This article was originally published in People’s Daily on 19 August
As the “lowered head tribe” are ambling through the torrent of information, they might not yet have paid attention to the fact that media themselves are seeing a profound change.
From the People’s Daily client coming online ceremoniously to the wind and waves stirred up in a short time by ThePaper.cn, and again to a number of Internet portal websites’ resigning themselves to “also being traditional media” as new media swiftly storm the beaches, the harbinger of media transformation have arrived everywhere already. And the starting gun has officially gone off on 18 August 2014. This day and this year will be written into the annals of history as the first year of converged media development in China.
On this day, the Central Leading Group for Deepening Reform convened its 4th meeting, where it deliberated and passed the “Guiding Opinions concerning Promoting the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media”. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed at this meeting that “[we must] forge a batch of new mainstream enterprises that are diverse in form, with advanced methods, which are competitive, and build a number of new media groups that are have strong force, propaganda strength, credibility and influence, and shape a three-dimensional, diverse and modern communication system with converged development. ”
This is an extremely weighty signal, which not only means that the Centre has profound insight into and a wise foresight concerning media development and transformation, it also indicates that the Centre is determined to play the next “offensive gambit” of reform, starting with the strategic structure of the media, occupying the public opinion battlefield and grasping the initiative in a new media structure. Clearly, this is a deployment with strategic significance, the opportune moment for reform and media transformation should be in step or even in the lead. In circumstances where the tasks of reform are extremely complicated, giving priority to deploying converged media development even more prominently reveals the wishes and hopes that China places on telling the Chinese story well against the background of profoundly entering the world.
The rise of new media is an irreversible trend. With the support of technological innovation, it has come onto the stage strongly, and has many advantages with which traditional media cannot compare, and has simultaneously brought a huge impact onto traditional media. Not coping with this great trend means traditional media will inevitably come to a miserable ending. Promoting the converged development of traditional media and new media can be seen as planning according to the circumstances, moving in response to the circumstances, and acting in step with the circumstances. And by grasping the laws of news communication and the development laws of new media, new media has added a pair of wings to traditional media. The clash is on the surface, convergence takes place at depth, and a new structure and a new model of converged media development will inevitably form.
We must consider that traditional media has been under assault, which on the surface is an assault by new technologies and new business models, but in fact is an assault of content. In a certain sense, new media have great development potential and they are greatly welcomed by audiences, fundamentally speaking, new media has the capacity to be good at telling stories, and at the same time will deeply forge the capacity to tell stories, because whoever is not good at telling stories will not be able to attract audiences, and will be eliminated. Exactly this sort of ability is the shortcoming in traditional media that must be remedied.
It is as General Secretary Xi Jinping said, “persist in taking advanced technology as support and content construction as the foundation, promote the profound converge of traditional media and new media in areas such as content, channels, platforms, operations and management”. From the angle of the current situation, deep convergence involves many areas, but from the fundamental and long-term angles, it is necessary to realize many transformations in thinking and ideas, and production methods in terms of content. This sort of change clearly cannot rely on the self-production of traditional media, but it is necessary ensure that, among the collision and tempering of ideas and under the drive and leadership of technology our capacity to tell stories reaches new frontiers.
How should we let your language seize audiences? How do we use your story to affect readers? How do we make audiences want to hear your voice and believe what you say? Media communication work essentially is the work of creating people’s thoughts. Invisible propaganda is the most brilliant communication. Coercion is ineffective, only by bringing life as the spring breeze and rain, by silently watering everything is it possible to reach people’s hearts. In this sense, converged media development triggers a transformation of understanding the laws of news communication anew, it is a self-reflection and self-improvement of media personalities through the drive of new technology.
In a situation of converged media development, as we gain the ability to tell stories, present-day China will stand in front of the world with an even clearer and more vivid image, and tough the hearts and souls of the people of the world. And we will have new mainstream media and new media groups, which will reveal to the world that China’s image will not be deformed, but will become even more true, civilized and amiable.