Danwei interviews TIME Magazine journalist Austin Ramzy and asks about “his reporting background, the stories that he has written from Beijing, and why TIME closed down the TIME China blog”:
Danwei: How long have you been covering China affairs for TIME? Did your methods of working change when you moved from Hong Kong to Beijing? Did any new difficulties arise or was Beijing a easier place to be a China journalist?
Austin Ramzy: I started as an intern at TIME Asia in 2003. I was eventually hired full-time and worked four years as a reporter-researcher. That’s TIME-speak for a fact checker who is sometimes uncaged to write book reviews, obituaries, short pieces based on reporting from stringers in the field and occasionally even cover stories. The opportunities to cover China from that job were somewhat limited. I did write about Hong Kong politics, but only made a few reporting trips to the mainland.
When I moved to Beijing in the summer of 2007 someone I interviewed often told me that reporters used to sit in Hong Kong trying to figure out what was happening in Beijing, now they go to Beijing to figure out what is happening in Hong Kong. This city has become an important place for journalism, not just for covering China but global issues as well. The variety of interesting people and stories you can find in Beijing more than make up for the difficulties of living and working here.