On Tuesday afternoon, Binghamton University’s theatre department invited Jingyu Shi, a news presenter for Shanghai Media Group, to speak to students about new media in China. The event was held in New University Union and comprised the talk followed by a Q-and-A session where students could engage with Shi.
Shi discussed how he was able to witness the transition from traditional media like newspapers and radio to new media, such as the internet, through his past four years spent working for Shanghai Media Group. In technological terms, Shi equated traditional media to the 1999 version of the PC, whereas new media was represented by the development of the smartphone and tablet in 2010.
He explained that social media and networking have been going on in the United States for many years, but China has more recently reached a peak development period of information flow.
“When we talk about the professional and the credibility, the traditional media has its own advantage over the new,” Shi said. “However, with diversification in the terms of content and communication, it is not hard to find that new media has a higher impact.”
Shi said that he was interested in hearing what the listeners in the room thought about the information he presented. He tried to engage everybody in the room and showed videos of how news anchors presented themselves more professionally 30 years ago, whereas today’s anchors are less concerned about formalities such as the backdrop, outfits and scripts.
“Media plays an important role in everybody’s daily life and we come in contact with media every day, every moment. We come in contact with media through phone, computer and advertisements,” Shi said. “The information transfers, so it is very important for us. If we don’t come in contact with this information, we might be behind the people who have come in contact with this information.”
During the Q-and-A section, one student asked if the traditional media will disappear as a result of new media becoming so popular in such a short period of time. Shi does not believe the traditional media will disappear because there is still a wide audience that obtains their news in the traditional format, such as through reading the newspaper.
KeHan Zhu, a senior majoring in graphic design, helped coordinate the event and explained that, overall, the theatre department wanted to invite more speakers to give presentations for students this semester, and Shi’s job position incorporates many of the communication and performance skills taught in theatre.
Zhu explained that Qianghua Wang, scenic artist and assistant technical director in the BU theatre department, knows Jingyu personally and invited him from China to give his presentation. After watching the talk, Zhu agreed that new media is changing the rate at which information is spreading throughout China.
“The speed of news is very fast, way faster than TV programs and newspapers, like that of old, traditional media,” Zhu said. “That is why new media is important right now.”
Kyle Lin, an undeclared freshman, said he came to the event because new media is playing a huge role in the technological developments within China. He wanted to hear about this topic from Shi because he thought someone in a news-related profession would offer a unique outlook.
“I think media, especially in China, is evolving really fast,” Lin said. “I wanted to see and listen to what a news anchor’s perspective is on China’s media and how it is changing and transforming. It is a new perspective for me. I think it’s really interesting.”