Changing Intellectuals species in Newspaper,1987~2009
綜上，研究者認為，知識份子與報紙之間的關係，已從早期的文人報導，論政救國，逐漸退居到作為報導裡眾生喧嘩裡的評論者之一。知識遭到工具化，僅有滿足報紙設定立場的機械式評論。作為獨立意見提供者，知識份子或許應該維持反叛與堅持的態度，基於面向社會的責任感。在面對報業困境及呈現爆炸式成長的新興傳播科技與網路社群的同時，知識份子們應當重新自我書寫、發表並尋回獨立發聲的機會，方能作為社會良知，發聲以震聵In order to emphasize the credibility of news reports and offer news analysis to the readers, newspaper as well as other media always quote the comments of experts or scholars. However, an informal ranking list came from a newspaper revealed that the same group of experts always quoted up to several hundred times within years, and the mangers of the this newspaper reminded their reporters to avoid interviewing those experts who were familiar to the public. The American media industry call a group of commentators with different specialties often shown in the newspaper as ‘Pundit,’who are well prepared to answer questions or express their viewpoints for the reporters in a phone call quickly. Thus, this phenomenon seems to be common not only in Taiwan but also in other countries.
Comments in the newspaper provide readers different point of views other than objective information. Instead of academic scholars, experts such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, columnists and senior media workers can also play the role of commentators.
In this study, we observe a kind of news report which reporters not only provide facts to the readers, but also quote the comments of the intellectuals, as well as that of common people. The study call this type of reports as ‘crossover-reporting,’ which is a new phenomena in Taiwan media industry, and the reporter of which combine different kinds of information in a report. This technique is seemed to be mostly used by Apple Daily. By analyzing how the intellectuals and their comments appears in the newspaper, the study tries to explore the changing roles of the intellectuals in Taiwan printed media.
Both quantitative and qualitative analysis are used in this study. We choose four newspaper from 1989 to 2009 as our materials. The properties of the comments were further analyzed by purposively sampling the appearance of intellectuals in the main contents in theses newspapers. We analyze the number of words, the section where the report appears (e.g. in the main reports, forums, or supplements), and the form (e.g. special articles, opinion, symposium, interviews, or letters to editors) to define whether a report is cross-reporting or not, and to observe the change of the role of intellectuals. Besides, we interview two senior media worker to gather qualitative information for our analysis; one of the interviewee is a chief editor and the other one is a senior reporter.
The results of the study shows that the number of comments from academic scholars is increasing since 1987 (the year which the Lifting of Martial Law is declared in Taiwan); however, the average area is decreased by 52% within 22 years, and the form they appeared is gradually transformed from integral special article to public opinion forum (e.g. the average area was 320 cm2 in 1987, but remain only 80 cm2 in 2009 in special articles). The study also shows since Apply Daily started publication in 2003 and its massive use of crossover-reporting, the academic scholars’ number of words quoted by reporter has decreased, but the number of academic scholars’ quotation has increased.
We also find that the using of crossover-reporting provides the opportunities for other intellectuals and even general public to comment on news issues. The number of their comment is even more than that of the scholars, but number of words of the former (average area is only about 10 cm2) is lesser than that of the latter.
By interviewing two senior media workers, both of them agree that, under time pressure and the demand from editors, they prefer to adopt the comments from those intellectuals who can express clearly, response quickly and actively provide information. This situation is very similar to that of American mass media industry of which the media always need ‘Pundit’ to give quick and clear comments for the needs of reporting and editing.
In words, this study demonstrates the change of the role of the intellectuals in the newspaper; they used to offered professional opinions for the public and played important role in politics. However, in the recent years, the intellectuals’ role gradually decline and become only one of the commentators appearing in media. Now professional knowledge is used only as tool to support the viewpoint of the newspaper. In our opinion, we still suggest that the intellectuals should remember their social responsibilities, keep their independent and critical roles and resist the present situation which regard them as only tools or materials of reporting. In facing the decline of printed media and the rising of new media technology such as internet and social media, the intellectuals should try to reclaim their position as the conscience of the society and reacquire their influencing role to enlightening the public