Journalists and a deputy mayor from China visit Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard offices and Fenland Council

COMMUNICATION was the name of the game when a delegation from the Chinese region of Liuzhou (pop 3.6 million) China visited the Cambs Times office in Fenland, Cambridgeshire (pop. 75,000).

The six visitors from the Liuzhou area, including the deputy mayor, a daily newspaper editor and a TV journalist, discovered how the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard are produced each week.

The delegation, guests of Fenland District Council, is in this country finding out about communication between newspapers and local government.

On arrival at the Cambs Times office they were greeted by editor John Elworthy; editorial director for Archant Herts and Cambs, Paul Richardson; Councillor Alan Melton, leader of Fenland District Council; deputy leader Councillor Mac Cotterell; Councillor Chris Seaton portfolio holder for Open for Business, and John Carey, press officer for the council.

Clive Gibbon, the council’s economic development manager, said: “The delegation is interested to see how we work with the local media to communicate with our communities. They have heard a lot about Fenland and how we are open for business and how we strive to work with the community.”

After looking at some editions of the Cambs Times and Wisbech Standard, chief editor of the Liuzhou Daily Wu JieJie said that the kind of news making headlines in his newspaper would be important announcements on government policy. He was surprised by the number of photographs used by British newspapers.

He said: “Prominent stories would include things such as policies on education. We want everyone to be involved and concerned about education.”

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Before leaving the delegation was shown Archant’s new content management system and watched as a report and a photograph of their visit was uploaded to the website.

The delegation had already visited London and Cambridge and was making its way to Birmingham. Gifts were exchanged and Mr Elworthy presented members of the delegation with panoramic photographs of March riverside taken by staff photographer Brian Purdy.

Mr Elworthy added: “We had a lively discussion, through an interpreter, about news and news values. They explained that much of their content would basically consist of Government information coupled with human interest stories. They found the idea of a free newspaper a bit odd- in China sales of newspapers are, apparently, booming.”

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