At the gate, I am greeting with a salute and a newspaper.
At the gate, I am greeted with a salute and a newspaper. (Jock Lauterer photos)

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.

 

When is a community not a community?

When it is gated.

Oh, I can hear the folks from Briar Chapel hollering from here.

I’m sorry; i don’t wish to offend anyone. But to my way of thinking, the two words “Gated” and “Community” don’t belong together. Reckon I’m just an old purist on that score.

So it’s no surprise that my review of two of the Chongqing Morning News’ start-ups wasn’t so glowing: they’re in partnership with very large, upscale gated communities. So of course, there is nothing critical or controversial in the papers.

Is this not a conflict of interest, I ask my host?

Not in China, I am told.

When I make a judgmental comment about the sanctity of our journalistic moral code, I am sternly (but playfully) rebuked by Prof. Chen, “You are such an ARROGANT AMERICAN!”

Teachable Moment # 47.  “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Take-away: This is China (as I have been told repeatedly and daily) and this is an experimental model. Let’s see if it works! As they have taught me to say here: Who knows?!

The real estate developers are pleased with the new community newspaper as branding tool.
The real estate developers say they are pleased with the new community newspaper as branding tool.
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