Pressure marks jobs in media

Updated: 2016-06-16 07:50

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily)

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String of premature deaths in two months renews talk about high stress in workplace

The recent death of a newspaper's editor-in-chief, following the deaths of at least seven other newspaper staff members in the past two months, has renewed concerns about the overall health of the group.

Du Shaoling, 42, editor-in-chief of Chuncheng Evening News in Kunming, Yunnan province, died on Tuesday of an apparent heart attack arising from cardiovascular disease, the newspaper said via social media on Tuesday.

"Almost all media staffers who died prematurely had similar experiences, such as constant pressure and working overnight," said Li Ying, deputy director of the Media Teaching and Research Center at Communication University of China.

"The job of a reporter seems flexible, but they have to be ready for an assignment at any time, even during holidays. The tension is like their shadow."

Du often worked 17 hours a day, Wen Xing, one of his colleagues, told

Du was in charge of both news reporting and business operations.

Fierce competition in the newspaper industry in recent years, including pressure from online media, has resulted in revenue losses at many traditional newspapers in China. That means more pressure for senior executives, the report said.

Journalism is one of the riskiest occupations in China, according to a report released last year by 51 job, a large human resources service provider.

The report said journalists, who face fierce competition, must work under heavy pressure and on irregular schedules - and all of that brings higher health risks an increased incidence of premature death. Other risky jobs include policemen, IT workers and doctors, according to the report.

Du, the Chuncheng editor, is one of a number of senior staff members in the industry who have died prematurely in the past two months. At least seven others preceded him, including 45-year-old Ma Yuezhou, a senior editor at PLA Daily, which is owned by the People's Liberation Army, and 42-year-old Ren Jie, a senior editor at Mianyang Daily in Sichuan province.

More than 90 percent of people working for media in China face health problems, including high cholesterol, hypertension and insomnia, according to a 2014 report by Selection Market Research Group, a research company in Guangzhou.

Major causes of health problems include lack of exercise, irregular meals and heavy work pressure, the report said.

These factors suggest that the physical and psychological health of journalists deserve the attention of employers, said Li of the media center.

At the same time, she said, news staffers should monitor their own health and get regular checkups.

Wu Bin, a reporter at Southern Metropolis Daily, based in Guangzhou, said work has been quite busy and usually lasts from 10 am to 10 pm.

Wu, who is 26 years old and has been working for the paper for three years, said he attaches more importance to his health since he was diagnosed with a fatty liver during a health checkup.

An editor surnamed Zhang at Netease, which runs one of China's largest news portals, said he faces heavy work pressure as he is multitasked.

"I only slept for about four hours a night over the past two months due to tension," he said.

High-stress occupation

Members of news staffs in China who have died prematurely since April:

Yin Hongwei, 43, freelance investigative reporter, April 26

Jiang Jun, 41, reporter at, May 3

Ren Jie, 42, senior editor at Mianyang Daily, May 3

Ma Yuezhou, 45, senior editor at PLA Daily, May 4

Wang Yashan, 28, editor at Netease, May 18

Wang Jun, 39, editor at Henan Legal Daily, May 23

Xiao Chaoli, 51, senior reporter at Lanzhou Evening News, June 11

Du Shaoling, 42, editor-in-chief of Chuncheng Evening News, June 14

Pressure marks jobs in media

(China Daily 06/16/2016 page5)