中国日报外籍员工代表Bill Gaspard（比尔 盖斯帕）发言。 中国日报新闻图片中心供图
Xiexie. Wo shi Zhong Guo Ri Bao sheji zongjian Bill Gaspard. Da jia shang wu hao. I am an American who is just learning Chinese. I think it would be best for everyone’s mental well-being if I spoke in English.
It is a privilege to be here speaking to so many honored guests in this magnificent and historic building. And it is a pleasure to be speaking on the occasion of China Daily’s 30th birthday. As a representative of the more than 70 foreigners working at the newspaper, I congratulate my current colleagues as well as those whose vision and hard work from the beginning have made this a day worth celebrating.
When the Great Hall of the People was built more than 50 years ago, the construction was completed in just 10 months — an unprecedented feat in architecture at the time. Yet it was just a preview of the even more unprecedented building of the world’s second-largest economy in the decades that followed.
And while optimism here is justifiably and refreshingly prevalent, I’ve not found anyone satisfied that the work is done. The country’s evolution and development very much remain a work in progress. It is against this backdrop of transformation that is now a constant and defining characteristic of China, that the role of our newspaper becomes more meaningful.
China has always been a player on the world stage, but it once again finds itself in a lead role, performing in an increasingly bigger and brighter spotlight. With that spotlight comes more interest but also more scrutiny, more fans and, inevitably, more critics.
News organizations worldwide are writing more about China but their scope and perspective can’t adequately tell the story of a country this big, complex and diverse. I know between the people of my country and China there remains a crucial lack of understanding on both sides. You have a saying: bai wen bu ru yi jian — one hundred times listening is not as good as one time seeing. My own journey to China illustrates this.
Like many of my fellow countrymen, I didn’t know much Chinese beyond ni hao and gan bei or about the nation’s history and traditions beyond what little I remembered from classes taken long ago. What I knew of modern China came from a handful of press articles and the sometimes reasoned, and sometimes inflammatory, statements of politicians.
I was excited and anxious when I got the job. For many expats coming to work in China there is a brief moment of panic when you arrive. Simple things that you didn’t even have to think about before become complex problems that require help to solve. You feel like a child unable to pour himself a glass of water. It’s a weird feeling that fortunately passes quickly.
So, in those first weeks I felt constantly lost when I was out on the streets ofBeijing, but in the newsroom I felt right at home. There was so much that felt familiar — things common to every newsroom that transcend language and journalistic traditions.
It was also a big help during that transition that my Chinese colleagues were very welcoming and enthusiastic about their jobs. My first day at work I spoke with a top editor about the mission of China Daily — to bring the story of China to the world and to bring the world’s story to China. He spoke about how important it was — in such a complex, fast-moving world — to break down stereotypes, dissipate the mistrust between people and to promote mutual understanding.
I used to work as design director at the
U.S.’s third-largest newspaper, The Los Angeles Times. I was also president of the international Society for News Design and know many designers and editors around the globe.
So I certainly felt at home among our international team that includes senior editors and writers from the U.S., Britain, Australia, India and Canada, to name a few.
That mission resonates with us as we push to improve the professional standards of China Daily. And those standards have improved substantially along with the reach of the paper.
My time with China Daily has been very good. I’m happy to be here, to have this unique and valuable experience. It’s especially gratifying to see how the staff – both Chinese and foreigners – rise to the occasion when a big story breaks, a special project is coming together or a new product is about to launch. In these instances, when the hours are long and the days off scarce, the spirit and dedication of the team remains strong. In the news design world, there has been a lot more attention and praise being paid to the work being done in Chinese newspapers, including China Daily.
Despite all this, as is true with any 30-year-old, there is still much for China Daily to accomplish, still room for growth. As I said at the beginning, I’ve not found anyone satisfied that the work is done, only those wanting to push forward.
Birthdays are for wishes and mine for China Daily is that it continues to reach for new heights and help to bridge the divide between our view of the past and our understanding of the future.
Zhongguo ribao shengri kuaile .