Xinhua’s plan to create a 24-hour English-language news channel represents an incredible opportunity for China to influence a wider audience.
Li Congjun, the president of the state-run news agency, says the channel — called CNC World — will “present an international vision with a Chinese perspective.” To make its presence known, Xinhua plans to build a newsroom on top of a 44-story building in Times Square, joining companies like Reuters, The New York Times and Conde Nast in the same locale.
China is clearly serious about adding its voice to the media scene at a time when many U.S. and European agencies are cutting back on newsroom resources. Xinhua has plenty of models of international state-run media to learn from, including Russia Today, Al Jazeera and Channel NewsAsia.
Chinese journalists have demonstrated that with the right opportunities, they can deliver great journalism — and indeed many reporters and publishers have had the courage to unveil cases of corruption and scams at the party level. Ultimately, CNC needs to build its credibility on its coverage of domestic issues, not global ones.