The Unsung Heroes of International Media’s China Coverage
To many readers of English-language media, “news assistant” is an unfamiliar term. Yet the people operating in this role are often integral to many overseas outlets’ coverage of China. Also sometimes referred to as “news researchers,” they are Chinese citizens working as journalists for foreign media who often do far more than mere research and yet are rarely credited for their work.
News assistants’ responsibilities can include research, looking for interviewees, arranging interviews, translating, and some “researchers” even interview and write the stories independently — but with no byline.
The Chinese government has rules prohibiting Chinese nationals from being full-time journalists for foreign media publications, but over the past few decades, many Chinese writers and reporters have managed to take advantage of a loosening system or regulatory oversights to grow into experienced journalists and hugely talented — and hugely important — storytellers.