Newspapers

New magazines and newspapers at the end of 2008

Despite economic uncertainties and paper costs that have driven many publications to raise their prices or fold, a number of new magazines chose to launch in the last quarter of 2008. Here are two newspapers and two magazines that launched recently:

The Time Weekly 时代周报
CASS Review 中国社会科学院报
Beijing Cultural Review 文化纵横
U+ Weekly 优家画报

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The Time Weekly, November 18, 2008

The Time Weekly

时代周报

At first glance, Time Weekly looks like a derivative weekly newspaper. It's got the pink paper of The Economic Observer (经济观察报), and coverage of current events, politics, criticism, and culture that recall the Southern Weekly (南方周末). And it has columns and reports that are translated from major western publications like the New York Times and Time.

Guangdong Provincial Publishing Group, which is primarily a book publishing enterprise, is the force behind Time Weekly. According to company chief Huang Shangli, the newspaper came about because he had an unused publication license (CN44-0139) lying around. He also echoes the thinking of two new business magazines that Danwei looked at in October in his defense of launching a new publication in a recession:

Time Weekly: Lots of people believe that in today's financial crisis that has slowed down the world economy, including China, Time Weekly is going against the tide by chosing this time to launch a newspaper. What's your opinion?
Huang Shangli: We had the idea initially because of the license for the weekly Times Digest, which had ceased publication. If we didn't run a newspaper, wouldn't that precious resource go to waste? This was my thinking at its most basic.

So how to revitalize the newspaper resource we possessed? I've never advocated running publications by transferring operating rights and collecting management fees. I hoped that the group would be able to run the paper itself and be personally involved in creating an influential publication. Planning atop that foundation, we discovered that the existence and development of one newspaper can be of great assistance to the activation of resources for other periodicals.
...
You may think that we are heading into the wind and moving against the tide by starting a newspaper when the newspaper industry is in a risky situation. But from another angle, don't we have a much greater opportunity by starting a newspaper in this state of affairs, when our competitors are weakend?

Time Weekly is part of what the Group calls its "18+1 Plan," a five-year strategy to bring the eighteen magazines and one newspaper whose licenses it owns under one unified umbrella. Most of the magazines are currently divided among its subsidiary publishing houses, although New Weekly is one well-regarded exception.

The newspaper was launched with front-page announcement so maudlin it drew mockery from other journalists, including a priceless fisking of the entire thing.

Fortunately, the newspaper itself is pretty decent, and reporting has been good in the issues since the launch. It'll be interesting to see if the Guangdong Provincial Publishing Group can make a go of it.

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CASS Review, October 9, 2008

CASS Review

中国社会科学院报

The newly-redesigned Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Review (CN11-0823) hands over the reins of the Academy's weekly to the Social Sciences in China Press, which has positioned it as a scholarly newspaper for general humanities subjects.

CASS Review's inaugural editorial is predicably jargon-filled, and it quotes Marx and Engels on the value of a newspaper as the mouthpiece of the people. However, the content of the newspaper ranges quite widely, with a breakdown of certain particulars of Marxist theory opposite a report on trends in rural spirituality, and memoirs from retired academics printed opposite a discussion over the proper format for citations.

Here's a reaction from a blogger who subscribed to the earlier incarnation of CASS Review:

Yesterday, after reading through the first page of the new version of the CASS Review, and it felt entirely new, along the lines of an ideal theory-based newspaper. I found three excellent articles, so I was able to glean quite a bit of good material.
...
The new newspaper is much less a departmental organ; theory predominates. In addition, the theory contained in the articles is leading-edge, although Marxist scholarship is still the dominant tone. This both timely and apt for development and innovation in Marxist theory.

The paper's nameplate is assembled out of calligraphy by former CASS president Guo Moruo. It costs 2 yuan at the newsstand; excerpts are available online at the publisher's website.

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Beijing Cultural Review, December 2008

Beijing Cultural Review

文化纵横

Strictly speaking, this magazine hasn't launched yet. Two trial issues have been released, but the lauch issue isn't scheduled until January 15.

Beijing Cultural Review (CN11-5722/GO) is sponsored by the Capital Young Journalists Association and is published under the authority of the Beijing Youth League. Its mission, from the editors' note in the October issue:

In the thirty years of the reform, We have witnessed the growth of wealth, as the market society has driven a fantastic rate of economic growth, while at the same time reshaping all parts of modern society. However, we have discovered that apart from having money, people's lives lack meaning, society lacks culture, citizens lack an ideology, and the Chinese people lacks a spirit.
...
As we face the 21st Century, there are at least three questions that the Chinese people must answer:

1. What ultimately will be our core values, our ideology, and our ethical system?
2. As our wealth increases, how should our political system and political culture be shaped?
3. What direction will the development of Chinese society take, and what will ultimately form our goals?

Without answering these three questions, the ultimate motivation behind wealth increase will be lost, society will slump into class struggle and class oppression, and the Chinese people will be unable to stand proudly among the peoples of the world.

Beijing Cultural Review takes these three questions as its mission.

To get a sense of how the magazine is approaching its goal of rebuilding the country's value system, take a look at the table of contents for the October and December issues.

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U+ Weekly, personal and home sections
December 20, 2008

U+ Weekly

优家画报

An addition to Modern Media's lineup, U+ Weekly (CN44-0154) is aimed at urban married women.

From the editor's introduction:

Quality of Life
Begins with you

This is the slogan with which U+ Weekly is launched, and it is a straightforward explanation of this magazine's mission and ideals.
...
I once joked to a friend that the term "iron lady" (女强人), so common in the last century, has fallen out of use. Today's cosmopolitan woman has evolved to become a "superwoman" (女超人). In addition to having to distinguish herself in the workplace in the pursuit of success and fulfillment, today's woman hopes to be a good wife and mother in the home, But there are only twenty-four hours in a day, so she has to move with the speed of a superwoman. In addition, she also hopes to enjoy life a bit more: to have more time for comfortable furnishings and a gourmet kitchen. Yet even more than this, deep in our hearts, we wish to have more time amid all the work-related things in our lives to take a moment for ourselves, to be able to enjoy the precious things in life, a spouse's embrace, or our child's first smile of the morning.

U+ is divided into two parts. The main personal section (修身), which features profiles of famous women (Zhou Xun and Yang Lan are on the cover of this issue as "Women of the Year") and articles about personal care, relationships, and other related topics. The supplement (齐家) is devoted to home, family, and entertainment.

The two sections take their names from a passage in the Confucian classic Great Learning: "To regulate the family, first cultivate the person" (欲齐其家者, 先修其身).

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