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Faculty Q&A: Zhou Qing'an sums up Global Business Journalism in 3 words – knowledge, focus, skills

Zhou Qing'an: "For most international students ... it’s important to understand an emerging economy’s perspective on 'global.'”

Capsule Biography

Education: B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Tsinghua University (Chinese literature, communications studies)

Titles: Associate Professor of Public Diplomacy and Global Communications; Associate Dean for Pedagogy, Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication; Research Fellow at the Center for International Communications; Managing Director of Postgraduate Programs, TSJC.

Research Interests: Public Diplomacy, Global Communications Theory, Comparative International Journalism, and Foreign Policy Making.

Courses: Public Diplomacy, Opinion and Editorial Writing

Journalism experience: Dr. Zhou is the deputy editor of Public Diplomacy Quarterly, which is the only academic magazine of public diplomacy in China. He also is a columnist and editorial writer for New Beijing Times, Guangzhou Daily and Southern Metropolis Daily. He has published more than 500 editorials and columns. He previously worked as director of the feature desk for the Chinese International Herald newspaper published by the Xinhua News Agency.

Other activities: Professor Zhou is the general secretary of the Global Communication and Non-traditional Security Forum, which was found by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Tsinghua University. His books include Global Public Diplomacy Research (2009, Tsinghua University Press), Soft Power and Global Communications, co-authored with Li Xiguang, (2005, Tsinghua University Press), Internet Journalism: An Introduction, co-authored with Li Xiguang (2000, China Three Gorges Publishing House). He has published more than 20 essays in academic journals. In 2002, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Journalism and Media Studies Center of Hong Kong University. In 2008,he was the member of Global Leading Visitors organized by the U.S. State Department.


Q: How does the Global Business Journalism program prepare international students for covering the rapidly evolving and increasingly interdependent global economy?

A: Three key words: Knowledge. Focus. Skills.

Knowledge is the foundation. More knowledge means a much more solid foundation. GBJ classes place heavy pressure on students compared to other universities, because we regard knowledge as something significant.

The second keyword is Focus. We always teach students to focus on the changing global economy. We cannot predict the global economy. Anything can happen. But focusing on the data and changes every day will make you excel. Excellent journalists will not only catch what happened, but also predict the changes in the future. They can create brilliant expectations and manage them for the audience and reader.

The third keyword is Skills. We try to let all students learn the many skills they need to find stories. For a journalist, whenever you cover economics, politics or culture, the skill to discover stories is a priority. Nearly all of the courses not only consist of theories but also skills training.

Q: What are the qualities Tsinghua has to offer to international students who wish to get a master’s degree in Global Business Journalism?

A: I think there are three qualities which are most important for Tsinghua to offer international students. First of all, an attempt to understand the world from a Chinese perspective. The Chinese definition on the word “global” is quite different from the Western one. For most international students, who took their education in his or her own country, it’s important to understand an emerging economy’s perspective on “global.” Among world-class universities, Tsinghua can offer this perspective.

The second quality we can offer is the combination of Chinese and Western knowledge. When we say “fusion between China and the West,” it means that an international interpretation of Chinese conceptions or Chinese interpretation of global experience. This is Tsinghua's unique advantage for GBJ students.

The third one is Tsinghua’s understanding of global business and journalism. These two concepts come from the Western society, in the final analysis. Although China also has some old business models, most of them come from Europe. As a rapidly emerging economy, China is creating a new understanding of business and journalism like “journalism with Chinese characteristics.” So GBJ students who study in China can also understand how Chinese journalists observe business and journalism.

Q: Why should an international journalism student come to China to study global journalism?

A: The answer is very simple. If you don’t come to China, you cannot understand what global journalism is, because China is not only the target but also a very important producer of global journalism.

When we talk about global, it means we try to create a discourse that can cover all the countries. You can cover advanced countries like the U.S. and European countries. You can also cover crises in the Middle East or Africa, but you don’t understand what is happening in a country that contains 1.4 billion people and one-fourth of the world economy.

China is also a major part of journalism. We also try to explore critical thinking on traditional theories of journalism and communication. We are “trying” to create some new views on global journalism. Plus, we have a huge social media society and timely experiments on social media which haven't happened even in the U.S. or Europe.

  • Interview by 王静姝, 朱虹旭, and 童哲朗.

Professor Zhou Qing'an joins in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the International Journalism program for Chinese students at Tsinghua University.

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