ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan thanks ‘visionary’ Tsinghua partners for GBJ program’s success

  International Center for Journalists President Joyce Barnathan hailed Tsinghua University’s Global Journalism Program on Dec. 13 as a world-class training ground for “the emerging business journalism leaders who will set the standard for high-quality news about China’s businesses and economy.”

  Barnathan, whose organization operates 70 journalism programs around the world, and ICFJ Vice President Vjollca Shtylla spent a week in Beijing from Dec. 7 to Dec. 14 to mark the tenth anniversary of GBJ, the first English language graduate business journalism program on the Chinese mainland. More than 400 students, both Chinese and international, have graduated from the program, which trains its students in global best practices in business journalism. Many of the alumni work at prominent news organizations, including Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, People’s Daily, Global Times, China Daily, China Radio International, the South China Morning Post, and Bloomberg News.

  During their visit, Barnathan and Shtylla met with Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication deans, professors and students. Barnathan praised the “terrific Chinese faculty” and the “visionaries” at Tsinghua, including Professors Shi Anbin and Hang Min, who launched the program and helped it become an international success story. She also met with Bloomberg News co-founder and editor-in-chief emeritus Matt Winkler to thank the preeminent global business news service for its commitment to the program.

  “We at ICFJ are honored to partner with Tsinghua’s journalism school and Bloomberg News to make sure the GBJ program continues to thrive at this crucial times,” Barnathan told an audience of Chinese and international students on Dec. 13.

  ICFJ has trained journalists in more than 170 countries over the past 32 years, “helping to raise the standards and skills of journalists around the world,” Barnathan said. But Barnathan, a veteran business journalist who covered China for seven years for Business Week magazine and is fluent in Mandarin, says she is particularly proud of the partnership with Tsinghua.

  “I find this program to be truly special,” she said, adding that it has created “a new level of professionalism, business expertise and writing skills in covering the dynamic Chinese economy.”

  Tsinghua and ICFJ launched the Global Business Journalism Program in 2007. Bloomberg News has been an indispensible partner from the beginning, led by Winkler and Bloomberg editor-at-large Lee Miller, who is a visiting professor in the GBJ program.

  “From day one, Bloomberg understood the importance of promoting excellence in business journalism in China—and got behind this program,” Barnathan said. “This program would not have gotten off the ground without Matt Winkler’s participation and passion for this initiative.”

  With the financial and journalistic support of Bloomberg, ICFJ’s leaders are planning for an ambitious next 10 years, including expanded course offerings and a series of business journalism textbooks written by GBJ faculty for use in China and around the world.

  “Your role is more important than ever,” Barnathan told GBJ students. “As China shifts to a ‘New Normal,’ from an export-driven economy to one focusing on domestic consumption, you—the graduates of GBJ—are uniquely positioned to tell the story. You will explain the amazing technological innovations sweeping this entrepreneurial country. You will analyze gyrations in the stock and property markets. You will explain the changing workforce, the migrant worker shifts, the startup community. You will cover the role of China in Africa’s development—as well as China’s impact on trade and investment around the world.

  “It’s a great story, and you will be the multimedia storytellers, the emerging business journalism leaders, who will offer the insights we need to comprehend what’s really taking place.”