and encouragement, and give first place to positive propaganda is carrying forward the main melody, disseminating positive energy and letting the main melody and positive energy dominate news and propaganda, dominate the pages of newspapers and periodicals, radio programmes, television screens, cyberspace, mobile platforms and other news carriers. This has been decided by the essence of the Socialist news undertaking, and is the conclusion obtained from experiences and lessons in news work of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Since reform and opening up, whenever news and propaganda ensured unity, stability and encouragement, gave first place to positive propaganda, its quantities, qualities and effects were larger than its burdens, and it was able to inspire spirits, strengthen confidence and concentrate consensus; otherwise, the opposite result may occur. In the process of comprehensively constructing a moderately prosperous society and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we should expand positive propaganda strength, guide the people to strengthen their confidence in the path, confidence in the theory and confidence in the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Without positive energy, it is difficult for people to grow up healthily; society needs to receive positive energy before it can revolve smoothly. Implementing the policies of unity, stability, encouragement and giving first place to positive propaganda must disseminate positive energy to promote sustained and healthy economic and social development. News media should be the amplifiers of social positive energy, they must revolve around the general structure of “Five Positions, One Whole” of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, propagate the Centre’s scientific judgement of economic tendencies and the new achievements of economic construction well, propagate the superiority of the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and new progresses in Socialist democracy and rule of law well, propagate new achievements obtained in constructing a strong cultural country well, propagate new progress in social construction well, propagate new experience in ecological civilization construction well, and concentrate strong forces for common progress, reform and development.

Both traditional media and mew media must explicitly implement the policies of unity, stability, encouragement and giving first place to positive propaganda. At the moment, online public opinion is receiving great attention, sometimes, broad disputes arise as well. As some forces add fuel to the flames, it frequently happens that online, the negative side is larger than the positive side, and the non-mainstream is larger than the mainstream.  This is an unprecedented challenge and opportunity for our carrying forward the main melody and disseminating positive energy. News and propaganda must take on the heavy burden of expanding online mainstream ideology and public opinion, and improve the online public opinion ecology, it must dare to act and be good at acting. Traditional mainstream media must be good producers and providers of news content, they must speak early, dare to speak and be able to speak, they should not be “stevedores” and “megaphones” for online information, and must not be lead by the nose by some online information. Major news websites must innovate public opinion guidance methods, and provide accurate information as much as possible, clear up online rumours as quickly as possible, enrich online positive public opinion with as much “capacity” as possible, and strive to become an advanced battlefield for the communication of advanced Socialist culture, provide effective spaces for public cultural services and broad spaces to stimulate the healthy development of people’s lives.

Deeply understand the important elaboration of the speech concerning abiding by news dissemination laws and public opinion guidance laws, persist in objective reporting, grasp timeliness, extent and effect well, ensure that news and propaganda content is readable and that the masses like it more.

The important elaboration concerning that news must persist in objective reporting and must grasp timeliness, extent and effect in public opinion guidance in Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech deepened the understanding of the news theory of Socialism with Chinese characteristics with regards to news and propaganda law and public opinion laws.

The most direct matter in grasping news and propaganda laws is ensuring objective reporting. Objective reporting requires accurately, truthfully and completely reflecting news facts. Accuracy is the basis of reporting, the whole truth must be told, to its full extent. Truthfulness is the life of news, truth must be sought from facts without exaggeration, reduction, obstruction or concealment. Completeness is a necessary requirement of news and propaganda, the complex background of major news events must be displayed, the complete situation uncovered, the complete features reflected, mainstreams and side streams must be clearly divided, objectivity and completeness must be organically unified and credibility strengthened.

Most important in grasping public opinion guidance laws is grasping timeliness, extent and effect. Public opinion guidance’s importance lies in being early, its value lies in speed, its timeliness and newness are prominent, and it relies on speed to win the advantage; in responding to major incidents and sudden incidents, it is even more necessary to react rapidly and speak out timely, to occupy the commanding heights of the opportune moment, and ensure being one step ahead of people, overawe others by displaying strength, and rely on effectiveness to gain the initiative. Public opinion guidance is the art of grasping extent, having a good idea of how things stand, expertise and skill in moderation. If for same event, opportunities to deal with it are different, judgments are different or there is a different extent of propriety and proper restraint, different effects will be generated. This requires that we grasp political extent, policy extent and the extent of economic and social hot spots well, grasp the selection of opportunities, the acceptance or rejection of angles, the length of writing, the application of methods, exercise a sense of propriety with regards to timing, a sense of degree in strength, weakness, harness and softness, and pay attention to appropriateness and moderation. The quality of public opinion guidance in the final analysis means effect. This requires that we strengthen the focus and artistry of public opinion guidance, and ensure that the salutary effect of education deeply enters hearts and minds.

The clearest reflection of abiding by news communication and public opinion guidance laws is letting news and propaganda content become better to read or watch and more loved by the audience. If content is better, and the audience loves it, this concentratedly reflects the level and effect of news communication and public opinion guidance. To this end, we must persist in the “three stick close” [sticking close to life, reality and the masses], deeply “march, transform and improve” [short for march towards the grass roots, transform work styles and improve writing styles], and not only resolve the questions of “what to say” and “what to report”, but also strive to resolve the questions of “how to say it” and “how to report it”. Only by abandoning inveterate habits that have established themselves, expunging the inertia of mechanical copying and bidding farewell to self-sung small sentiments, can news and propaganda work become further separated from preaching, and come closer to the people. We must improve propaganda on circumstances, propaganda on achievements, propaganda on models and propaganda on themes, let news reporting become faster, more lively and brighter, let comment and theory renew itself, become excellent and substantial, let the masses love to see and transmit it, to ensure that our propaganda becomes more vivid and vigorous, is ever richer in attraction and infectiousness, and thereby broaden the influence and coverage of news and propaganda, and public opinion guidance.

Deeply understand the important elaboration in he speech concerning strengthening the social responsibility of media and strengthening team construction, ensure that people are responsible for to protecting the territory, they bear responsibility to protect the territory and implement responsibility protect the territory

In his important speech, Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that news and propaganda involves every aspect of society, its influence is broad, the media’s sense of social responsibility must be strengthened, and the quality of news teams must be raised, to ensure that people are responsible for to protecting the territory, they bear responsibility to protect the territory and implement responsibility protect the territory. This reflected the consistent requirement of the news theory of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, which is the important principle of strengthening media construction and team construction.

Marx vividly said once that newspapers and periodicals are circulating “currency” of special public opinion, “they regularly and deeply influence public opinion” and therefore must strengthen a sense of social responsibility. Following economic globalization, social informatization and the daily intensifying media competition, the social responsibility of media is becoming more prominent every day. In the face of the interaction, mingling and clashing of ideological concepts and a complex plural, diverse and variable terrain, in the face of new topics that emerge one after another, in the face of the massive uproar of social public opinion, we must strengthen ideological concepts, strengthen political concentration, stand strongly on political standpoints, and incessantly strengthen the political responsibility, professional responsibility and moral responsibility of media; we must carry our glorious traditions forward, carry forward a professional spirit, scrupulously abide by professional morals, and hammer a good work style of respecting work and diligence, being meticulous and pragmatic, upright, just and incorruptible into shape. In strengthening the social responsibility of media, all news personnel must be the subjects of responsibility, we must realistically ensure that people are responsible for to protecting the territory, they bear responsibility to protect the territory and implement responsibility protect the territory.

News and propaganda conduct construction in people’s minds, they are a creative work, the level of news workers’ own thoughts, qualities and professional abilities is therefore important. The more that the public opinion environment becomes intricate and complex, and media structures change deeply, the more we must strengthen the construction of news teams’ qualities and abilities, to let these teams become powerful. We must strengthen study, overcome “skills panics”, and raise their ability to adapt to new circumstances, new technologies and new tasks; we must strengthen innovation, make liberating thoughts into the master switch for reform and innovation, maintain the acuity and openness of ideology, forcefully move conceptual and methodological innovation in news and propaganda forward, dare to break through the fetters of outmoded thinking, quit fixed and customary thinking, strengthen ideological innovation, content innovation, formal innovation and communication innovation skills, devote ourselves to have “a few brushes” in theory, writing ability, eloquence and specialization, and become expert hands that convince the people.

In the present world, which is undergoing great changes and readjustments, the waves of the times are vast and mighty. At present, China is in a crucial stage of reform and development, the people across the country are high-spirited and vigorous, and they spare no effort to compose new pages in their beautiful lives. People’s hearts are united, and there are many Mount Tais. In the journey to comprehensively construct a moderately prosperous society and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, news and propaganda work has a glorious mission and a major responsibility, which at the same time is innovation and .very challenging. The elaboration concerning news and propaganda in Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech was rich in content, deep in thinking and grave in weight, and has provided strong ideological weapons to do news and propaganda work well in the new period.

At present, the most important thing in studying and implementing the Marxist news view well, and doing news and propaganda work well, is studying and implementing the spirit of this important speech of Comrade Xi Jinping well. The history and practice of decades of news and propaganda prove that the Marxist news view guide our country’s Socialist new undertaking towards gaining one victory after another. If we deeply study and comprehend the spirit of Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech, completely implement the series of new thoughts, new viewpoints and new requirements in the speech concerning news and propaganda, truly grasp the strategic thinking, systemic thinking, dialectical thinking and baseline thinking reflected in the speech, revolve around the Centre, serve the bigger picture, inspire spirits, seek truth and are pragmatic, we will certainly be able to obtain new achievements in news and propaganda, pioneer a new picture for the news undertaking, let the Party feel at ease and let the people feel satisfied.

(The author is the Editor-in-Chief of the People’s Daily)

































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