Group wins U.S. award for integrity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2011, 12:00am


Caixin Media Group, founded two years ago by the former editor of top mainland business magazine Caijing, has received the prestigious Shorenstein Journalism Award for its commitment to journalistic integrity and the establishment of an independent media.

'The decision to name Caixin Media as the first recipient of this award in Asia is a recognition of the leadership role of a group of young journalists, led by a visionary editor, since their founding of Caijing magazine in 1998,' Stanford University's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Centre said on Monday.

The award was launched by the centre in 2002 to recognise Western journalists' contributions towards a deeper understanding of Asia. Asian journalists and media outlets have only been eligible from this year.

'The award is particularly encouraging for a two-year-old media outlet striving for an all-media platform built upon journalistic professionalism,' Caixin Media Group founder Hu Shuli said.

Hu launched Caijing 13 years ago as a business magazine published twice a week. It carved out a reputation as a trusted source of news on the mainland for its bold investigative reports and consistently high standard of journalism.

Reports about stock market insider trading, corruption and medical blunders made Hu a formidable media player and earned her the title of 'most dangerous woman' in the securities industry.

However she left Caijing late in 2009, taking 150 staff with her in a mass walk-out following a protracted power struggle over editorial and financial control of the magazine with its parent company, the Stock Exchange Executive Council.

Hu went on to set up Caixin Media Group two years ago with the financial backing of several partners, including Zhejiang Press Group.

The group's managing editor, Wang Shuo , said yesterday that Caixin publishes four magazines, including Caixin Century, with a circulation of 200,000, and the English-language Caixin Digest, both of which are available in Hong Kong, and is also building an internet-based multi-media platform, but has yet to break even. Earlier this year, Hu was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, while Wang was ranked among China's top 10 young editors.

Wang said the award had much to do with what Hu and her team achieved at Caijing and refused to compare it with the publications launched in the past two years in terms of quality or popularity. 'But we're the same group of people who share the same journalistic professionalism, that's why we decided to leave Caijing,' he said.

Wang said Caixin's well-received coverage of the unfolding crisis surrounding the development of the mainland's high-speed-rail network was the result of careful planning, good judgment and a relentless pursuit of truth. Caixin began, Wang said, by questioning the financial sustainability of the project, then looked into irregularities implicating the disgraced former railways minister Liu Zhijun .

Wang said that in the past two years Caixin had managed to put in place an internet-based, all-media platform on which reporters could 'have their destiny in their own hands'. 'The mainland does not have the independent press that many Western countries have, but we can at least have such a goal - to be independent of the power and interference from interest groups such as investors and advertisers,' he said.