Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Seven years after my TED talk | TED演讲七年之后

我有幸在TED2013大会上做了一个关于阅读的力量的演讲,其中提到小时候梦想当戏曲演员,但没机会尝试,多年无法释怀,好在阅读让我慢慢从郁闷中走出来。
I have the fortune to give a talk about the power of reading at the TED2013 conference. In it I told the story of how my childhood dream of becoming a Chinese opera singer got crushed, and how reading saved me from becoming cynical of life.



梦想已死去快四十年,我早就不指望此生会与戏曲界有什么交集,但没想到2018年回南京拜访大学时的老师吕效平教授时竟和戏曲圈子搭上了关系。他那时已答应越剧著名女小生茅威涛在她从艺四十周年即2019年时再写一篇具有学术论文,系统研讨茅威涛的戏曲实践。吕老师曾在2014年发表论文《茅威涛对于现代戏曲的意义》,成为茅威涛极为信赖和尊重的戏曲研究专家之一。
Almost 40 years after the death of that childhood dream,  I've long assumed that Chinese opera and my life would never cross. To my surprise, while visiting my college professor Lv Xiaoping in Nanjing in 2018, I found myself get connected to the circle of Chinese opera. At that time he had already promised Mao Weitao, a famous Yue opera actress specialized in playing men onstage, that he would write another academic paper about her art in 2019, the 40th anniversary of Mao's career. The 2014 paper by Prof. Lv, The Meaning of Mao Weitao to Modern Chinese Opera, has made him one of most trusted and respected opera researchers for Mao.

和吕老师聊天时他谈起一个苦恼:他自己没时间去做研究写那篇论文,手下有空的研究生又很难胜任这项课题,因为平常都不听戏。我当时脑子一热就毛遂自荐了:我小学起就喜欢听越剧,茅威涛的戏更是从她出道起就开始听,我拿的大众传播博士学位虽然跟戏曲没什么直接关系,但经常用到的理论训练——媒体心理学——却完全可以拿来研究戏曲这个传媒内容。
During our conversation, Prof. Lv mentioned a dilemma he as facing -- He had no time to research and write that promised paper, while his graduate students, who had time, had difficulty taking on the project because they seldom go to Chinese opera. Something must have got to my mind that I immediately volunteered to work on the project: I love Yue opera since childhood and have been listening to Mao's performance since her debut; Even though my doctorate in mass communication bears no direct association to Chinese opera, the media psychology theories I'm trained to use are completely suitable for analyzing the content communicated by Chinese opera.

吕老师一听也动心了,当场打电话征询茅威涛团队,几天后我们就在杭州和茅威涛面对面讨论,一拍即合。接下来十六个月我的业余时间大多花在观摩、采访、读资料、讨论和写作上面,除了期间因为父亲去世而暂停一段。总算沒白干,写完《为现代人改编传统戏:以角色代入理论评析茅威涛的越剧创新》,发表在 2020年1月出版的《戏剧与影视评论》上。
Prof. Lv was intrigued by my proposal and called Mao's team for their thoughts right there. A few days later, we were in Hangzhou talking face to face with Mao and called it a deal. During the following 16 months, I spent most of my free time on watching operas, interviewing people, reading research, discussing ideas, and writing the paper. The only break I took was when my father passed away. All that work paid off. My paper, "Adapting Traditional Opera for Modern Audience: Using the Identification Theory to Review Mao Weitao's Yue Opera Reform," was published in the journal of "Stage and Screen Reviews" in Jan 2020.

茅威涛、吕老师 ,谢谢你们给我机会和信任!命运有时真的很神奇,出乎意料地给我一个机会去抚慰自己少年时对戏曲的执念。命运可以很粗暴,也可以很温柔,取决于我们遇到什么人,取决于我们怎样去回应。
Mao Weitao and Prof. Lv, thanks for giving me this opportunity and your trust. Fate can be truly magical at times. It has unexpectedly given me a chance to pacify my inside teenager's obsession with opera. Fate can be brutal or gentle, depending on who we meet and how we respond.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Voting for the First Time 第一次投票

On the eve of 2012 presidential election, I gave a 6-minute talk about my experience of voting for the first time as part of a mini TED on Nov 5, 2012. The video ended up on the TED blog.

"What one does may not change the outcome of an event, but it's never in vain. To participate is to say 'yes' to life, to join the force of life." I feel really honored to be given the opportunity to tell my story. I hope it has inspired some people to vote.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How To Do News Online: Think of News as Data

Thomas Baekdal‘s critique on what newspapers did wrong in their approach to online news has attracted a lot attention. I think his suggestions also apply to us broadcasters if we want to develop a strong online presence.

Forget the limitations of on-air broadcast

“Newspapers need to stop thinking of news as an article,” Baekdal said, “People do not want a format. They want news.” Likewise, broadcasters also need to stop thinking of news as a audio or video clip with text. The Internet has no limitation on distribution schedule either. “Everything is now!”

Think of news as data
The wrong way to bring news is to create 170 articles and just post them on your website. That just wastes people time. There is no way to differentiate between topics, get the bigger picture, or dive into the details.

Instead, think of news as data. Some news, like the analysis and the insights, are perfect as an article. The stream of news, as the story develops, is perfect as a live stream. The rumors and speculations are better as a list. The quick overview is best presented like an illustration.
Here is a nice example of how that could be done for a complicated big story.