China’s investigative journalists keep pushing the envelope

By David Bandurski — Yesterday’s edition of Singapore’s Straits Times took an in-depth look at the current state and development of investigative reporting in China. The full-page spread included interviews with China Media Project fellows Wang Keqin (王克勤) and Zhan Jiang (展江), as well as a profile of Pang Jiaoming, a young investigative reporter from Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily.

The feature is fully accessible only to newspaper subscribers, but a portion is available through Lexis Nexis.

[ABOVE: A portion of the Straits Times page on investigative reporting in China.]

A portion of the Straits Times coverage follows:

Dancing in shackles: China’s investigative journalists keep pushing the envelope
Sim Chi Yin, China Correspondent

Beijing: Poor farmers getting Aids from selling blood to illegal collectors. Teenage slaves in underground brick factories. Shoddy ‘tofu’ schools collapsing like a pack of cards in an earthquake.

These eye-popping stories from China’s underbelly were widely reported in the international press in recent years. But behind each of these world headlines is a small army of Chinese investigative journalists who first unearthed the dirt.

While China is still better known for a largely propagandist press and strict censorship, a school of tough home-grown investigative journalists has emerged in the past 10 years or so, documenting scandals, corruption and abuse of power – occasionally toppling officials but sometimes paying a personal price for their efforts. It may not quite be the Fourth Estate as in the Western press but a form of ‘watchdog journalism’ exists in China. >>MORE

[Posted by David Bandurski, January 11, 2010, 9:37am HK]

2 Comments to “China’s investigative journalists keep pushing the envelope”

  1. Katia Ward says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    My name is Katia Ward and I am in my final year of a degree course in journalism at the University College Falmouth. I am conducting research for my dissertation, the title of which is ‘Will WikiLeaks herald a power shift in journalism and a more open society?’ I realize that you must be very busy, but I would really appreciate it if you could devote a few minutes to answering the questions below, adding any comments after each question. I have contacted a number of newspapers and magazines, but so far only Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, has replied. If you could also forward my questionnaire to any other journalists I would be extremely grateful.

    Thank you very much.

    Kind regards,

    Katia Ward

    Can websites like WikiLeaks transform journalism? (e.g. the use of ‘crowd-sourcing’’ rather than relying on the lone investigative journalist) Yes/No

    Has a new form of collaboration been established between the new and old media (e.g. WikiLeaks enlisting selected newspapers to check and disseminate its revelations) Yes/No

    Will WikiLeaks’ revelations have an impact on governments? Yes/No

    If yes, will it make them more open and accountable? Yes/No

    Will the sheer extent of WikiLeaks’ revelations and the publicity surrounding their publication cause more people to question the policies and agendas of their governments? Yes/No

    Additional comments

  2. opolis says:

    We wanted to approach you in regards to an initiative which may be useful for investigative journalism: Opolis Secure Mail provids free, encrypted email and messaging services, whereby the sender decides what the recipent can actually do with a message and its content. And, the sender can always monitor and track emails (also to whom – if allowed – these were forwarded).
    Our thoughts are in regards to investigative journalists, who may benefit from this application, especially when working on highly sensitive reports. Interestingly enough, the service works from every host PC, and working with Opolis there would not leave any “traces” there either.
    Would be great, if this were of interest to you.
    The Opolis Team is also avail for any questions you may have.

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