News without news

The credibility of the press in China is diminishing because it is increasingly controlled and censored. Not only the government has an interest in steering public opinion, parties with an economic interest also benefit from managing the information stream. Often, the readers’ comments sections contain more actual information than the articles themselves. It is here that people can come to an informed opinion, as these contributions counter and complement the biased and utilitarian news production. Xiaofeng Dai has devised an insightful way to visualise which topics are being debated among users of online media and newspaper websites. His live feed offers structure in the multitude of discussions: in a simple white on black environment, it places the comments on the most hotly and recently debated articles in a bigger space and font, so users can easily find and manipulate what is worth reading now. The site takes a neutral stance and the presentation is directed only by the popularity of the media featured in the feed.

Xiaofeng Dai