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Create More Space for the Development of Disciplines

Professor Li Mingde

The first Dean and the Director of the Academic Committee of the School of Journalism and New Media

After stepping down, it was the best to keep silent, but Dean Ma Zhong sincerely hopes that I will write a few words on the development of the discipline. Though repeatedly resigned, I agreed to his request. However, disciplines are inseparable from the college, so I’ll say it together, ignoring whether it will deviate from the topic or not.

Today, when the in-depth development of globalization and socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the discipline of journalism and communication has become a frontier discipline serving the national strategy, a “powerful weapon of the country” for our party to govern the country, and an important part of national soft power and international competitiveness. The party’s journalism has always been closely related to the future of the country and the destiny of the people. In the complex and changeable era of intelligent media, news communication, public opinion guidance, media integration, network ideological security and other disciplines continue to raise new issues;false information,post-truth,information cocoon,information overloadand other phenomena, which continue to put forward new challenges. The bright spots, characteristics and advantages in discipline construction and talent training process will inevitably become the competitive advantage of each school of journalism and communication to highlight their own image. All of these require new solutions and new trend predictions. Therefore, the development of the discipline of journalism and communication and the cultivation of outstanding talents are facing the best development opportunities, and whoever can seize this opportunity can make achievements and explore a new path of discipline construction and innovative development.

It should be said that the development of the department of journalism and communication and the creation of the college of Jiaotong University have grasped three points more accurately:

The first is the needs of the state and society.

The development of the college is supposed to be closely tied to the society, and firmly establishing the concept that the discipline is developed for the existence of social needs, and avoiding the “self-entertainment” and “self-feeling good” that may be brought about by running a hermetic school. We have also received extensive support from all walks of life in the service of the society, in the case of only more than 30 professional teachers, the annual scientific research arrival of the college in 2021 exceeded 10 million, and the per capita scientific research arrival was in the forefront of the school’s liberal arts and sciences. The teachers of the college participated in domestic and foreign academic conferences and exchanges (online and offline) more than 100 times, issued academic voices, expanded the influence of the college, made friends, and obtained valuable resources; the professor team was entrusted with the “14th Five-Year Plan” of nearly 20 publicity, radio and television, cultural and tourism departments across the country.

The second is to closely integrate with the school’s discipline development and talent training positioning.

Just as academic research must have problematique, making disciplines and colleges is also a breakthrough and development in the process of constantly raising problems, analyzing problems, and solving problems. In a university with a dominant position in engineering, why should it run a liberal arts-oriented school of journalism and new media? What kind of increment can it bring to the college’sdisciplineconstruction and talent training?What are the advantages of the college in breaking disciplinary prejudices, making the discipline recognized and inseparable with the college? Seemingly simple questions, but cost us a hard effort, to prove ourselves has always been a driving force to encourage our development. So, what are the results? According to the statistics of Shanghai Soft Science in 2021, in the six years since the establishment of the college and the independent operation of the college for two years, the discipline has risen to 25 in China, and the network and new media majors are both ranked fourth in China; the provincial first-class major and first-class course have won many awards; and the graduates have ranked among the national mainstream media People’s Network, Xinhua Net, etc. President Wang Shuguo commented on our work in a text message to me: “With your efforts, the discipline has developed rapidly and the momentum is very good in recent years, I believe that the future will be better, on behalf of the school, I would like to thank you and comrades.

The third is to grasp the pulse of the era of cross-integration of quasi-disciplines.

The “Interdisciplinary Innovation Platform for New Media and Social Governance” located in the Science and Technology Innovation Port in western China has received strong support from the school, and the interdisciplinary doctoral program “New Media and Social Governance” is playing its due role. There is not much space for the development of traditional journalism and communication, and the cross-integration of disciplines has made the discipline construction and talent training revitalized. This is the school’s strategic requirement for us, the only way for the development of disciplines in the new media environment, and the need for multidisciplinary collaborative support to solve major theoretical and practical problems in society. Relying on the scientific research strength of the Institute of Journalism and New Media, relying on the cooperation of the School’s Media Center and Xi’an Jiaotong University Communication Content Intelligent Understanding Research Center of People’s Network State Key Laboratory, the “platform” integrates the existing advantageous disciplines such as computers, artificial intelligence, and big data in the university, plays a leading role in technology, takes the major needs of the country and localities as the guide, the first-class discipline as the goal, the “wide platform, large project, professional team, and great achievement” as the starting point, while with the support of disciplines such as news communication and public opinion guidance, new media and social governance, big data and network public opinion, data news and computational communication, etc., we continue to expand new fields of research in government social media, intelligent media interaction, international communication, etc., forming scientific research advantages with the characteristics of cross-cutting between arts, science and engineering, and providing differentiated choices for talent training. Although the current goals have not yet been fully realized, the direction and positioning of development are clear, and the goals of efforts are clear.

We are already in an era of fierce competition, if we don’t progress, we will be eliminated, and every journalism and communication college in China is running ahead of its strength, or it will be abandoned by the tide of the times. Although the college has made some achievements, the highlights are not distinct, the characteristics are not prominent, and the discipline direction is relatively scattered. When the development direction and achievements of a certain discipline of the college are presented, when the characteristics and advantages of talent training can be recognized by the academic community and the industry, when a certain discipline direction is mentioned, people naturally think of us and think of some of our scholars, it is the social impact of academic research and talent training. However, as far as the social science fund projects (including major and general) of the national and ministry of education that I have participated in in the review in recent years, it is rare to find that any applicant cites the academic achievements of our college teachers, which shows that our influence needs to be improved and recognized. Of course, it may also be related to the direction of the issues I reviewed.

In order to build on the strengths and avoid the weaknesses as soon as possible, the future development of the college and discipline may wish to continue to strengthen in these aspects: stabilizing the team, increasing the strength, people are the decisive factors in the development of the cause. Condensing the direction, building a team, too scattered discipline direction will weaken the strength and form an disadvantage. Walking outside, invite in, with an open and inclusive mentality, peer colleges, government departments, media institutions are closely integrated and make mutual borrowing. Walking around, competing for resources, to obtain accurate cognition and more support. Building images and merging into the mainstream. The image is based on the quasi-directional hard work to continuously introduce innovative results, and the integration into the mainstream plays a role by performance rather than others that can be obtained for a long time. Building culture and integrity, praising the upstream, motivating the upstream, supervising the downstream. To be dedicated and emotionally involved. Try your best with full energy; be responsible, dare to take responsibility.

The new academic team is young and promising, full of vigor, unique and sensitive to the development of the discipline, has a clear idea of college construction, and has an accurate grasp of the positioning of discipline and college. From the point of view of a so-called media person who has worked in Xi’an Jiaotong University for 39 years and has been engaged in news, propaganda, and journal editing (and wrote some TV feature film scripts in between), I am a part-time and full-time teacher for around 30 years. From the perspective of an college founder, I talked about some of the above experiences and put forward some expectations.

If something is wrong, just laugh it off, don't be serious with me. I wish this college better and better and look forward to creating more space for the development of the discipline!

School of Journalism and New Media, Xi'an Jiaotong University

Address: No.28 at Xianning West Road of Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province, China.

Zip code: 710049, Tel: 86-029-8266 3896, Email: xwcb@mail.xjtu.edu.cn