Chinese Investigative Journalists' Dreams

Autonomy, Agency, and Voice

Contributions by Hongyi Bai, Li-Fung Cho, Laura Dombernowsky, Maria Repnikova, Elin Sæther, Fei Shen, Marina Svensson, Jingrong Tong, Haiyan Wang, Zhian Zhang Edited by Marina Svensson, Elin Sæther, Zhian Zhang

Hardback - £84.00

Publication date:

11 December 2013

Length of book:

238 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739189870

This edited volume brings together scholars positioned in and outside of China, including former Chinese journalists, in a comprehensive and in-depth study of Chinese investigative journalists’ dreams, work practices, and strategies. It is the first book that systematically addresses the roles and values of Chinese investigative journalists in different types of media, in the process addressing topics such as journalism education, different generations and sub-groups among investigative journalists, and gendered roles within investigative journalism.

The book discusses journalists’ relations with the state and issues of political control and censorship but seeks to unpack the state by looking at different administrative levels, institutions and geographical locations. Furthermore, the authors acknowledge and analyze how investigative journalism today is shaped, constrained and negotiated through contacts with other actors than the state, including companies, civil society, and the audience. The book sheds light on the possibilities and restrictions for more critical journalism in an authoritarian regime.
Investigative journalists form a very small but highly interesting subgroup amongst journalists in China. The study of this group can provide information not only about journalism but also about the limits and liberties which critical groups and networks have in an authoritarian state like China. Investigative journalists are therefore often mentioned when discussing journalism and critical debate in China, but so far it has been a challenge to find extensive and recent information on the size and individual variation within this group. The value of this edited volume is that it brings together a wealth of new, solid information on investigative journalists, mainly based on empirical work carried out by scholars both within and outside of China. . . .As indicated by the title, the book focuses on the values, experiences and ideas of investigative journalists themselves rather than on an analysis of their journalistic production. This does not only make the book a fascinating and entertaining read, it also leads to surprising insights in the tensions between what journalists want to achieve and what they can actually achieve in present-day China. . . .The book is clearly the work of people who are aware of the multilayered nature of Chinese society. It describes the complex interactions between journalists and the subjects of their investigation, their colleagues, their audiences, the media they work for, commercial entities and local, regional and national government bodies. Jingrong Tong, in her informative chapter on local investigative journalism, shows which regional and local conditions play a role in the flowering of investigative journalism in certain regions rather than others.