China Central Television's (CCTV) flagship newscast, Xinwen Lianbo, which has used the same format featuring deadpan newsreaders since 1978, is getting an update that will next year see it provide more in-depth and international news, the Beijing News reported.
After studying global news channels, the broadcaster said it will update and develop a series of new news programs, said the newspaper Monday.
The Global Times contacted two staff members at CCTV who refused to discuss the pending changes.
CCTV announced the changes at a promotion campaign of 2013 held on Saturday, but its website contains few details of the planned changes.
Xinwen Lianbo's half-hour broadcast has been an iconic fixture on Chinese television, airing at exactly 7:00 every evening, 365 days a year. The program is broadcast simultaneously on most of the country's channels. It kicks off a night of television watching for tens of millions of viewers nationwide.
Xinwen Lianbo is also the country's top-ranked newscast and had a 10.72-percent rating and a 33.48-percent market share in the first half of this year. CCTV does not provide a breakdown of the program's estimated number of viewers.
The newscast is co-hosted by several newsreaders announcing the news without emotion.
At CCTV's promotion for its new programming for 2013, the broadcaster promised expanded coverage of issues of concern to people such as healthcare, food safety and education. It will also expand its coverage of international news.
Another famous investigative news program Jiaodian Fangtan, which is aired after Xinwen Lianbo, will expand coverage of breaking news as it celebrates its 20-year on the air.
"The change will help transform television from a propaganda loudspeaker into a professional news outlet," Lu Di, a professor with the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University, told the Global Times Monday.
"China's media has a weak voice in the world, so it's necessary for CCTV to add more international news," Tang Yuanqing, a professor with the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.
"China is undergoing a transformation during which more conflicts will occur, and more lively news could enable it to lead public opinion," Tang said.
Zhou Dejia, a retired man in Jiangxi Province who rarely misses Xinwen Lianbo, said he is glad to hear changes are coming to his favorite news program.
"Too much of the newscast is dedicated to the top leaders," Zhou said. "I hope to watch more stories of ordinary people and from other countries."
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