Session Abstract: Crossing the boundaries of otherwise disparate media, time periods, and regions, the history of news offers a broad, comparative lens through which to understand technological, social, and political change. Particularly evident at points of crisis, shifts in the form and practice of ‘news’ emerge through this panel’s studies across genres as varied as radio, print, government mandates, poetry, unofficial history, and journalism. Thus, through its discussion, the panel seeks to cohere and clarify the history of news in East Asia. Firstly, we hope to address the question: what is ‘news’? It is more than the transmission of recently produced information through, say, a newspaper or television broadcast. What differentiations, then, exists between news, information, education, and propaganda? Emily Mokros begins to address these questions in her paper on gazettes in nineteenth-century China. Technological changes (in printing, distribution, and telecommunication) and shifts in economic organization (from ‘traditional’ publishing houses to news corporations, from free oral communication to the commodification of information) led to shifts in the political role of news, as seen in Gideon Fujiwara’s study of newspapers and poetry in Meiji Japan. New forms of news, like the newspaper columns examined by Nataly Shahaf, rather than representing breaks with the past, incorporated and expanded on older information forms. Finally, as the field of ‘news studies’ has begun to demonstrate, the experience of new information greatly varied by location (whether urban or rural), gender, and socio-economic status. John Alekna addresses these differences in experience in his paper on radio news.
Paper Presenter: John N. Alekna – Peking University
Paper Presenter: Emily Mokros – University of Kentucky
Paper Presenter: Gideon Fujiwara – University of Lethbridge
Paper Presenter: Nataly Shahaf – Columbia University