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'Celebrity journalism' at meetings in the spotlight

2015-03-09 08:57 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

At the annual two sessions, NPC deputies and CPPCC members gather in Beijing to discuss State issues, but too often they themselves become the focus of media attention.[Special coverage]

The CPPCC, in particular, which is composed of luminaries from various professions, is covered by the media with large portions of the reporting focused on culture and arts celebrities.

For many years, movie actors, singers, comedians and athletes have often been featured on newspaper front pages and websites when they attended the two sessions in the Great Hall of the People. Journalists would report on their attire, remarks or anything they consider newsworthy.

This year, reporters again were seen holding up cameras or recorders and chasing celebrities outside the conference hall. How they behave in front of the pushy journalists and how they manage to leave the scene were all reported in the media. A recent story written by a news agency reporter about how a well-known actor helped her edit her story after the interview drew widespread criticism for the journalist's bias for the actor.

Such news stories and photos, fragmented and entertainment-prone, usually attract many readers and hits from online users. However, such practices have been criticized for not contributing to the understanding of the two sessions' agenda, but instead serve as a distraction.

For any journalist who has covered the two sessions, picking out a subject from the 5,000-plus NPC deputies and CPPCC members is a daunting task, but the celebrities are the most recognizable faces. It is also understandable that the competitive media environment has forced news organizations, especially online media, to resort to shortcuts for commercial gain.

To bust the trend, NPC media officers this year have asked news organizations to shift their attention from publicity-seeking deputies to the deputies' proposals. But the request's effect remains to be seen.

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