Newspaper "Survivor" - Vote One Off The Island!

Which newspaper would YOU use to line a birdcage?

  • The China Post
  • The Taipei Times
  • The Taiwan News

0 voters

Originally posted by sandman in the HESS IS GOOD rant:

[quote=“sandman”]Exactly, John. I think this is a typical story by a Taiwan “reporter.” No facts, no fact checking, no proof, no collaboration, no background, not even any evidence other than the televised ranting of the mother. Nothing, in fact, that you could really describe as reporting in any accepted sense of the word. Can you tell that I have nothing but the deepest contempt for so-called “journalists” and “reporters” in Taiwan?

This contempt didn’t develop overnight, btw. It comes from years of seeing this kind of total lack of professionalism again and again. What is even more strange is that they actually have what they are pleased to describe as a “school of journalism” here. One can only wonder what on earth the students are “taught.”

I’ve deviated from the topic, forgive me, but this is my peeve du jour.[/quote]

For all you “copyeditors” slaving away deep into the night, here’s a chance to tell us how it really is! :smiley:

Oops! “Collaboration” should of course read “corroboration.” I bow my head in shame and await the slings and arrows.

Sinorama, one of Taiwan’s best magazine, often has interesting articles about the local media.

Here are just a few.

Paper Chase- The Competition Heats Up for Taiwan’s English Readers

The Fall from Grace of Taiwan’s Media (1997/7)

See You in Court–Is Taiwan’s press too liable to libel?

The Road to Press Freedom: Looking at Taiwan’s Fourth Estate

So what are these stories saying?
“Other reporters take bribes, so why shouldn’t I?”
“I’m a busy man. I have deadlines to meet, column inches to fill. I don’t have time to waste checking that I’m actually writing the truth.”
“These politicians are high officials. If they say something, it must be the truth.”

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a problem with tabloid journalism, yellow journalism, paparazzi journalism or any other form of making a buck with a camera and a word processor – I love the Sun and the News of the Screws, but no-one in their right mind would ever describe these august organs as newspapers. But I hate like hell when people try to pass that kind of nonsense off to me as balanced, objective reportage.

As for those TV crews – don’t even get me started!

Whilst I do not support gutter journalism, it is the fastest growth area in publishing in Asia. This week’s AWSJ (can’t remember the day) had a cover story on how the communist run papers in Shenzen were being devoured by a gossip tabloid from Guangzhou. Here in Taiwan, Next Magazine sold 300,000 issues based on gossip and rumour mongering. I have no doubt that it will surpass CTW, TVBS Weekly & Scoop as No. 1 weekly title.

I hate to say it, and many will hate me saying it, but Chinese seem to have a voracious appetite for gossip. It 'aint Pullizer Prize material, and as such the journalists who produce this schlock will be be likewise of questionable integrity.

Non-teacher, I don’t think Chinese are any more voracious than anyone else as far as titillating crap is concerned – The super soaraway Sun, complete with its bare titties on page 3, is the UK’s highest circulation “newspaper.” The big difference in Britain is that there are alternatives in the form of the many broadsheets available.
As far as I can tell, there are no such things here. Can you imagine being forced to rely on the National Enquirer or the Daily Mirror for your daily news?

The basic problems lie with the Chinese way of “reporting.” Their understanding of what Westerners think of the “inverted pyramid” in reporting is non-existent. Reporters for the English-language newspapers have only a passing grasp of the fundamentals (except for a rare few). Certain reporters feel that “sources said” is good enough to carry an entire report. Others raise more questions than giving coverage in their spotty reporting.
Another problem for the English-language side is the pathetic ability of the reporters to write in English. The number of people who are hired who have only the most basic ability in English would frighten you. It certainly does most of the copy editors on this island. Add to that their ignorance of how to gather and process information and you have a depressing clusterfuck for a hapless copy editor to deal with.
There is much, much more. I could write all day and night.

Wondering how these so-called journalists are getting trained. Who is teaching them? Where? How would you suggest we educate the next generation of tabloidy and unethical youngsters in the ways of Pulitzer prize winners, or does it even matter…

Taiwan’s professional journalists have recently decided to start an annual competition for the best print and TV reporting, to be called Taiwan’s Pulitzer Prize for Excellence in Journalism. Maybe this will help elevate the level of reporting here.


{This is from page 2 of the new york times today. A long list of corrections. Wouldn’t it be nice if the local papers here did the same thing?}

Because of a production error, an erroneous version of Page A1 - prepared for other regions - appeared on Sunday in copies distributed in and around Arizona. As a result, the front-page sections of some articles did not match the continuations, and a few articles were omitted or duplicated. The affected articles may be found here today through Sunday. The page may also be requested from Production Quality Control, The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10036; telephone (212) 556-1992. E-mail: (Include a postal address.)

An article on Thursday about the killing of Samantha Runnion, a 5-year-old girl who was abducted outside her home in California, referred incorrectly to the findings of a study on children who were kidnapped and killed. The study, quoted by an expert in the article to explain the urgent need for quick action, found that 74 percent of the children’s deaths occurred within three hours of their abductions. It did not find that 74 percent of all kidnapped children were killed within three hours.

An article yesterday about comments by Peter N. Kirsanow, a member of the United States Conference on Civil Rights, that some Arab-American and civil rights groups say suggested tolerance for interning Arab-Americans, misstated his association with the Center for New Black Leadership. He is its former chairman, not the current one. The article also misstated the name of the organization headed by Wade Henderson, who called Mr. Kirsanow’s comments reckless. It is the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, not Leadership Commission.

An article on July 15 about a study by the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign included an erroneous comparison from the study’s sponsor on the risk to teenage drivers in Rhode Island, where seat belt use is low, and California, where it is high. Teenage drivers in serious crashes are 60 percent more likely to die in Rhode Island than in California, not five times as likely. The article also referred incorrectly to New Hampshire’s seat belt requirement. The state requires people under 18, including 16- and 17-year-old drivers, to wear belts; it is not without a belt law.

Because of an editing error, an article in Business Day yesterday about the finances of the El Paso Corporation and its dealings with investment bankers misidentified the Senate panel that is looking into ties between bankers and Enron, another energy company. It is the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, not the Finance Committee.

Because of an editing error, the Outdoors column on Monday, about fishing in the rain, referred incorrectly to David Taylor and George Semler, lodge guests with whom the columnist and his new bride had eaten breakfast. The men are brothers-in-law to each other, not brothers of the columnist’s wife.

A brief report in the Footlights column yesterday about an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society misstated the diameter of a plexiglass sphere bearing a painted panoramic view of the city as seen from the World Trade Center. It is 24 inches, not 24 feet.

The State of the Art column in Circuits on June 27, about ways to suppress pop-up advertising on the Web, referred incorrectly to the latest version of the Netscape browser. Unlike Mozilla and Chimera ?two programs that share its development origins ?Netscape has no setting to block unrequested windows.

A dance listing in the Arts & Leisure Guide on Sunday misstated the dates for some Manhattan performances this week in the Japan Society’s Dancing in the Streets series. Eiko and Koma will perform “Offering” at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on 47th Street between First and Second Avenues at 8 tonight (it was not yesterday); at Tudor City Green South Park, 41st Street and Second Avenue, at 6 p.m. tomorrow (not today); and at Clinton Community Garden, 48th Street between Ninth and 10th Avenues, at 6:30 on Friday (not tomorrow).

Yeah right, didn’t the TTs Monique Chu recently win some kind of local gong for her pathetic attempts at journalism? I suppose if there’s a prize for getting the date right, some local reporters will at least have a slight chance of winning.

Just curious about which English newspaper everyone reads to find out what’s going on on the weekend? I read all of them (Taipei Times, Taiwan News, China Post), but I’m partial to the Post’s Prime Time. It’s got good movie coverage - although the music coverage is poor - and I think Hartzel’s column is interesting and that Betel Nut column is funny. I think the things to do listings in the Taiwan News are much more extensive than in the China Post, though. It’s also fun to see how many stories (5? 10?) Gavin Phipps has written each week. Where does the guy find time? The Taipei Times is okay, but it would do better as a pull-out.
Anybody else got a preference?

china post primetime: movies, hartzell
taiwan news: missing ann gavaghan
taipei times: nope – it’d be nice if they had a column about taiwan

Chinapost definitely. Good weekend section… Hartzell’s great sometimes… - a methodical sh*t-disturber… Just what Taiwan needs. Betelnut Buzz is ok, but a little sophomoric sometimes. His perspective seems a little jaded…

The Taipei Times is a great paper, but they have to lose that Zippy the Pinhead comic. I hate it. I get it (sometimes), I just don’t think it’s funny… And their weekend section is nowhere as good as the other two papers…

The only good thing about the Taiwan News is that they have Doonesbury, although their weekend section is still better than the Taipei Times’ section.

The person who selected Zippy, so goes my understanding, thought that it would be a nice change from the norm (Hagar the Horrible, et al). The other thing that should be remembered is that pre-launch of the Taipei Times, the idea was that there would be at least twice the number of daily comics than there are now, so Zippy would not have stood out like it does now.
Life in Hell was another comic that was pursued, but it was only once a week and was pretty expensive. The weekend comics are a disaster and must have been selected by children on drugs.
It is well understood at the Taipei Times that its features section is art exhibit-heavy and boring to tears, but the recent addition of a 50-something year-old Chinese man as the section head assured that nothing would change.
Ann Gavaghan said that her dream was to be able to write on nothing but Hong Kong movies – her passion. I think we had HK movies up to the gills from her.
Hartzell is dry as a bone and he makes up a lot of what he pawns off as truth – read his massive book Harmony in Conflict for scores of examples.
Betelnut Buzz is infantile ramblings that would only see print in the West in a junior high school paper.
The Taiwan News? My bird considers it useful.
The Post is best, but needs polish. Nelson’s movie reviews are first rate and the grade system is good. Strange that they would do that since the other papers wouldn’t touch a ranking system because they might offend a potential advertiser by panning a film that they have a tie-in with.

I read the Post’s Prime Time…

  • I like the movie coverage, but more stuff on Taiwan flicks would be good
  • Hartzell is good but his writing style is a bit heavy
  • Betel Nut Buzz is a bit eccentric but has some funny stuff
  • The Chef Guy includes ingredients that are too hard to find
  • The front page stories are often overdone – too much recycling
  • More reviews of local bands would be nice
    But, overall I like it. I like it good.

Zippy is a great cartoon. I am so surprised that soemone had the guts to put something like that in. It’s brilliant (well most of the time - lately it hasn’t been so good).

I think the Post and News are good for what’s on kindof stuff, but I don’t read them anymore because the Times is so much better for news and features and seems toshare much the same political bias as I do.


I sent this letter to the China Post today:

Dear Editor,

I was surprised to find the half-page advertisement on the front of today’s China Post, but my surprise turned to shock when I discovered it was a political rant against Taiwan’s vice-president Annette Lu. On a cursory reading, it looks like a friendly welcome to the visiting dignitaries, but it quickly descends into invective.

Does this belong on the front page? Will the vice-president be permitted a right to reply? And what damage does this do to your newspaper’s objectivity in reporting the news? It’s nothing short of editorial prostitution.

I was wondering if anyone else shares my shock at this blatant political attack given a full half-page on the front of the newspaper. I have learnt that the editing skills at the China Post leave a lot to be desired (in our office we know that anything with the byline “China Post staff” or “Nancy T. Lu” is going to give us a good laugh; it could be easily fixed by the proofreaders, if they have any…), but how did this one get by the editor-in-chief? I would hope that Annette gets her right to reply tomorrow before I finally get my office to cancel its subscription to this rag and move over to the only decent English-language daily, the Taipei Times.


If you’re looking for political objectivity at the Taipei Times, you’re looking in the wrong place. Did you know that during the presidential election campaign they weren’t allowed to put James Soong’s picture in the paper? Even now they practically have a “We Hate James Soong” column in their paper on a daily basis. They use exactly the same tactics as all the other (biased) newspapers, they just happen to look better and are (usually) a bit more subtle.

That front-page China Post “ad” slamming Annette Lu was pretty bad. But, at least it’s up front. The whole thing isn’t very surprising though - that newspaper’s been around a long time and would likely have perished if it hadn’t sides, for 40 years, with the KMT. Old habits die hard.
As for the bylines “China Post staff,” and “Nancy Lu,” I heard in the former’s case, no one’s allowed to edit her stuff. Anybody know if this is true? That would explain the typos.
I’ll be looking for your letter, Bill, but will be suprised if they print it.