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Reporters head to the 'roots' of a story

(China Daily)

10:39, August 24, 2011

BEIJING - Reporters across the country will be digging more in the grassroots for stories as part of a national "go grassroots" campaign.

Launched by five Party and government departments, the campaign will reflect the thoughts of people at the grassroots and prompt public discussion.

It will also improve the quality of journalists who communicate closely with the grassroots, said a statement from the departments, which include the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the General Administration of Press and Publication.

As part of its role in the campaign, China Daily plans to establish a number of columns such as "on the spot" and "stories of common people" in the paper and online, with reports from border regions, rural areas, coal mines, and so on.

For some time, new reporters at China Daily have been sent to provincial stations to gain grassroots experience.

State media, including People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency and China National Radio have pledged to help reporters dig out more vivid stories of grassroots life.

Shi Jingnan, a reporter with Xinhua News Agency who participated in grassroots reporting during the Spring Festival, said she was impressed while talking with migrant workers who were rushing to get on the train and refused to talk with her.

"Talking with the underprivileged gave me quite a different view of their lives," Shi said, adding that though the grassroots interview was tougher than expected, it did make her realize that her work should be close to the reality of people's lives.

Liu Xiaoying, a professor of media studies at the Communication University of China, told China Daily on Tuesday that the campaign is aimed at promoting a sense of journalism ethics.

The campaign was expected to encourage Chinese reporters to develop more sources of information from the grassroots level rather than rely too much on micro blogs, Liu said.

"Many newspapers have become published versions of micro blogs, with rumors that have sometimes harmed the credibility of the media themselves," Liu said.

"Only when the reporters cover the stories on the spot will their stories be balanced and authentic."

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