Here, there, ev­ery­where

China Daily (Canada) - - RAILWAY -

China Daily now has more than 38 mil­lion so­cial me­dia read­ers, and with those num­bers comes more pres­sure to be first with the news, but also a greater duty to be vig­i­lant about the way we ex­e­cute our jour­nal­is­tic mis­sion.

The way in which we are han­dling it was well il­lus­trated by the heart-rend­ing story of Do­rian, the young Amer­i­can with cancer who had a dream of be­com­ing fa­mous in China.

Af­ter we be­came aware of Do­rian and acted on what we knew, the story reached 4 mil­lion read­ers on so­cial me­dia, do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. China Daily was the first me­dia to re­port the story in China, at least 24 hours be­fore most other na­tional me­dia such as CCTV, Xin­hua News Agency and Global Times.

So­cial net­work­ing web­sites started to flour­ish in China in 2008 when Bei­jing hosted the Olympic Games that be­gan with an open­ing cer­e­mony that as­ton­ished the world. This in­spired us to em­brace a more global pres­ence. A year later, China Daily’s so­cial me­dia cam­paign took off, start­ing with the launch of our of­fi­cial Weibo (Chi­nese equiv­a­lent of Twit­ter) ac­count in Novem­ber, which pub­lishes posts in both Chi­nese and English. Our of­fi­cial Facebook and Twit­ter pages were launched soon af­ter.

The of­fi­cial China Daily Weibo ac­count at­tracted more than 22 mil­lion fol­low­ers, gen­er­at­ing nearly 10 mil­lion page views daily in the first quar­ter of this year. In in­ter­na­tional cy­berspace, we have more than 5.3 mil­lion page likes on Facebook and 420,000 fol­low­ers on Twit­ter. Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures for the first quar­ter, our posts on Facebook and tweets on Twit­ter reached an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence of 1 mil­lion peo­ple a day, on av­er­age.

Wit­ness­ing the un­prece­dented shift and ex­plo­sive growth in online com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the in­ter­net giant Ten­cent re­leased WeChat, an in­stant mes­sag­ing ap­pli­ca­tion, in 2011. Its now bur­geon­ing Of­fi­cial Ac­count func­tion was in­tro­duced a year later and China Daily be­gan to pub­lish bilin­gual sto­ries on the plat­form af­ter reg­is­ter­ing sev­eral ver­i­fied of­fi­cial accounts. We now have more than 1.2 mil­lion sub­scribers who re­ceive a daily di­gest of se­lected sto­ries that gen­er­ates 300,000 page views.

In 2014 the of­fi­cial China Daily Weibo ac­count posted an ar­ti­cle about 120 mil­lion yuan in cash found in the home of a Party mem­ber in He­bei prov­ince. The ex­clu­sive news on cor­rup­tion at lower lev­els shocked the pub­lic. China Daily’s Weibo ac­count had about 3 mil­lion fol­low­ers then but the post was read 800,000 times and re­posted by main­stream me­dia.

The writer is direc­tor of China Daily’s new me­dia de­part­ment .

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