Journalists from Australia and China participate in study exchange

The need for a broader understanding between China and Australia beyond the burgeoning trade relationship was a major theme of discussions ending APJC’s first China Australia Journalist Exchange.

The one-day dialogue, held in Beijing on November 26, concluded a 10-day professional study tour program in which six journalists from China visited Australia and six Australian journalists visited China.

Fellows China Dialogue

Fellows meet in Beijing for Dialogue.

Fellows meet in Beijing for Dialogue.

At the dialogue, journalists from both countries pointed to how international students, along with tourism, had the potential to play an important role in promoting understanding between China and Australia.

The leader of the Australian team, The Canberra Times editor-at-large Jack Waterford, said a challenge facing Australian journalists was to “report China in Australia”.

There was an opportunity for more reporting on the lives and experiences of Chinese students studying in Australia, he said.

Chinese students account for more than 40 per cent of the 460,000 international students enrolled to study in Australia, according to records up to August 2013.

Waterford predicted the rise of more social reporting on each other’s country. “We tend to focus on differences, but there is so much in common that unites us,” he said.

Chinese team member Liu Rui, from the All China Journalists Association (ACJA), noted that “business leaders in Australia focused not just on the economic relationship but also other factors”.

He said he had learnt from the Australia China Business Council in Sydney that Chinese migrants to Australia can have difficulty integrating into life in Australia. “It is important to cover the human side more,” he said.

The exchange was organised by the ACJA and the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre (APJC). It was supported in China by the ACJA and participating news organisations, and in Australia by ANZ and the Australia China Council.

The program provided fellows with an opportunity to gain insights into the other country and to explore economic and social issues in greater depth.

APJC director John Wallace said the program gave journalists from both countries deeper understanding of the growing economic relationship and how it is being managed.

“It also reaffirmed the need for Australian journalists to have a broader understanding of China that aims to match the success of the trade relationship. This sentiment came through strongly during the program, and especially from the business community,” he said.

During their tour to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, the Chinese fellows visited business and media organisations and met with ANZ CEO Mike Smith, the Newspaper Works, business journalist Alan Kohler and Australian National University security specialist Michael Wesley.

In Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing, the Australian fellows met business groups trading with Australia, as well as government officials and media representatives.

The Chinese journalists involved in the program were:

  • Xinhua News Agency, Henan Bureau chief Luo Hui
  • Jilin Daily deputy editor-in-chief Shan Haiou
  • Jiefang Daily, Shanghai economic department (editorial) director He Luoxian
  • Qiqihar Daily president and Heilongjiang Province senior reporter Wang Wei
  • China Radio International, Australia-based correspondent Xiao Wang
  • People’s Daily Online Australia-based news director Vincent Li
  • All China Journalists Association representative Liu Rui

The Australian journalists  involved in the program were:

  • Australian Associated Press, Petrina Berry, reporter
  • SBS TV News, Richard Davis, political reporter
  • ABC TV Asia Pacific News Centre, Beverley O’Connor, senior presenter
  • The Australian Financial Review, Mark Skulley, senior journalist
  • The West Australian, Shane Wright, economics editor
  • APJC representative Jack Waterford, APJC board member The Canberra Times editor at large