Gao Gang (高钢): Controlling the Effect of News Publication in the Internet Information Environment

gaogangIn China, several political bodies are in charge of Internet content control. At the highest level, there is the Central Propaganda Department, which ensures that media and cultural content follows the official line as mandated by the CCP. Then there is the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which has established “Internet Affairs Bureau” to oversee all Websites that publish news, including the official sites of news organizations as well as independent sites that post news content.

Recently, the ninth session of the 2009 SCIO Internet News Work Training Session just finished in Beijing. All participants are top editors and managers of major news websites in China. The trainers include:

* Li Wufeng, Bureau Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau
* Peng Bo, Deputy Chief of the State Council Information Office Internet Affairs Bureau
* Professor Zhu Feng, Peking University School of International Relations
* Song Fufan, Director of the Ideology and Political Education Teaching and Research Section of the Marxist Theory Research Department at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China
* Zhai Huisheng, Party Secretary of the All China Federation of Working Journalists
* Professor Gao Gang, Secretary of the Party Committee of Renmin University School of Journalism and Communication
* Xia Chenghua, Deputy Chief of the Central Government Stability Preservation Leading Group Office
* Zhou Xisheng, Deputy Chief of Xinhua News Agency, Director-General of Xinhua News Agency

Soon after the training finished, one of the participants released her notes from this session online. CDT has translated the entire collection of notes from this 2009 SCIO Internet News Work training session; in total there are eight articles, which we will publish consecutively in coming days. CDT would like to thank the translator, who wishes to remain anonymous. Read the previous installments of notes. What follows is the sixth installment:

Professor Gao Gang, Secretary of the Party Committee of Renmin University School of Journalism and Communication

Content of the lesson:
A. First, explain the changes in humankind’s information environment by using the examples of Google Earth, Renlifang* etc. Explain the importance of Internet information.
B. What is “the news?” The news is information that gets derailed from the normal course of events; it is information that breaks from one’s normal expectations. The news is a type of information; people need this kind of information to direct their lives. The news will always be based on a concept of contrast.
C. Suggestions for internet news providers: fully understand the country’s situation, master the skills and science of reporting, improve the depth of information provided.
D. Important points on the language used in news reporting
i. Use concrete nouns; don’t use general words. For example, if you know that the news story involves apples, then definitely don’t write “fruit.”
ii. Use adjectives carefully. Don’t use adverbs. It’s best not to use phrases such as “deeply touched.”
iii. Use action verbs, make the place described come to life.
E. It is very important to specify the source of the news item.
Unless it is common sense, one must clarify the source of information that one does not see with one’s own eyes. Do not use anonymous sources. If unclear about the veracity of news information, one must find at least two impartial sources to check the veracity of the information.


* Renlifang is a search engine that allows users to navigate through search results and explore relationships between entities.

[To be continued]