While foreign journalists have recently faced visa delays and denials in China, their Chinese counterparts must now go through extensive training and take a revised examination with a focus on the “Marxist view of journalism” in order to renew their press credentials. One reporter posted to Weibo a PowerPoint slide from a recent training session:
1. News focuses on information, propaganda on format.
2. News focuses on originality, propaganda on repetition.
3. News focuses on fact, propaganda on opinion.
4. News focuses on the timely, propaganda on timing.
5. News focuses on communication, propaganda on manipulation.
6. News focuses on balance, propaganda on spin.
The slide is not a reminder to stick to the news. The study guide for the new exam explains, “Unlike Western countries, the most important function of news media in our country is to be the ears, eyes, throat and tongue for the Party and the people.”
On that note, journalists have also been circulating “free tips” (福利贴) for the exam online:
Journalists across the country are renewing their press credentials. Among the far-flung victims are a few master students who have figured out the mystical pattern [of the exam], shared here for the benefit of all. Multiple choice: If there’s an answer that’s the Party, choose the Party; if not, choose the people. Check all that apply: Choose both the Party and the people; remember that the Party hasn’t done propaganda. Essay question: The Party is right, the people are only right when they are with the Party.