Australia-China Media Forum #4: “Seeking common ground despite our differences”

Mediaweek flew to Chengdu with the Australian delegates organised by Australia News Channel

The Chinese city of Chengdu was the location for the fourth Australia-China Media Forum in the first week of November.

The event was organised by the Information Office of Chengdu Municipal Government for the Forum co-hosts The State Council Information Office of China and Australia News Channel. Sydney property company H&T was the supporter of the Forum.

Mediaweek flew to Chengdu with the Australian delegates organised by Australia News Channel, the home of Sky News and Sky News Business.

Some of the Australians on the tour [L-R]: Rob Raschke, Mark Furness, Colleen Egan, James Manning, Jeff Brown, Samantha Hutchison and Mark Hollands

Some of the Australians on the tour [L-R]: Rob Raschke, Mark Furness, Colleen Egan, James Manning, Jeff Brown, Samantha Hutchison and Mark Hollands

The theme of the 2016 event was “the media’s role in promoting China-Australia relations: opportunities and challenges”.

As with previous Forums there was plenty of robust debate from the delegates who also were able to exchange learnings from their various businesses in different media categories. The challenges posed by digital media disruption was a common theme from many speakers. There were notable differences of opinion on many topics, but a theme echoed by several speakers was how the delegates were able to seek common ground despite their differences.

The Australian delegation was led by Rob Raschke, the executive editor for Sky News Australia. He had organisational support from the head of business development at Sky News, Jeff Brown, and the head of business development – China at Sky News, Crystal Hu.

Jeff Brown and Daniel Flitton inside the offices of the National Business Daily

Jeff Brown and Daniel Flitton inside the offices of the National Business Daily

Raschke hosted part of the one-day Forum and also spoke along with some of the other delegates – Colleen Egan from The West Australian, Daniel Flitton from The Age, Mark Hollands from NewsMediaWorks and Samantha Hutchinson from The Australian. A presentation from Mediaweek gave Chinese delegates an insight into the Australian media market.

Also travelling with the tour party was experienced Chinese book publisher Harold Weldon and media reporter-turned PR executive Mark Furness.

Australia’s Consul-General in Chengdu Nancy Gordon was on hand for a welcome dinner and the day’s first session the following morning.

Mediaweek's James Manning with Ellen Zhang and a colleague from Chengdu Radio & Television

Mediaweek’s James Manning with Ellen Zhang and a colleague from Chengdu Radio & Television

The Australian delegates got to share ideas and debate with an impressive array of Chinese media executives from People’s Daily, Xinhua News, Guangming Daily, Economic Daily, China Daily, National Business Daily, China Central Television, China Radio International, School of Journalism Tsinghua University, Chengdu Media Group, Chengdu Radio & Television, National Business Daily and senior staff from the Bureau of International Affairs.

On the day after the conference there were field trips to the new Science City of Chengdu, Chengdu Radio & Television and Chengdu Media Group. A more relaxed outing was a visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and a tour farewell dinner at Chengdu’s famous Kuanzhai Alley.

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