Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oriental Daily News

Oriental Daily News is a newspaper in Hong Kong. It was established in 1969. It is one of the two newspapers published by the ''Oriental Press Group Limited'' , found by Ma's Family.

The founder of the newspaper was accused of committing heroin trades and series of corruptions in 70s by Hong Kong government, earning him the moniker 'White Powder'. He fled to Taiwan and never returned to Hong Kong.

In 1999, the newspaper was found guilty of "scandalizing the court", an extremely rare that the conduct would undermine confidence in the administration of justice . The charge was brought after the newspaper had abusive articles challenging the integrity and accusing it of bias in a lawsuit the paper had instigated over a photo of a Faye Wong. The paper had also arranged for paparazzi to track a judge for 72 hours, to provide the judge with first-hand experience with what paparazzi do.

While ''Oriental Daily'' targets at a more mature reader group, ''Sun Daily'' is more youthful and adventurous.

''Oriental Daily'' is referred by many as a tabloid because of its focus on soft news, i.e. news that edges towards entertainment in its form and content. It also adopts a sensational and critical style when reporting hard news.

The paper has been number one in circulation since 1976, with a record readership of over 3,100,000. ''Apple Daily'' is its main competitor.


The paper does not differ greatly from other Chinese papers in terms of content. The newspaper provides daily coverage of various kinds of news, including local, international, financial, real estate, entertainment,and sports news. Information on horse-racing, soccer gambling, fashion trends and travel are also provided.

The ''Oriental Daily'' is credited for a couple of breakthroughs. In 1977, it was the first local paper to launch a complaint page. These complaints could be against both public agencies and private companies. Readers can phone, fax or even complain through the internet using realtime conference system. If the reporters find the complaints interesting, they investigate and report them, acting as a sort of ombudsman for their readers. This has contributed to local newspaper's role as an influential channel for citizens to express their ideas and articulate their antipathy.

The complaint page also reports on the response from the target of the complaints. It thus tries to stay neutral and fair, aiming only to arouse public awareness on the issues.

Facing keen competition, ''Oriental Daily'' tries hard to keep up with the city's pace. For instance, new columns like 'new arrivals' postbox' were set up to accommodate the needs of . A new soccer gambling page was also launched, with information on current .

Its editorial is one of a kind. It has two editorial everyday. The first one is called the 'Main Editorial' , which is styled like a typical newspaper editorial. The second one is called 'Kung Fu Tea' , which is written in the vernacular form of , is a daily critic of the misfits of the bureaucracy and reflecting the concerns of the grassroot population of Hong Kong.

Internet service

''Oriental Daily'', like many newspapers, has its own website. It provides readers free access to full version, up-to-date news. However, it only covers news of the day but not past issues.

Readers can, too, send e-mails instead of posting letters to editors. An electronic message board is out there to record their discussions.

'''' is the flagship website of the Oriental Press Group Limited. It was started in February 2002, and includes e-paper versions of ''Oriental Daily'' and ''Sun Daily''. The whole printed version is uploaded onto the web allowing people from all over the world to read. This helps promote online newspaper viewing. However, one point to note is that readers have to register and pay to subscribe to the e-papers. This is 'personal information as commodity', as readers need to provide personal information.

Competition and new developments

''Apple Daily'', established in 1995, is the paper's main competitor. They declared a price war against each other in December 1995. ''Apple Daily'' reduced its price to HKD$4 dollars. To retain its market share, ''Oriental Daily'' responded by reducing the price of newspaper to $2 dollars. During and after this war, six newspapers closed down due to persistent losses, driving out competitors such as ''Hong Kong Daily News'', ''Sing Pao Daily News'' and ''Tin Tin News''. The competition has led to changes in the paper's presentation, with more use of colorful photos and illustrations.

Competition also improved service quality, such as the introduction of customer service centres. Readers can report their complaints by visiting these centres in Tsim Sha Tsui and . Inside the centre, complaints can be lodged face-to-face to reporters via a digital video conversation system.

Recently, Oriental Press Group Limited would like to extend its business to America and Canada. Cities like New York and Toronto which have high population of Chinese will be its first target.

Contribution to society

Since 1980, ''Oriental Daily'' has contributed to society through the Oriental Daily Foundation. The foundation has helped thousands through financial assistance and scholarships. The paper's great number of donors promises a stable source of funding for the foundation. During the , the fund helped several newly-orphaned children, providing the finances to meet basic needs and continue their education.

In 2002, the fund raised over eleven million dollars. The cumulative amount collected since 1980 has exceeded $350 million dollars.

No comments: