Working for a newspaper

Hello there -

I am a trained journalist with five years’ experience working in newspapers in the UK and I am thinking about moving to Taiwan next year. Could anybody tell me how feasible it is for someone like me to find work on a paper in Taiwan? I see there are three or four english language papers - is it possible to get work as a journalist on these, or do they only take on foreigners to carry out editing work and proof reading? I don’t speak chinese unfortunately - is that a pre-requisite?

Thanks for you help. Any tips or advice you could give would be great.

Neil Macfarlane

Please also consider government publications as possible venues. We have several magazines and newspapers, for both central and city governments, as well as each ministry’s publications. Good luck.

It will be easy for you to get a job as a copy editor at the Taipei Times or one of the government publications. As a practical matter, you will need to be able to speak and read Chinese to work as a journalist here in the traditional sense. It is also widely believed here by the Taiwanese management that runs the media that foreigners are inherently incapable of understanding Taiwanese society and therefore must not be permitted to do any reporting except perhaps features writing. You may well be able to find work at one of the foreign financial news services here after a stint at the Taipei Times. Bring your sense of humor.

It’s also worth noting that in order to get a work permit as an editor, you’ll need to have documented work experience. Bring some form of proof that you worked as a journalist for 5 years as well as your sense of humor.

my advice…go elsewhere…the newspapers here are mickey mouse…

Not sure about the Taipei Times, but I know if you have kick-ass Chinese, you can be trusted to do reporting on local issues at the other English papers. For the most part, however, you will start with editing. Don’t be mad if you have basically rewritten someone’s story but don’t receive writing credit–government publications can be especially guilty of this. You will also be required to go through a “trial period” even though you have been in the business for five years. Say good-bye to your marriage/sobriety/social life if you work as an editor at one of the papers–it is usually a night shift and you’ll be forced to cover for other colleagues when they are off.

Yep, newspaper editors are night owls, and sometimes they must work up to 2 am, so keep that in mind.

Government publications are 9 to 6 gigs, with expected overtime. Yep, traditionally stiff, requires a sweet, patient nature and sense of humor.

How’s your chinese? How much do you know about Taiwan? Maybe you can start by freelancing, a couple of articles will give you a feel for the editorial process here and you can see if this works for you.

I came here 20 years ago with journalist training and three years’ media experience. Thank Christ I didn’t come as a career move, is all I can say!

[quote=“chinamac79”]Hello there -

I am a trained journalist with five years’ experience working in newspapers in the UK [/quote]

Sorry, you’re way over-qualified.