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Traditional media should increase authority in news commentary

Author  :  Zhao Zhenyu     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-05-31

New media like Weibo and WeChat are now transforming the traditional media landscape, and a diversified discourse system is taking shape. Moreover, these days, people have more channels to express themselves and tend to do fragmented writing and reading. Against this backdrop, traditional media should strengthen its advantage in news commentary and enhance its ability to guide public opinion.

News commentary plays a significant role in effecting social transformation, and it flourishes on both traditional and online media. Social transformation creates various topics for news commentary that can offer inspiration on how to discover, analyze and solve social problems.

However, traditional media has a number of advantages relative to Internet media in terms of commentary. For example, commentary in traditional media tends to be more rational and deep as well as rigorous in argument and logic. It can invoke readers’ own thinking and manifest the authority of the mainstream ideology.

Facing challenges posed by emerging new media, to maintain the advantages in news commentary, traditional media should take measures to foster brands and enhance their credibility.

First, traditional media can increase authority by producing quality news commentary. Commentary on traditional media usually has more relevance to the topic and is more persuasive because of its tight argumentation. It often can offer practical thoughts and feasible methods for the government and public institutions.

Second, traditional media should expand the range of topics. Topics for news commentary can include political system design, social structural framing, as well as culture and ideology.

Nevertheless, these are not enough. News commentaries should advocate values of the times and focus on people’s real lives, so that thay can catch public attention and win recognition. This is the fundamental way to maintain the vitality of traditional media.

Lastly, traditional media should be more open and encourage the involvement of the masses. The source of online media commentary’s vitality is the ability for readers to interact with writers freely, while in traditional media, like newspapers, this interaction is harder to achieve. In fact, news commentaries, especially those closely related to people’s lives, in essence require public engagement.

Also, for editors, they should not choose the commentaries based on their own preferences. Newspapers should build platforms for the public to engage in dialogue with commentators as well as express their views.

With the boom of online media, traditional media will inevitably meet challenges. However, if they can reflect on the reality and constantly innovate themselves, they will embrace a bright future.


Zhao Zhenyu is a professor from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan.

Editor: Yu Hui

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