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Living heritage of Hong Kong

New HK$85 million museum dedicated to media industry to open in Hong Kong

  • News stands, old papers, and everything from hot metal to new media featured at News-Expo
  • Veteran journalist says space will serve as an education and tourist hub
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2018, 1:33pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2018, 11:10pm

Inside the historic Bridges Street Market in the heart of Hong Kong, there is a news stand offering a dozen newspapers printed on March 8, 1969, some magazines and lottery tickets, while change is a handful of British colonial coins contained in a signature red plastic sieve.

The replica is a small piece of the city’s media evolution, a key part of a brand new museum called Hong Kong News-Expo.

More than half of the newspapers on display no longer exist, and the number of news stands in Hong Kong has shrunk to about 100, from 2,000 at their peak.

“The story of Hong Kong news is part of its history,” said Chan Siu-ping, a veteran radio journalist and News-Expo CEO. “It is appropriate to house the News-Expo in Central, especially in the historical building on Bridges Street, as many newspapers began in Central, and it was where the late Dr Sun Yat-sen was baptised.”

Sun, a revolutionary who helped bring about the end of imperial rule in China, was baptised in China Congregation Church at 2 Bridges Street, which was later turned into the Bridges Street Market.

After five years of planning and renovation, the News-Expo is expected to open to the public on December 5.

The brainchild of the Journalism Education Foundation – a non-profit organisation seeking to raise industry standards – it aims to serve as an education and tourist hub.

The museum is the first of its kind in Asia.

“Visitors will know how Hong Kong news evolved from the city’s first newspaper, Chinese-language Universal Circulating Herald, published in 1878, to free newspapers today,” Chan said. “It is collective memories.”

Other than newspapers, electronic media such as radio and television stations, and even new media are among the exhibits.

Most displays are two-dimensional, supplemented with videos by media industry practitioners, while a few exhibitions offer interactive features.

There is no shying away from controversial, or politically sensitive, news either, with articles on the 1967 riots, the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989, and the Occupy movement of 2014 all featured.

Of the 25 local and foreign news agencies featured, Chan said some had long since closed, but copies of old papers and artefacts had been offered. The oldest piece among roughly 1,000 pieces is a copy of Chun Wan Yat Po, a Chinese newspaper, dated August 26, 1878.

The Post is also among the 25 agencies featured at the museum.

It cost HK$85 million to revitalise the Bridges Street Market, a two-storey grade three historic building from 1953, one of the few surviving Bauhaus-style constructions in Hong Kong.

Apart from government funding, and a Jockey Club annual grant of HK$2.5 million for three years, the News-Expo needs to make money to sustain its operations.

Chan said there was no entrance fee, but it would charge for some features.

About 100,000 visitors were expected to visit the News-Expo annually, she added.