On Ending Media Pay-offs in China

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On Monday Advertising Age published my editorial calling for an end to the common practice of paying journalists in China for coverage. You can read the editorial here.

Early reactions are mostly supportive, but there are a number of people who believe that the problem will never be solved. I respectfully disagree. Historically the media in every society have gone through a corrupt phase. Current journalistic practice and standards in the developed world did not suddenly appear ex nihilo: nearly all were created to address an extant practice rather than to anticipate one that might arise.

Viewed against the canvas of history, China’s media are relatively young, and the industry has experienced profound disruptions in the past 70 years. There has been too little time for standards and high-minded practices to develop, and we are probably a generation away from seeing Chinese journalism rise above the shackles of propaganda, yellow journalism, and corruption.

But rise they will, and the sooner we discard the notion that there is no hope for these practices to end, the sooner the problem gets fixed.

Tom Gorman

David , Thanks for your excellent piece . Totally agree with your position . Agencies need to take a stand , as do media owners . Media owners need to pay more competitive wages to journalists , institute clear codes of ethics , and have supervision and governance measures in place . For your critics who say the problem will never be solved , I would offer the perspective of a media person who was working here before the problem developed . Never say never .
Tom Gorman