The new community papers are displayed at the staff meeting, run by Mr. Zhao, right.
The new community papers are displayed at the staff meeting, run by Mr. Zhao, right.

Jock Lauterer, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Carolina Community Media Project at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has returned to China for a third summer to teach Community Journalism at workshops from Beijing to Chongqing to Guangzhou. His field guide and text book,  “Community Journalism: Relentlessly Local,” has been revised and translated into Chinese and will be published next week in China. He is blogging about the experience and the burgeoning growth of community newspapers on his “Blue Highways Journal.”

 

Print is alive and well here. The major daily newspaper here, the 330,000-circulation Chongqing Morning News, just bought a state-of-the-art German printing press and launched three new community newspapers this year.

Vanishing? In a pig’s eye.

Mr. Zhao, the paper’s silver-haired and steely-eyed leader, begins a morning staff meeting to explore ways the papers can improve. One of their challenges, he explains: how to help foster a sense of community — what the Chinese call “the harmonious society.” —  in this sprawling industrial city of over 30 million. What’s my advice? Mr. Zhao asks. I tell them, you need civic engagement — and to create that, the papers must convince so-called ordinary citizens of their individual civic importance.

When I am finished, the room gets very quiet, punctuated only the incessant honking of traffic outside the open screenless windows.

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