Words from Editor - It has been long time since our last issue!

Mak Yin Ting

The Journalist has been taking a rest for a while and here we come, again! We hope very much that the periodical will reach you on time in the days to come.

In this issue, we focus on the news coverage of social unrest, an issue that Hong Kong journalists face quite often. Therefore, I think the review of the covering of Xianjing riots which took place on July 5 is useful although it happened more than two months ago. As a matter of fact, riots happened again in Xianjing in September when this issue has yet to published.

The Chinese government used different media tactics in Xianjing riots took place in July compared with that of Lhasa which occurred on March 14, 2008. Choy Chi-yuk of SCMP explains to us how this “soft control” operates and how we can deal with it. However, it seems that the soft control did work if we consider the mild reaction from the international community and positive reaction from the media. This left the media reports with blind spots and myths. That's what Qian Gang from the Hong Kong University tells us in his article so we can avoid falling into the trap and better handle the one sided information provided by the government. Moreover, Roland Soong, a blogger pushes correspondents working in China to be more professional, reasonably analyse the limits journalists face and let us, kings without crowns, to stay on our feet. It is true that we feel more parts of an elephant than people in the street do. Nevertheless, it is far from getting the whole of the elephant right. However, I disagree, with due respect, with Roland on the point that reporters may consider whether the readers are ready for the crude truth before reporting. Yet, it is a good point to think about and to discuss.

Equally worthy of reflection is the formation of a trade union inside the Next Media group. As we all know, trade unionism is weak in Hong Kong. It is even harder to form a trade union in an industry as marked by individualism as journalism. The effort may yet be in vain. So, why have colleagues at Apple Daily bothered? Will you stop and think of how things will go if there was no trade union in safeguarding your rights. Call me outdated but I have to say that when journalists speak out for minorities' rights, they must not forget to fight for their own rights.

September marks the beginning of a new academic year. It also marks the termination of internship of journalism students. Their encounters during their internship will affect their career prospects. On the other hand, it provides us with a preview of a new crop of journalists who will be the mainstay of our industry in the near future. However, the quality of this mainstay is becoming doubtful as working benefits have sunk with the deteriorating economy. As Professor Ying Chan of the HKU points out, this is a question for the whole industry.

Perhaps, it is time the bosses of the various media organizations also give some deep thought to it.