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News agency expands business against internet era

出自香港新聞網 - 樹仁新傳系學生實習習作

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by Honor Leung

News agencies need to specialize in exclusive news and in-depth reporting to survive an era of information explosion thanks to the internet, said Candy Lo, deputy chief editor of Hong Kong China News Agency (CNA).


“Working in a news agency is a job without credit,” said Lo. Unlike the mass media such as television stations and newspapers, news agencies’ stories are read and selected by editors. There is no guarantee a story will be published by a secondary organization.


Mass media competes with and benefits from news agencies’ stories, yet news agencies struggle to get a foothold in the industry. As a result, journalists at news agencies have to be more sensitive to get news faster to win, said Lo.


When Lo was a reporter at CNA, she had been assigned to cover ‘Lianghui’ (the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) in 2005. It was the time when there were rumors about former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa resigning, but it was difficult for journalists to confirm. Lo was the first to notice Tung’s name in the open list of the upcoming National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). She sensed that Tung was going to switch career to CPPCC and put on the first confirmed story.


“Although news agencies’ stories are short, they could be used by more than 30 mass media,” said Lo. News agencies are still important as authoritative sources to quote by mass media. To get attention from experienced editors in piles of news stories, news agencies adopt a concise writing style. Simple word choice and short sentences create a news story of 600 words at most.


CNA has more variety in its news products to increase competitiveness, said Lo. Videos and official website are added. It is also providing more feature writings for media organizations with less funding to do their own interviews.
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