The International Center for Journalists Launches Groundbreaking Global Business Journalism Program in China

Feb 122007

With support from Merrill Lynch, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Bloomberg News, the International Center for Journalists and Tsinghua University will establish a unique master’s degree and professional training program

Washington, D.C.– The International Center for Journalists and Tsinghua University in Beijing will launch China’s first Global Business Journalism Program in September 2007. The initiative includes a two-year master’s degree program and workshops for professional journalists from around the country.

The program will train students how to cover the fast-changing world of global business, economics and finance at one of the country’s most prestigious universities. The goal is to create a cadre of top-notch business reporters and editors, who can produce clear, balanced and insightful coverage of Chinese and global companies. This will help make China’s markets more transparent and foster greater understanding between China and the international business community.

“China’s importance in the global economy is growing exponentially, and journalists must gain the skills they need to cover the increasingly complex business landscape,” said International Center for Journalists President Joyce Barnathan, who previously reported from China and supervised Asia coverage for BusinessWeek magazine. “This program will bring together the journalism training expertise of our organization, the prestige of Tsinghua University, and the commitment to the highest ideals of business and journalism embodied by the program’s funders.”

The international founding sponsors of this groundbreaking project are Merrill Lynch, the Knight Foundation and Bloomberg News.

Tsinghua University is one of the most important universities in China. The master’s degree program, taught in English, will target 25 to 30 students each year from China and other Asian countries. The two top students will receive internships in the United States. In addition, workshops will be conducted at Tsinghua University for dozens of professional Chinese journalists and media managers.

“This program will move business journalism in China to a new level,” said Li Xiguang, executive dean of the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication. “The courses offered respond to a growing public interest in business and economic news and to an increasing demand for trained editors and reporters to cover the field.”

The initiative will target emerging leaders in China and the Pacific Rim region eager to gain expertise in international business journalism. A special emphasis will be placed on comparative studies of Chinese and Western companies and financial markets. Courses will include analyzing case studies of China’s corporations, using the Internet to develop stories, and learning the techniques of investigative reporting.

Professional business reporting taught in this program will foster greater investor confidence and help integrate China more seamlessly into the global financial infrastructure. “Merrill Lynch has long recognized that efficient business growth cannot happen without responsible journalism that explains complicated economic trends, corporate practices and government policy to both the business community and to the public at large,” said Jason Wright, head of communications and public affairs at the company. “This program will accomplish these goals.”

Adds Senior Vice President and Chairman, Asia Pacific Region, Raymundo Yu: "Merrill Lynch is constantly striving to push the boundaries of excellence and innovation. The China story is amazing, and by teaming up to develop these courses with Tsinghua, the leading Chinese university, Merrill Lynch believes the next generation of journalists in China will be better equipped to tell the story."

This initiative was developed with the assistance of Knight International Journalism Fellow Nailene Chou Wiest, a long-time Reuters business correspondent, who has spent part of her year-long fellowship at Tsinghua University. Knight Foundation, which funds these fellowships run by the International Center for Journalists, looks for opportunities to raise journalism standards around the world.

“Business is an important story anywhere but nowhere more important than China,” said Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen. “There is a need for reliable information that markets can depend on. That won’t happen without journalists and editors trained to deliver top quality journalism of the kind we believe Tsinghua University and the International Center for Journalists are uniquely qualified to provide.”

“We are delighted to be able to provide students in this new program with access to real-time information and data on all aspects of the business world,” says Matt Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, which contributed 10 Bloomberg terminals for the program’s business media lab. “It’s important to raise business journalism standards in a country so vital to global prosperity.”


The International Center for Journalists, a non-profit, professional organization, promotes quality journalism worldwide in the belief that independent, vigorous media are crucial in improving the human condition. In the past 22 years, the International Center for Journalists has worked directly with more than 20,000 journalists and media managers from 176 countries through hands-on training workshops, seminars, fellowships, international exchanges and other media development programs.

Tsinghua University is one of China’s premier research and teaching institutions, with established schools of government, law, business and journalism that represent a leading academic force and advocate for political and press reform. As a center of top-quality education, Tsinghua attracts China’s brightest students, providing cutting-edge research and career development opportunities. Faculty are frequently called upon to provide expertise to public policy makers and national leaders, giving the University unequalled access to decision makers. Tsinghua alumni hold key positions in China’s establishment, and play important roles in the country’s social and scientific progress. Over 80 percent of Chinese leading nuclear scientists and space scientists are Tsinghua graduates.

Merrill Lynch is one of the world’s leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory companies with offices in 37 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion. As an investment bank, it is a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes and serves as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. Merrill Lynch owns approximately half of BlackRock, one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management companies with more than $1 trillion in assets under management. For more information on Merrill Lynch, please visit www.ml.com.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950 the foundation has granted nearly $300 million to advance journalism quality and the freedom of expression. For more, visit www.knightfdn.org.

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