South China Morning Post: 1903-2015

Some question how The South China Morning Post, based in Hong Kong, can stay editorially independent if its new owners explicitly seek to improve China’s image.

Source: By Buying Paper, Alibaba Seeks To Polish China’s Image – The New York Times

Worrying about the editorial independence of the SCMP after its acquisition by Alibaba is much like fixing the fence after the horses have bolted. Those of us who have read the paper for thirty years or more know it to be a journalistic zombie.

The Post’s halcyon years ended with Rupert Murdoch’s privatization of the paper in 1987, and its subsequent stewardship by a Malaysian Chinese family known to be pro-Beijing has only hastened the end of editorial independence at the paper. The departures of journalists like Danny Gittings, Jasper Becker, Willy Lam, Nury Vittachi, Larry Feign, and Paul Mooney stand as mute testament to a newsroom increasingly constrained by the China apologetics of its owners.

Once the South China Morning Post and The Far East Economic Review offered between two covers the kind of insight and focus that we all need about the region. Today, all we can do to re-create what once landed on our doorsteps each morning is seek from across the web the sharp China coverage of a shrinking rank of publications willing to hire and pay for insightful and knowledgeable journalism on China.

Update: Edited Paul Mooney’s name for spelling.