The Chinese University of Hong Kong is quizzing reporters to discover their attitudes and working conditions in the run-up to 1997. Among a host of questions on censorship and ethics they ask why they entered journalism to which one of the main suggested replies is 'to be in touch with celebrities'. Whatever happened to the noble tradition of the cynical, hard-bitten hack? Further on they ask: 'Do you ever experience the following situations at work . . . accept reporting assignments from editors?' How do these people think newspapers get written? Meanwhile, Backbites is awaiting results on the questions on freeloading and cheque-book journalism.