• 2006-04-05

    + 滚石中国停刊

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    http://www.blogbus.com/newswolf-logs/2204797.html

    两个原因让我关注这则洛杉矶时报社论。一,Advanced Writing课这次的主题是Editorial,所以我到处看大报的范文。二,新闻史课的term paper要分析一家刊物在某一特定历史阶段的风格,我选了Rolling Stone,因为我对越南战争时期的美国感兴趣,而成立于20世纪六十年代末的滚石杂志擎起了反战大旗,这也许是包括我在内的只知道滚石是音乐前卫杂志的许多人所不了解的,而我又是愿意去了解的。
    不过下面的文章不是讲滚石的风光史,而是我们国内出版界的的尴尬现状。刊号,这个中国特色的计划经济产物,既可以换钱,又可以随时被用来抵挡西方的“流毒”。滚石杂志不幸也被玩了一把。
    还好,文章基调比较客气,没有大张鞑伐中国政治,却是婉转检讨滚石的生意经太嫩了点,在中国特殊环境下尚需锻炼,以适应中国国情。不过,在我看来,你指桑骂槐,比直接吐我唾沫还难受。没办法,可怜咱可爱祖国不争气啊。
     EDITORIAL: Rolling over
    April, 2 2006, Los Angeles Times

    IT HAS BEEN YEARS, IF NOT DECADES, since Rolling Stone was considered the bible of the counterculture. But the magazine may have won back some hippie cred with its premiere issue in China, which came out in March, sold its entire print run — and promptly found its license revoked.
    This is not a censorship issue. It's a business problem.(??) Rolling Stone did not violate any ideological restrictions of the Communist Party; it merely got caught up in irrational regulations and manic competition, which are the main hazards in doing business in China today. In principle, China says it welcomes investors, but in practice it requires them to be contortionists and jump through hoops.(绝妙的讽刺!)

    After long negotiation and preparation, Rolling Stone unveiled its first China issue with a cover featuring Cui Jian, the godfather of Chinese rock 'n' roll, and a long article on Mu Zimei, a blogger who became popular writing in lurid detail about her sex life. Nothing overtly political, and only mildly risky by Chinese standards. The issue quickly sold 125,000 copies. At the first sign of success, however, Rolling Stone's partner made new financial demands and apparently ran crying to officials, who suspended publication. What happens next is unclear. (找娘哭诉去了)

    Overall, the magazine landscape in China looks promising, like many sectors in its booming economy. A growing urban population with ever more disposable income is spending on magazines. Ad revenues grew by 18% in 2005, to roughly $600 million, and appear poised to grow for several years.

    Yet Beijing, paranoid about Western infiltration, refuses to issue magazine licenses to foreigners. Instead, officials regularly look the other way when a company such as Conde Nast buys a license for an existing Chinese magazine and remakes it into Chinese Vogue. Many of the 60-odd foreign publications in China, including Rolling Stone, have used this tactic. (刊号寻租)

    Trouble is, that approach requires having a Chinese partner, who is typically all smiles at the beginning of a business relationship but starts frowning when real money begins coming in. Then talk of "proper procedure" and "regulations" starts cropping up — all negotiating ploys dressed up in legalese. (笑里藏刀)

    U.S. companies going into China — such as Google and Microsoft — wrestle with the question of how to comply with China's authorities. In a few cases, free speech is at stake. More often, hard-knuckle business tactics are at play. And sometimes the two intersect. The path to success is treacherous and requires smart negotiation and constant supervision.

    It is a lesson learned the hard way at Rolling Stone, which is now mostly a symbol of celebrity culture. But every culture deserves a magazine worthy of its celebrities. Maybe they could put that on the cover of the next issue of the Chinese Rolling Stone.
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