The BBC’s website has a piece by Michael Bristow about the pop-up notices that appear on our computer screens at CCTV. It’s pretty accurate and gives three true examples. But “pretty accurate” can still be misleading. The problem part of the article is the first two sentences:
When journalists at China’s national broadcaster CCTV log on, one of the first things that pops up on screen is a notice about what not to report.
These notices are often short and seldom say who has authorized them, but they all contain strict instructions about how to report a story.
That gives the impression that we get these instructions every day. We don’t. True, pop-ups do greet us when we log on. But the vast majority of them have nothing at all to do with what can or cannot be reported, or how to report it. They’re just notices to directors and producers saying that such-and-such a promo is ready for use, or messages from the IT department warning that the system might be unstable during an upgrade. Banalities that are of interest to practically no one. And if there is some instruction on how to report a story, it usually consists of nothing more than “be objective, don’t sensationalize.” Not very exciting at all.
Even the interesting messages don’t get read by very many people. I seem to be one of the few who actually do read the damn things - I treat them like ESWN’s Recommended Reading or Danwei’s From the Web. Not so convenient, though, because you can’t just follow that link - you have to go to another computer with an Internet connection and start searching based on what is often very vague information that hardly anyone can understand. It’s sometimes almost impossible to work out what on Earth they mean. I often already know the story anyway from the domestic newspapers, but it’s always nice to be told about something you might have missed.
At this point I feel the need to say two things: 1) I have never blogged about these snippets; and 2) I am NOT Michael Bristow or Chris Bandurski’s source. They obviously know that, but I want my bosses to know it too.
My point is that while the BBC article is broadly true, it gives the impression that we get these instructions every day - and that’s definitely not true. To my great disappointment, management sometimes goes for several weeks without giving us these handy tips. There was a good one this week, but I’m not saying what it was.