How Was Being an Intern in Online News Media?

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Hit by the inspiration in Data journalism, I realized the important role of the Internet in mass communications and also the transition journalism is undergoing. Online media as a new form of journalism is rising quickly in China. In summer 2019, I got a chance to work in Tengji, a cultural communication company associated with Tencent News in Guandong that is one of the biggest online news agencies in China.
I applied for this position online, and got a call for an interview. When the supervisor looked at the sample news works I produced during the study at AUCA, he accepted me but also said, “news in China work differently and you will learn it”. I worked as an intern editor in the daily newsroom. My work was to produce articles including soft articles, short news features, sometimes first-hand news reports, and post them online. Because of political sensitivity, Tencent News in Guangdong was more likely to avoid political topics in the news content which is different from what I learned at AUCA. I had to shrink the scale of news stories. And since online articles compete intensely in catching the audience as fast as possible, the writing style and language had to be very appealing.
I did have a chance to apply the skills I learned in class, though. I had enough room to pitch the stories that I liked. For example, once I wrote about the top-five restaurant brands in Foshan city as a data story. I collected and cleaned the primary data on the amounts of restaurants, integrating them in a visualization.

Also, I applied the data research skill in an investigative story which revealed a popular body-wash company hiding the potential harm toward baby’s skin in its product. Even though the Chinese news industry has different rules, there were opportunities to connect it to what I have learned at JMC.

Other practical skills like online platform operation and interview techniques made my internship more fruitful. I had an opportunity to participate in the feature project about Jiujiang Guangdong distillery Co., Ltd. who is one of the wine companies with a long history. In the interview with the CEO of Jiujiang, I helped the journalist crew in terms of discussion, interview questions and video shooting. 

Even though working in Tengji might have not been the best option to fully practice journalist skills because of the limitation of online media in China, it has provided me with unexpected experiences in the news field and a better insight of how new media function.

Jijun Chen (Emily), JMC-118

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