evening newspapers and weekend editions


evening newspapers and weekend editions
Evening newspapers, and more recently weekend editions, are noted for their less political content and focus on ‘social news’ emphasizing human-interest stories and issues close to people’s everyday lives. In the post-Mao period, weekend editions in particular have exploited this degree of freedom from politics to great commercial advantage and set new agendas for the Chinese press.
In the late 1950s the Party launched several evening newspapers including the nationally recognized Yangcheng Evening News and Beijing Evening News, with a remit to provide readers with a broader range of news than the strictly politically oriented daily papers. Evening newspapers offered lighter, ‘softer’ news for an urban readership, although still retaining their political and propaganda responsibilities. In the 1980s and 1990s evening newspapers proliferated, numbering 128 titles by 1994 (Zhao 1998:130).
In the 1980s, weekend editions, most notably the Nanfang Weekend, published in Guangzhou, pushed this manner of reporting much further. Weekend editions, even those launched by major Party organ newspapers, did not carry the burden of political propaganda reporting that other newspapers, including evening papers, usually bore.
They focused on longer feature articles about social issues from crime and corruption to education, health and consumerism, proving enormously popular with readers throughout the country. The leading weekend editions, such as the Nanfang Weekend, quickly accrued a lucrative circulation of millions. They were not only highly profitable but also showed other newspapers, who emulated them as far as possible within their politically defined remits, the kinds of stories readers liked to see. They showed a new way forward for a Chinese newspaper industry longing to loosen its politically defined chains.
Zhao, Y. 1998. Media, Market, and Democracy in China: Between the Party Line and the Bottom Line. Chicago: University of Illinois.
KEVIN LATHAM

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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