It Pays to Be a Journalist in China

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We're always interested in new business models for journalism, and it appears Chinese journalists found one: bribery. The New York Times' David Barboza reports today on how much positive press in China will cost you. "Want a profile of your chief executive to appear in the Chinese version of Esquire? That will be about $20,000 a page, according to the advertising department of the magazine," writes Barboza, adding that an appearance on China Central Television costs around $4,000 a minute, and an article in the Communist Party's Workers' Daily will run you $1 per Chinese character. "If one of my companies came up with a cure for cancer, I still couldn’t get any journalists to come to the press conference without promising them a huge envelope filled with cash,” one Shanghai-based private equity investor told Barboza.

Maybe Chinese journalists are onto something-- after all, think about how much companies pay PR companies to get them great press. The only other catch, is... bribery is everything journalism isn't supposed to be and buying coverage is illegal--even in China.  "Such payments also violate Chinese law," Barboza writes.  "China’s propaganda authorities prohibit news outlets and journalists from accepting payments to cover news conferences or to publish news ... But so much money is sloshing around, analysts say, that enforcement is rare in China." Sorry, what was that again? We got lost somewhere around money "sloshing around."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.