Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Moving to a new url

I'm moving my new China weblog "China Herald" to a new host at www.chinaherald.net, that is - unlike the blogspot host - also available in China. Still finding out the right settings: I'm also trying to prove that a one-person enterprise by a journalist is possible today. I think it is, but it is not easy. Please have some patience.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Massacre in Nanjing

Published: December 24, 2003

To the Editor of the New York Times:

In his Dec. 20 column ("The China Threat?"), Nicholas D. Kristof dismissed China's estimate of 300,000 deaths in the Rape of Nanjing in 1937 and 1938 as "hyperbole," implying that the People's Republic of China had deliberately inflated the number to create "a new national glue to hold the country together."

However, the 300,000 death-toll figure for Nanjing was cited by Chinese and American investigators long before the People's Republic of China came into existence. Charitable organizations in Nanjing, like the Red Swastika Society and the Tsung Shan Tang, spent several months counting and disposing of the dead, and their burial records were submitted as evidence during war crimes tribunals.

In 1946, the chief prosecutor of the Nanjing District Court concluded that 260,000 Chinese had died from the massacre, while a summary report prepared by the head procurator of the same district court placed the number at more than 300,000.

San Jose, Calif., Dec. 21, 2003

The writer is the author of "The Rape of Nanking."

(Sorry had to do this: about foreign correspondents and the way how they get their facts right.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The end of a journey

Most of my basic investigation into the future of foreign correspondence has come to and end and that means also the end of my regular contributions to this public notebook. It will still take a few months before I resume activities back in Shanghai and will use the time to write down my stories and develop new activities.

Some early conclusions:
1. The downturn in foreign correspondence is not caused by the economic crisis, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq or even the emergence of the new media. The downward trend already started before halfway the 1990s, and has only been speeded up by recent events.
2. The system of foreign correspondence has never been perfect, to put it mildly. But both quality and volume of information about the rest of the world has never been in such a poor state as now, despite the availability of more news through the internet. Too often traditional media have consolidated their resources, cut down on foreign news and features and will do more so as their existence will be under threat from the emerging new media. Foreign correspondents are an easy way to cut down expenses.
3. There are new models emerging for foreign correspondence, especially on the internet. Those models, both in dealing with content and developing revenue models, are in very early stages of their development. Discussion should focus on how, not whether, they can develop into alternatives for the classic foreign correspondence.
4. Discussions on the new media are now too much dominated by technical and legal issues and are often limited to a small circle of US specialists. I do think that telling the story of the new media for both media professionals and consumers is necessary to broaden the basis of those new media. As the consumers will become incleasingly also reporters, sharing and discussing ethic codes is paramount.

A rather comprehensive story will be published in the summer edition of the Nieman Report of Harvard University.
For some Dutch media I will write articles and columns on my findings, and I might get involved into an ongoing research on the effect of internet on the media in the Netherlands.
As the discussion I propose will most certainly get a presence online, I will put up here any links to those websites, when available.

Best wishes and see you again in 2004.

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