In many ways, the media here is still very young and developing in China, as compared to North America. Some of my work here involves editing stories written by Chinese reporters who, I must say, have slightly different “rules” to play by than the ones that were drilled into my head at journalism school.
First off – plagiarism. It’s absolutely rampant here and honestly, there is complete acceptance amongst my bosses here that it takes place. The other week, a reporter (who generally struggles quite seriously with English) handed me a story that began, “A look of satisfaction played on the trade official’s face as he reeled off statistics recently from a ministry report about China’s booming commerce with Africa.”
Um, full stop. I knew immediately something was strange and typed the phrase into Google. Turns out, Howard French of the New York Times wrote that very same lead on a story back in 2004. As I read on, it turned out the entire story, in fact, had been plagiarized.
I was horrified.
I met with the reporter, who then flatly denied that she plagiarized anything. An incredibly uncomfortable situation then took place where I explained that she deserved to be fired. Insert some tears and a boss who said that it was fine just to tell her not to do it again and I left rather frustrated and sad, to be honest.
One of the other problems is the language thing. Now, I know that writing in a foreign language would be a great challenge and I’m sure if I wrote in either French or German, my work would be littered with grammatical errors. That being said, here is another example of what someone handed into me the other week.
“Before occurrence of the international financial crisis the American, European and Japanese car companies were working for sollowing the markets movement through sequestration and blocking networks that were known by cars manufacturing industry during recent years. The storm of money market came to shake these entities on their crowns, so many have fallen and the rest of these giant entities who continued became unstable like wearing pendulum, which search on whom stopping its random swinging.”
Errrr…. come again?