Lu-Hai Liang

thoughts from a freelance foreign correspondent

So I got a job with a Chinese TV company

with 3 comments

It turned out easier than I thought. Let me tell you exactly how it happened. In August I connected to a HR person of a TV company, over LinkedIn. I dashed off a quick message inquiring if they had any opportunities. She replied that they in fact did, that they were developing new programmes and hiring for reporters.

I sent off a CV to her – at this time I was in England, the company in Beijing – so she replied that when I returned we should meet.

Skip forward to October, and I arrived at their offices keen of face desperate of spirit (for I really needed some regular income) for an interview with this Chinese TV company in Beijing.

And that was that. It is interesting working for a Chinese broadcaster. They have programmes in English so language is not a big problem. Bureaucracy, endless meetings and a sense of inertia are, but these are not Chinese problems I’d hazard but endemic to TV across the world.

The Chinese way of thinking about how to best present China to foreigners however is unique. There’s a lot of talk and much consultation with the ‘foreign experts’ (really simply foreigners) over how foreigners think and how they perceive this or that.

I can hardly imagine a BBC meeting going like that. It’s quite alien to me – this intertwining of nationalism and entertainment.

But anyways, it’s a job. I get on with it – I write scripts and help with their programme development, specifically on pilots for a Beijing news show. My pay is fairly generous and I really needed the regular income. Having a day job is also healthy I think – endless freelancing, which mainly consists of me sitting alone in cafes browsing the internet can get lonely and it’s tiring always living inside your own head.

I will continue freelancing on the side, and will negotiate a part-time work schedule early in the new year. I’ve told them already. Getting some more TV experience always helps of course, and working in Chinese media always generates great experiences and insights.

Working in the media in China is not very difficult. Magazines, newspapers, websites, radio and TV – all have positions available. Just don’t expect to be earning big bucks. It helps, as always, if you have an IN – know the right people, do a bit of hustling and have experience bouncing around various local media.

Nyima Pratten became managing editor, at the age of 25, at a popular magazine in Shanghai after six months of smart decisions. Look out for a future guest post from her about how she did it.

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Written by Lu-Hai Liang

December 16, 2013 at 6:35 am

3 Responses

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  1. […] But I’ve had a full-time job so freelance has taken a backseat. […]

  2. […] 1. So I got a job with a Chinese TV company  […]

  3. “The Chinese way of thinking about how to best present China to foreigners however is unique. There’s a lot of talk and much consultation with the ‘foreign experts’ (really simply foreigners) over how foreigners think and how they perceive this or that.”

    Hahahahahaha

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re real expert. You just need to be confident and have a foreign face.

    Gu Jing

    June 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm


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