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Journalist Fellows' Papers

How has China's home-grown social media Wechat changed the traditional media landscape?

Reuters Institute Fellow's Paper

Chen Liang, an in-depth reporter for The Global Times in China, has spent six months researching how the Chinese homegrown and immensely popular social media app Wechat has influenced the traditional media landscape.

Here is what she writes about her research paper:

"For a long time, journalists and editors have tried to find out where their audiences are and how to engage with them. In China, the rise of home-grown social media has changed the situation. With 600 million users, Wechat is the most popular social media app in China. Its public accounts are used as multi-media platforms where users can engage in independent discussions on public affairs. With over 8 million public accounts, Wechat has now become a major source for Chinese people to look for news and information. This paper looks at the ‘likes’ of the audiences by classifying and analysing 300 popular articles from the Wechat public account of China’s state media CCTV and of an example from the commercial media, The Global Times. Both are influential legacy media and both are seeking to extend their impact on the Wechat platform. The articles were classified by topic, form, genre, headlines, length, angle and emotion. By examining the two media in detail, my paper aims to offer guidelines for media practitioners trying to understand more about their readers. Amongst the many results, the paper’s key findings are that journalists should try to offer amusing, inspiring and interesting content on Wechat."

As with all Fellows’ research papers, any opinions expressed are those of the author and not of the Institute.

Image: REUTERS/Bobby Yip