Ming Pao is a Chinese language newspaper published by Ming Pao Group in Hong Kong. Since the 90s, Ming Pao has established four overseas branches in North America, each provides independent reporting on local news and collect local advertisements. The four editions are: Ming Pao Toronto, Ming Pao Vancouver, Ming Pao New York and Ming Pao San Francisco.
It aims at providing comprehensive and accurate reports on political and economic issues in both mainland China and Hong Kong. The Ming Pao Group has published a number of newspapers and magazines. Well-known for its accuracy in language, many secondary schools in Hong Kong encourage their students to subscribe to Ming Pao in order to improve their Chinese language.
On November 7 2005, Ming Pao in Hong Kong received a box that contained an explosive substance , and 2 workers were injured. A letter accompanying the box demanded Ming Pao for HK$30 000 000 to be donated to the Community Chest of Hong Kong for "punishment". Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang strongly criticized the event. This was the first newspaper to be bombed in Hong Kong.
However, in recent years, Ming Pao has begun reporting some news in a "soft" way, meaning that the tone of some headlines and contents is less serious than the newspaper's initial tone, probably because of the trend of "infotainment" among both the local and overseas media. This "soft" reporting might be unavoidable, since it is the current trend in news reporting as sensational news and headlines tend to attract readers and boost readership. Nonetheless, Ming Pao is still best-known for being honest and responsible by publishing only the facts and not the exaggerated, gory photographs common in other newspapers that are unpleasant to readers, especially children.
Some Hong Kong people claim that Ming Pao seems to have become more "neutral", as it used to be quite opinionated and dared to pronounce its views on sensitive issues. These people attribute such changes to the pressure that the Beijing/Mainland government has allegedly put on Hong Kong's media as well as the more stable political situation in both China and Hong Kong. Others think that the free press in Hong Kong is changing of its own free will.
There have also been criticisms that Ming Pao has, in the last few years, become rather biased in its coverage of certain fields, in particular education and medicine-related news, where a certain tertiary institution (namely, the Chinese University of Hong Kong) has been habitually favoured. Commentators note that positive news coming from that institution usually receive substantial coverage in Ming Pao's pages, whereas negative news are seldom mentioned or receive a low-key treatment. Some suggest that the reason for such favouritism may stem from the fact that many of Ming Pao's editors and reporters, including its current chief editor (KB Cheung), are alumni of that institution, which, coincidentally, has also placed a large amount of advertisements in the paper. There have been instances where results of surveys conducted by other organisations have been presented in such a way as to show off their favourite institution in the most favourable light, notwithstanding that such a presentation involves a certain amount of distortion of the original intention of those conducting the surveys. Some have observed that, by contrast, Mingpao has been particularly harsh on some rival educational institutions, and that there exist considerable double-standards in its journalistic attitude. Ming Pao also habitually favours the views of academics from the Chinese University in its pages and also has lots of collaborative projects with the latter. In any event, such an apparent partiality has made some doubt the neutrality and professionalism of the publication.
There have also been instances where Ming Pao's reports become rather one-sided or that their reporters have failed to follow-up on certain issues which they previously reported, leading to an incomplete coverage of events which can be misleading to readers. Some of their newer reporters are rather green, too, and it shows in some of their articles. The level of professionalism of Mingpao appears to have declined considerably in the last few years.
Kao Hsin-chiang, Ming Pao’s current editorial director, said that Hong Kong people needed to understand China better, to sympathize more and judge less. He also declared that Ming Pao wanted Hong Kong and Chinese interests to reach a balance, so it had to find that balance.
These values determined the initial direction as well as the consolidated foundation of Ming Pao.
In the beginning, the original focuses of 'Ming Pao', built on the four values listed above, were the public interests, Chinese martial novel, and its unpopular style with clear and insisted political view against the left-wingers. It is not hard to see its covered values, from the Chinese martial novel to the editorial, which often gets into a debate with the other newspapers. For example, its editorial monitored by Louis Cha had come to a debate with Ta Kung Pao (大公報) concerning the issue of refugees in 1964 . As the years passed, as well as the unpredicted political changes in China, the clear and firm position of Ming Pao brought it a high reputation from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. With its explicit and admirable values suiting the society of Hong Kong, where freedom is held in reverence as well as being the gate to China, Ming Pao has therefore been regarded as an independent and intelligentsia's newspaper from its earlier development up to now.
Due to changes in the society, the style of Ming Pao has also been adjusted in order to fit the social needs. As mentioned in the "standpoint" section, Ming Pao is now using a relatively soft and moderate title instead of the one before. It raises the question: Have Ming Pao values denatured? The answer is: Even though Ming Pao is now being more moderate and less aggressive, its existing and foreseeable development are still built on its traditional values, which are the elements that have brought Ming Pao to success. although such values are now rather compromised by certain biased/substandard reportage.
See also: Media digest
Ming Pao is also one of the favourite newspapers among educational institutions. Schools often list Ming Pao as a compulsory newspaper subscription, and often offer special discounts for students in order to encourage them to subscribe to and read the newspaper more. The subscription price can be as low as about $2, while the usual selling price of a Hong Kong newspaper is HK$6.
Awards won by Ming Pao Vancouver in recent years:
In 1993, the Hong Kong daily Ming Pao launched its first North American edition in Toronto. At that time, it was the third Chinese newspaper in the two countries after the release of Sing Tao and the World Journal. Throughout its 37-year history, Ming Pao has catered to the wealthy, educated elite, so it quickly attracted the attention of educated, affluent Hong Kong immigrants.
Most of the staff and editorial workers at Ming Pao are graduates in journalism and were educated abroad. They have their own writing and reporting styles, which are very different from that of Hong Kong editors. For instance, staff are encouraged to report from the perspective of a Chinese-Canadian, as they want to educate their readers to live peacefully with people from different backgrounds in Canada. Moreover, when they write, it is important for these writers not to take sides. The idea is that readers are simply informed of the facts of an event, whereupon they can make up their own mind about their own opinions. Covering mainstream and Chinese society using only facts like this are considered to be very challenging.
The paper has no editorials, but it has a commentary column called "People's Talk," which runs Monday to Saturday. In this space, senior editorial staff write about many issues. The reason why Ming Pao in Canada does not have editorials is because of the lack of staff to write them. "We don't want to write editorials in a loose way," Vivian Chong, the news editor of Ming Pao, said. According to Chong, in writing the editorials, the content needs to be analytical and comprehensive. But many of the staff are not very familiar with the local issues, so a lot of time has to go into research for editorials. So at the moment, Ming Pao is trying to help readers familiarize themselves with local issues in Canada first.
Ming Pao was launched in Vancouver a few years later.
Overall, Ming Pao has become famous for its three weeklies, glitzy and colorful magazine supplements, even enticing some Sing Tao and World Journal readers. One of these is the Ming Pao Property Gold Pages, a real estate buyer's guide which includes analyses of the property market, stories on mortgages, Canadian real estate law and interior design.
Ming Pao Daily News, a subsidiary of Ming Pao Enterprise Corporation Limited, is committed to serving the Chinese American population. The cities in USA where Ming Pao is published are New York, Long Island, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco. The readership is about 135,000 per day. Ming Pao Daily comprises a high readership profile of "high income/education professionals", which are also the target readers in Hong Kong.
Ming Pao Daily News offers headline news in the US, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other Asian countries. Other content includes financial section with the latest stock market quotes and investment figures, entertainment news, lifestyle, community activities and events, in either the Chinese or English sections.
On 29 January 2007, the owner of Ming Pao, Malaysian Tycoon, Tiong Hiew King (in Chinese: 張曉卿) revealed his proposal to merge the 3 newspaper groups he owns, the Sinchew group and the Nanyang group of Malaysia and the Mingpao group of Hong Kong into one. The merged group will be traded under Mingpao Group in the share market and listed in both Malaysia and Hong Kong stock exchanges. However all of the existing groups will remain their brands, independent operation and existing publications will be continued.
The merge proposal brought a strong wave of criticism and condemnation against the owner Tiong and the publications in both Malaysia and Hong Kong because of the concern of monopoly of Chinese media and control of speech. The merging plan continues regardless and on 23 April 2007, the merge became official.