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New-media reporting a growing trend

By Chen Xin  (China Daily)

09:39, February 06, 2013

Xi's visits to Gansu province covered by a series of updated news reports

China's major media organizations are becoming increasingly open to new media, experts said.

An example is Xinhua News Agency's reporting on Party chief Xi Jinping's visits to northwestern China's Gansu province on its micro blog from Sunday to Tuesday.

The micro blog started to report Xi's moves on Dec 30, when he visited an impoverished village in Fuping county, Hebei province.

It posted a 130-word report at 2 pm on Sunday after Xi visited a water supply project and greenhouses used to grow potatoes in Dingxi, Gansu, on Sunday morning.

The micro blog posted another report three minutes later, saying Xi recalled his tough rural years while meeting local villagers discussing ways to alleviate poverty.

At 5 pm, the micro blog reported that 447 families in Yuangudui village received gifts that included flour, cooking oil and pork from the Party chief.

At noon on Monday, Xinhua's micro blog successively posted three reports on Xi's visits that morning to a Lanzhou market and a restaurant where senior citizens can enjoy subsidized meals.

Its micro blog also posted timely reports on Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit on Sunday to a railway station in Baotou in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, to see off migrant workers who were about to return home for Lunar New Year, and on Li's visit to a local shantytown the same day.

"It shows that top leaders are more open to media's reporting methods," said Dong Guanpeng, director of the Institute of Public Relations and Strategic Communications at Tsinghua University.

Dong said Xinhua is taking advantage of new-media tools, which reflects that official media have realized that the "micro blog has growing importance in news reporting".

"Xi has set a good example for other leaders by allowing media to provide timely reports on his moves through micro blogs," he said. "It will be a trend."

Dong said traditional news reporting on top leaders requires relatively lengthy censorship procedures, which delays news to the public by half a day or even a full day.

Dong also noted that Xinhua's micro blog uses shorter reports and simpler language in reports of top leaders' activities, and that makes reports more popular with the public.

Liu Xiaoying, a professor of news media research at Communication University of China, said official media such as Xinhua and People's Daily are obliged to report on key news and events in a timely manner.

"Xinhua's news reporting of top leaders through its micro blog has also set an example for other official media," he said.

"Now more people choose to receive news information on the Internet, so it requires media to offer news in a quicker, more abbreviated and understandable manner," Liu said. "More in-depth reports can be reported later through other media."

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