Newsletter No. 398

No. 398, 19.5.2012 5 藝 文 風 景 A TOUCH OF CLASS 《臨夜百合圖》  水墨設色紙本 梁曉媚,藝術系 Lily ink and colour on paper Leung Hiu-mei Gloria, Department of Fine Arts 邱林川教授1999年獲中文大學哲學碩士,2004年獲南加州大學哲學博士。 研究範圍包括信息傳播技術、階級、全球化及社會變遷。著作包括《工人階 級的網絡社會》和《移動通信與社會》等,曾為世界經濟合作與發展組織等 國際機構提供諮詢。現職中文大學新聞與傳播學院副教授。 Prof. Qiu Linchuan Jack obtained an MPhil degree from CUHK in 1999 and a PhD degree from the University of South Carolina in 2004. His research interests include information and communication technologies, class, globalization, and social change. His publications include Working- Class Network Society and Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective . Besides academic projects, he also provides consultancy services for international organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Currently, he is an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, CUHK. 邱林川教授(中)與研究生 Prof. Qiu Linquan Jack (centre) and MPhil students In Plain View ‘haves’. About 700 million have mobile phones but don’t go online. They’re the ‘have- lesses’. The rest are the ‘have-nots’ who have minimal contact with information. There are about 300 or 400 million of them.’ The emergence of new media such as mobile phones and the Internet has brought changes to the modes of mass communication with deep and far-reaching consequences. Social events carried in new media are called ‘new media events’. New media, cheap and allowing participation by the masses, have become a new research area in communication studies. Professor Qiu said, ‘New media events can overcome existing journalistic systems to give the masses a voice. The developmental direction of social events becomes from bottom to top. The speed of communication is faster and there’s more interaction, and overcoming of boundaries. The Foxconn incident is a case in point.’ The New Media Event Database of the School of Journalism and Communication has collected over 400 new media events that can be categorized by content into ‘nationalism’, ‘struggle for rights’, ‘ethics and privacy’ and ‘abuse of public power’. Professor Qiu pointed out that there is much difference between the communication of new media in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In the first, they happen with greater frequency, they’re highly independent, and less reliant on public media. The most symbolic event was the fire of the CCTV headquarters in 2009. The people captured the fire scene with their phones and digital cameras and uploaded the images to the Internet—a classic example of how citizen journalism has surpassed television journalism. The most sensational new media events in Hong Kong and Taiwan also spawned legal or moral issues. There were even serious discussions of rights to privacy, freedom of speech, and Internet monitoring. But by nature, these incidents were closer to daily life, like entertainment gossip, such as Edison Chen’s ‘erotic photo leak’ and Taiwan’s ‘new 228 incident’ on the Ptt online bulletin board. Professor Qiu explained, ‘The mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have their own technological features and social backgrounds, so new media events have different functions in each of these places. This shows that communication technology is inseparable from social structure. Researchers should take into account the expanding ecological system of the media, and the underlying political, economic, social and cultural systems, in order to develop new media events research more comprehensively.’ Topic Sentence In English expository writing, clarity and directness are much valued. The first sentence of a paragraph, known as the topic sentence, should let the reader know what is in store without much ado. In the prologue to his Autobiography , Bertrand Russell, a mathematician who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, summarizes for the reader the story of his life. The opening paragraph begins with this sentence: Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. The next three paragraphs are devoted to explication of why and how he pursues these passions: love, knowledge, and pity for mankind (in that order), and with what results. The respective topic sentences in the second and third paragraphs are: I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy—… With equal passion I have sought knowledge. Then, in the next paragraph, Russell adds a sentence connecting and contrasting the aforesaid passions with the one next appearing before introducing the topic sentence: Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Not only a fine illustration of the use of the topic sentence, Russell’s prologue of 320 words also contains many gems for the aspiring writer. Editor * Bertrand Russell, ‘What I have Lived for’, in Autobiography (London: Routledge, 1993).