Two accomplished journalists have begun conducting new research on China at the JMSC.
Nip, a senior lecturer in the University of Sydney’s Department of Media and Communications, was a reporter for the Sing Tao Daily News in London, and in Hong Kong for the Sing Tao Evening News, South China Morning Post and Asia Television. She also served as Capital Magazine’s assistant managing editor.
She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where she researched how public journalism is practiced in the United States.
Nip will be spending her time at the JMSC analyzing how the social media website Sina Weibo affects public opinion in China. She will be collaborating with JMSC professor King-wa Fu on the project, looking at how information spreads on Sina Weibo and what type of users are the most influential in forming public opinion in China.
She noted that social media now play an important role on the mainland by breaking the state’s monopoly of public communication and giving citizens space to voice their opinions.
“Weibo has become an important space for Chinese citizens to express and share views about public events and issues,” Nip said. “It involves government officials and agencies as well – not only as respondents to public opinion but also as users themselves. It’s creating a new relationship between government and people. We’ll study these [things] in a number of recent news cases.”
This summer, Howard French is exploring the roots of China’s recent territorial disputes in East Asia. And from mid-August until February of next year, Dr. Joyce Nip will be examining how public opinion is formed on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular social networking site.
French, a journalism professor at Columbia University, was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times for two decades, serving in Central America and the Caribbean, West Africa, Japan and the Koreas, and China. He has won several awards including two Overseas Press Club Awards and the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Environmental Reporting.
His work at the JMSC is part of research for a book about China’s relations with its neighbors to the east and southeast – the Koreas, Japan, and the nations of Southeast Asia.
“With many of these countries there has been an increase in tension over territory issues recently,” French said. “I am trying to understand the historical basis of these disputes. And in a narrower sense, whether or not there is a larger idea of China’s own sense of its neighborhood.”
He recently completed a book on the relationship between China and Africa – and the Chinese immigrant experience in Africa – that will be published in May 2014 by Knopf.