Four One Media People Remember Madness and Freedom

By Zhenhai Guan, unnamed Apple Daily court reporter, Xiao Er, John Fang

Now I will answer, I want to fight very, very much, in my own way, until the last moment.

Apple Daily, which was founded in 1995 and has been tumbling with Hong Kong for 26 years, has been in a stormy situation this year. Following the prosecution of several senior executives on national security and fraud charges, and the freezing of a number of Next Media accounts, the group’s board of directors met on June 21, 2021 to discuss response options. According to several media sources, the board of directors is inclined to end the operation of Apple Daily and Apple Action News, while setting this Friday (25th) as the deadline, if the frozen assets are not unfrozen by the Hong Kong Security Bureau on that day, the operation will be stopped.

Therefore, Saturday, June 26th is the last day that Apple Daily will be published. Many people in Hong Kong were shocked and saddened to see the end of an important political dissident newspaper.

When it comes to the Apple Daily and the Next Magazine under the same group, Hong Kong people used to have different opinions, “love and hate” may be the words of many people and even the Next Media The words “love and hate” may be the inner words of many people and even Next Media. Today, before the period is drawn, Tuan Media invited four Next Media members to write about their experiences and thoughts with Apple, Next Magazine and Fatty Lai, each of which will become an indelible slice of Hong Kong media history.

Then we will fight in the shade

Article: Anonymous court reporter of Apple Daily

To be honest, I was not impressed with Apple Daily at first.

I remember when I was in college, I would always discuss with my classmates the claptrap, emotionalism, and lack of depth of some of Apple’s stories. …… Even though I knew Apple also had professional and excellent reporting, I had a deep impression of it, and it still felt out of place. However, for me, who had been “F5ing” the job site every day, this was my first full-time job as a journalist in three months, and I didn’t even think twice about it, so I gladly I accepted.

When I first said I wanted to be a journalist, what was the reason? To be honest with myself, those so-called “social justice” and The concept of “social justice” and “fighting for the people” seems to be very vain, more likely to be a “passionate The concept itself sounds very tempting, but to put it bluntly, it is vanity. As for why blood should be hot, there is no clue at all. It wasn’t until I started working at Apple that I realized: social justice, of course, I care; but more importantly, journalism is my instinct, I like to observe, I like to listen, and I like to record other people’s stories.

As a court reporter, I spend more time in the courtroom than in the office. So to this day, my desk is still very neat and tidy, and I don’t even have a water glass of my own. The sense of belonging seems a bit distant to me.

The courtroom edition of “The Apple” is a bit special, especially because it is relatively well-staffed, and every single case related to counter-delivery is not spared, even if the case is trivial and tedious, it must be written carefully and completely. In this context, I came across a case of a hearing-impaired teenager involved in an assault on a police superintendent.

On the first day of the trial, the slim teenage defendant wore a pair of black headphones and was surrounded by an interpreter who was responsible for reading back the court’s content. It seems that this is the only anomaly in the court, the rest of everything is operating as usual, the normal speed of speech, the normal cross-examination …… until the prosecution’s case is completed, the teenager decided to defend himself in court, at the last moment misheard a series of key questions from the prosecution, the wrong “no” was heard as “yes He misheard “no” as “yes” and answered the question against him. It was only when the court was adjourned that the teenager learned that he had answered the questions incorrectly, and he could not help but weep at himself.

When I spoke with the teenager after the court had adjourned, I learned that without the help of a hearing aid, he would have been nearly completely deaf. He had to listen intently to every word spoken in the courtroom, and it was even more difficult to understand accurately if the words were complex and long. However, neither the magistrate nor the lawyers on either side ever explored his hearing condition, nor did they slow down his speech most of the time, or take off their masks to facilitate the defendant’s lip reading.

After a round of data collection, I realized that the judiciary’s understanding and support for the hearing impaired and deaf was seriously lacking, and this assault case was perhaps just the tip of the iceberg. At that time, I had been on the job for less than a month, and I was worried that I might think this topic was beyond the scope of the court’s work or not in line with Apple’s style, but a senior reminded me, “You know what you don’t know before you try? (How do you know you can’t if you haven’t tried?) “

I went back to the company to integrate the information, rehearsed several times in the brain, and then tangled for a moment, before gathering the courage to go to the location of the old fine, I will think of all the “vomit” out. As a result, the old man trusted me, gave me space and time to follow up the story, and respected my opinion during the discussion, while giving me proper guidance.

The truth is, no one asked me to make the story sensational, nor did they ask me to deliberately sensationalize the story, just to tell a good story and do a good job.

The hearing-impaired teenager was finally sentenced to a rehabilitation center, and the magistrate criticized the teenager for his lies. At the moment of being escorted away, the teenager leapt halfway out from between the bars and shouted incoherently to his mother, “Mom! Happy Birthday! After the courtroom was dismissed, I walked to the exit of the courtroom and stood awkwardly beside a group of “escorts I stood beside a group of “escorts” and watched the prisoner’s car go away on the straight Taian Street. I wiped away my tears of confusion and sorrow, telling myself repeatedly that I had done all I could.

I believe that heartfelt reporting can lead to possibilities, and that possibilities are the basis for change. The Apple I see is a freedom, a freedom from red tape, a freedom to allow journalists to create possibilities.

Apple court reporter

Following the publication of the story, a hearing-impaired defendant in another case was given access to the court’s live text transcription service, which allowed him to follow the trial through text. The story was also well received in deaf and hard-of-hearing circles, and the teenager was eventually released on bail pending appeal of his conviction and sentence, so that he could be reunited with his mother for the time being.

I can’t help but wonder, would these changes have happened without Apple’s influence? Of course, there is no answer to that question, but I believe that heartfelt reporting can lead to possibilities, and possibilities are the foundation for change. The Apple I see is a freedom, a freedom from red tape, a freedom to allow journalists to create possibilities. So even though Apple is not perfect, even though Apple is sometimes not professional, and even though I have fears, I am happy to work with other colleagues to protect that freedom until the last minute.

“Do you know how to pick apples? “

Seven months ago, on the day of my interview at the Next Media building, the old man looked at me curiously and seemed to have a subliminal message: “At this time, do you really want to come in? (At this time, you still want to come in to work?) “I looked out the window for a moment to organize my thoughts, looking out at the empty main street, trying to imagine just two months ago, parked there assault vehicles, blue and white seals, stepping into the building hundreds of police officers …… I have forgotten my answer at that time.

I only recall the movie “War Wolf 300” in which the Persian messenger with his right hand chopped off warns a group of Spartan warriors: “Our arrows will blot out the sky. Our arrows will blot out the sun.” The Spartan warriors smiled and said, “Then we will fight in the shadows. Then we will fight in the shadows. Then we will fight in the shade.”

Now I would answer that I would love, love, love to fight, on my terms, until the very end.

I should still put a glass of water on the table.

You taught me to guard the freedom of the press with my body

Article: Guan Zhenhai

On August 10, 2020, one month after the passage of the National Security Law, the police stormed the Next Media building with great force. In the morning, I was sitting in a corner of a Mongkok teahouse, eating a bite of doll noodles and scanning the news sleepily with my phone in my right hand.

WhatsApp sent a photo of 100 police officers storming into the Next Media building, and the former left a message: “Hai, scatter! ” After that, there was no more information. I hurriedly pressed my phone with one hand to send the message to the foreign media, so that the world would know the news earlier. After I finished my bowl of noodles, I noticed that there was a lot of talk around the teahouse, discussing the life and death of “Apple”.

In the live feed, I saw a plainclothes police officer enter the “war room” of the emergency team. The plainclothes officer flipped through the files on the editor’s desk, turned around, and left again. The plainclothes police back of a “sticker” (public display) of the front page news, is a group of everyone recognized as good news, many journalists bet their lives to fight back the truth The truth is, it’s our life.

Our hard-working record in the press book, independent and autonomous third rights, really do not allow any unknown person to fiddle. These few scenes for me, the former apples of the people, really heartbreaking, look at the tears rolled. After 37 years of being a human being, it was the first time I shed tears in a teahouse… I was struck by the fact that the building where 100 police officers were stationed six years ago was the very place where we fought with the gangster mothers, when the black forces claiming to be anti-occupation used every means to prevent “Apple” from coming out of the paper.

It was the first time in the 100-year history of the newspaper industry that journalists had to physically escort a newspaper out of the street.

The newspaper industry also knows that “Apple” is famous for its fast paper delivery. On weekdays at 9:30 p.m., the paper was cut off at 10:00 p.m., and the writers finished the paper quickly before 11:00 p.m. At around 00:30 a.m., it had to be delivered to the Mongkok newsstand. This has been the commitment of Apple Daily to its readers since 1995, and no delay is allowed even in typhoon number 10. Even if the evening encounter Lamma maritime disaster of the unexpected, first out of the first edition of the paper, 12 o’clock fast change, 3:30 a.m. printed instant second edition.

In October 2014, the occupation carried out more than 10 days, another occupation of Mong Kok violence is incessant, there are black people involved in Mong Kok for days to provoke the rally people. October 3 clashes, the police arrested 19 people, of which 8 people have a gang background, the community surfaced the police connivance of black forces attacking people’s allegations, but the police strongly denied. October 4, the author photographed close to the Hong Kong Radio Television Department reporter Mai Jiawei He was knocked down by anti-occupation activists who attacked the reporter in public, which was very rare at that time.

And in the Next Media Building, for several days, there are also “big mothers” to prevent the delivery of “Apple”, at first two or three women camped, later enough to block the main road, the troublemakers Behavior is also becoming more and more savage, once they see the reporter will jump forward foul language treatment, buried body fights, deliberately with the reporter for physical collision.

I have been sent to Mongkok to cover the news. After RTHK reporter Mak Ka-wai was beaten up, I was also attacked by anti-occupation activists. Come on, let’s win the fight against the Big Mother Gang. How could the reporter who was writing the article think that after eating fists in Mongkok, he would have to go back to his company to save the day; do you really need to rely on your fists to report in a civilized society? I had this question at the time.

Many of the senior reporters in the breaking news team have been working as journalists for 20 years, and they usually have the mentality of “getting two meals”. A senior journalist said to me, “Hai, it’s not Apple’s business if the paper doesn’t come out. I won’t fight for Apple, but when it comes to freedom of the press…”

The news received that night of October 13 was that the night “greeting” Apple, no longer just a woman, but also involved the Yuen Long gang, they have taken a bus to Tseung Kwan O on the journey They are on their way to Tseung Kwan O by bus. If we do not resist with quality, tomorrow’s Apple Daily will definitely not be published. With the crisis looming, I kept asking myself where the bottom line of press freedom is. I ask myself that I do not want to be a journalist to win a news award, but if we are cowardly and yield to the black power, we will be able to put away our pen if we move a knife and a gun in front of the newspaper in the future.

The company called us to the sudden group of “men” early back to the company “Preparation”, back to the “heart of the war room “The relaxed atmosphere of the company is no longer. With the boss smoking, the boss said the company has words to the front-line reporters: “Brother Kin said, today not wash so gentle. (No need to be too gentle today.)” (Editor’s note: Buddy Kin is Yip Yat Kin, a senior executive of Apple Daily and current chairman of the board of Next Media. At this point, we nodded our heads to show that we understood, but did not plan how to do, in any case, can temporarily put aside the identity of “journalists” it.

Bag a good row of batteries, flash storage and then downstairs, to the “patriots” downstairs at close range to open the flash photo, the footsteps no longer backward, “photographed” them. “Take away” them. I do not want the camera in my hand to become a weapon, I am very conflicted.

As expected, it was not only the old lady and uncle who came after me, but also the Yuen Long gang leader, and the Apple reporter quickly identified the people with different characters in the middle. After entering the black two or three buses filled with more than 30 30 people got off and blocked the road. Some of the more sturdy journalists, early ambush in the roadside road kerb position, hidden in the dark grass. When the punks, ama approaching, journalists will rush out from the grass, with large spotlights shining on them, for them to take a full picture, and then quickly in the moving news to send news, the reporter near the ridiculous things announced to the world.

The reporters around me are usually polite and courteous, but when they see the big mama gang, they rushed forward to stop and check the suspicious people, and they were fierce and fierce: “Who are you, so what are you doing in Tseung Kwan O at night? “Some punks, big mothers were driven into the American factory, we do not know why the American will open the door to the triads. Reporters in the Next Media building to build a human wall, delayed reinforcements of uniformed police officers in the middle, the situation is very embarrassing, but see the reporter can not bear to hit the mother and punks, only politely said: “Hey, well la well la. “

By the critical moment of the early morning paper, the “Apple” senior management has prepared a crane to lift the newspaper to the truck, there is a big mother can not wait to climb on the car shouting, we see no way, both soft and hard: “Do not be that excited ah, look, those are the South China Daily, write English, you Get off first. “

The journalist and the staff of the newspaper publisher (editor’s note: the book and newspaper publisher) tried hard to persuade them, but the woman was not afraid of fraud and refused to get off. The police intervened and confirmed that the newspaper was not “Apple Daily”, so they could get out of the car. The moment when the ama could drive away after the test was done, it was a great shame for the world press.

At 12:00 a.m. on the 14th, a Hong Kong court issued an injunction prohibiting anyone from blocking access to the Next Media building. However, the company sent out cranes and headlights, but the newspaper still could not be delivered. Almost dawn, and then delayed delivery of “Apple” to Mong Kok, really ashamed of more than 100,000 readers who bought the newspaper. While the heart was burning and there seemed to be no way out, Apple people were united to build a long human alchemy to escort the first truck to break through the crowd of big mothers and gangs and successfully break out of the landfill. The first car out to the environmental protection Avenue, surrounded by deafening cheers, I’m not sure if the police showed a smile, but certainly the mob did not come out of the fist at the critical moment, probably because of the live relationship.

Six years later, the humiliation suffered by the press on August 10, 2020, just remember that day of human refining, smiling faces, the frustration of doing media also dispersed with the wind …… “Apple” will one day disappear, all things have a day of extinction, only the value and practice, someone has a light.

Apple former reporter Guan Zhenhai

Before the day mong light, the big mother almost close, the small gang and the big mother like a zombie forehead pasted on the spirit of the talisman, back to normal people. The police did not arrest anyone. And maybe the bus is not enough seats, leaving behind a large number of big moms. They came up to the reporter and asked: Where is the nearest subway station? The reporter politely told them that the Sunrise City station is very far away, and the first train leaves at 6:30 a.m., suggesting to send them out. The aunt politely declined with embarrassment, preferring to walk step by step to the Sunrise Cannes station.

After the van of “Apple” left Tseung Kwan O, for some reason both sides were no longer hostile and spoke politely.

After the successful release of “Apple”, the whole company was overjoyed and everyone took pictures under the big spotlights. Even though internal disharmony was a daily occurrence in Apple, and the promotion for the “newspaper” (newspaper review) sometimes led to a heated argument, what I saw that day was What I saw that day was a great unity of “peace and courage”, and everyone used their own methods to protect the freedom of the press.

Six years later, after the humiliation of the press on August 10, 2020, the frustration of being in the media dissipated with the wind as long as I remembered the smiling faces of the people on that day. That day taught me what printing and publishing are. No matter how advanced the Internet is, printing is always a way to manifest freedom of the press.

The Apple will disappear one day, everything has a day to die, only the value and practice, someone has a light.

The fragrance of the landfill

Text: Xiao Er

When people reach middle age, they have more baggage on them, which are the sweet memories of their youth.

The memory of One Media, nourishing the soul. But thinking back to the old days of working in the landfill, trembling.

When I joined Next Magazine, the magazine sold more than 100,000 copies per week, there was money to be made and resources to be had, and that was the biggest weapon it could use to beat the competition. As long as there is news, there is a story, the reporter can fly to the ends of the earth at any time, the company includes food and housing. In the United States for three weeks, the text plus photography two journalists spent more than 100,000 yuan (at least all), the old fine signing a quick and easy. Of course, we know that we need to have the goods, material to explode, so the business trip is not to eat, drink and play, but to think about how to achieve the pressure of the news all day long.

Next Magazine” is the originator of Hong Kong investigative reporting. To do investigation, the reporter’s brain, money and time is the king. People in the industry know that investigative reporting consumes a lot of money and effort, and the effort is often not proportional to the reward, but if successful, it is the best way to demonstrate social justice. For example, to expose a rich man’s extramarital affairs, paparazzi can be sent to track the case 24 hours a day for several months; to expose illegal structures in the New Territories, land leases can be purchased lot by lot (lot numbers), and companies and license plates can be checked, with a stack of thick documents costing tens of thousands of dollars; to To unlock the first-hand historical information of the June Fourth Incident, you can pay foreign archives to organize and transmit valuable historical records.

My predecessors remembered that in the best days of Next Magazine, they were able to pay for a dozen months of food a year, and in their twenties they had money to buy a car and a house.

Of course, there is no free lunch in this world. The fat man can afford to hire the best people, you can accept their share of food, you have to do plus zero-one. (You can afford to get such a salary, you have to do a very powerful) does not matter, the firing of people in One Media is commonplace, a piece of cake. I have heard many people say, in the landfill to work, bring a cup of tea is enough.

Fatty Lai’s management style is to encourage competition. The more difficult part of working at Next Media is the complex personnel issues, A, B, C and D. Each week, the four departments have to achieve a significant part of the boy to compete on the cover of the magazine, the meeting process to criticize each other, the winner should not be complacent, after the publication of the magazine’s book club, another big fight. Every week, there is a lot of tit-for-tat and a lot of mistrust between people.

In the past, Next Magazine has been criticized from time to time for making up stories and misrepresenting the facts, and I have thought hard about why this continues to happen. Perhaps the people who work here can’t handle the pressure of being fired if they can’t find a story, or if they don’t get a story published, so they take the risk; or perhaps, in a time when magazines are making a lot of money, they are looking for stories that are explosive, eye-catching, and sell enough books to pay the bills, rather than journalistic integrity and credibility.

Fatty Lai sees the media as a business, and journalists with backbone, how to accept it?

The paradoxical place is here: because Fatty Lai is a businessman, pay attention to the market response, I believe that Hong Kong people are willing to pay for this issue of the magazine (celebrities with second wives and mistresses cover really sell! In addition, it proves that there is a market and a price for this kind of subject matter, so why can’t we do news with the taste of Hong Kong people? Why can’t we do news with Hong Kong people’s tastes? How can a bookish headscarf be as good as the real money?

Because Next Media values the market, abandoning dogmatic norms and changing with the social environment, the result is a culture of freedom, openness, innovation and authenticity, refusing to conform to the old ways and set limits.

Market dominance is the core value of Next Media, and it also has a soul: the story of Fatty Lai and June 4, 1989 and the fight for democracy. Those who work in landfills will automatically wave buried positions to prepare annual features (will automatically be in position to prepare annual features) every June 4 and July 1. Perhaps, this is the time when the staff and Fatty Lai most in the same breath.

These months, Victoria Harbor sunset, the heart can not help but again flood the days of yesteryear in the landfill work, hard, crazy, but very satisfied, because your boss, no matter what fear, that is the biggest backing.

Former reporter of Next Magazine, Xiao Er

The people who served Fatty Lai were all cursed by him with the “N” word. They all complained about Fatty Lai’s domineering attitude, his five-timing and six-timing, and the competitive culture he shaped. But what they all miss is the burst of free air under the enormous pressure of work.

Whenever I think of that free sky, I always feel a sweetness in my throat. Here, you can try any kind of news, your superiors won’t order you to have dinner with so-and-so officials, you won’t be instructed to undergo brainwashing, you won’t be afraid of offending The interview will be discarded for fear of offending someone with hard evidence, not because of a powerful person and kneel.

Therefore, people who have worked for Next Media love and hate Fatty Lai. These months, the sun sets over Victoria Harbour, the heart can not help but again in the old days of working in the landfill, hard, crazy, but very satisfied, because your boss, no matter what fear, that is the biggest backing. (Because your boss, nothing is afraid, that is the biggest backing.

This should be the history of the media in Hong Kong, can not be erased memories.

Landfill in the offbeat free fragrance, in the stench to teach people especially unforgettable.

Regrettably, we can only look back on the past.

The Last Days

Text: John Fang

I joined Next Magazine’s B-book editorial team in February 2000, when I was still in my third year of college, until I left at the end of 2015, making me often feel like a youth product of Next Magazine. Many people have penned questions about Next Magazine’s scenic glory. In the dark days when Next Media was suffering from regime suppression, I would most like to record my last days at Next Magazine.

At first, I worked at Next Magazine, mainly in charge of paper magazine editing and publishing. In the middle of 2015, Next Magazine laid off staff, and I was transferred to a new department in charge of mobile apps, and struggled for half a year.

Apple Daily, in the same department, started to take care of its online platform early on and sharply developed Apple News. Next Magazine did not. It was not until the paper market was in jeopardy that it officially developed its mobile app, Next Weekly Plus. A young team of about 20 people was hired, capable of filming, editing, recording VO, art design, as well as those with an attractive appearance suitable for front-of-house performances. There is definitely enough talent to run an online channel.

The operation mode of Next Magazine Plus is another matter. At the time, Next Magazine was downsized, but still had regular publications. In a way, Next Week Plus was like an adjunct to Next Magazine, making short videos of the magazine’s content and posting them online for readers to watch for free. Because it is free, Next Week Plus is also a competitor to Next Magazine, directly impacting Next Magazine’s sales.

It would be far from enough to rely on the content of a single weekly magazine to support the needs of an online platform. Therefore, Next Week Plus also attaches considerable importance to breaking news. For example, when Charlene Choi and Timothy Chan announced their breakup, the usual approach of a weekly magazine would be to follow up with the two parties involved, or to find someone related to the incident, to make a feature with more detailed information or another unique perspective, not to steal the moment, but to focus on depth. Next Week Plus can’t do that, because it seems pointless to lose the first opportunity. When the breakup came to light in the early morning, I returned to the office at 6 a.m. and wrote a short video as fast as I could, searched for information clips, and arranged for film editors to organize them in the easiest way possible.

We only wanted the story to be published as soon as possible, not to be elaborate. This is completely different from the requirements of the past magazines.

But this approach was almost identical to that of Apple News, which had several times the resources of Next Week Plus. When I was a weekly, I was busy, but every Tuesday night, when I finished the article, I could always breathe a sigh of relief when it was over. During the six months I worked on Next Week Plus, I spent close to 18 to 20 hours a day at the office, and once the news broke, I needed to mobilize my staff to get the article out and the film out and the cell phone alert, which was a very stressful experience.

If, however, the approach worked, the hard work and fatigue might have been worth it, but killing Next Magazine’s strengths and characteristics in favor of fighting hard with competitors of the same type who have already established a firm foothold in the market would have been half the battle. In addition to maintaining the daily operation of “Next Magazine Plus”, I had hoped to take into account a more promising way out, such as finding colleagues to live abroad to shoot short films and produce online travel programs; or to change the format of the short film as the main production of interview programs, so that the interviewee no longer in the traditional form to accept the text reporter interview, rigidly sitting in front of the camera to say the answer, can be more lively small talk, adding short film Watchability.

The younger group of new colleagues, after joining the industry, have been lacking the basic training to be journalists, and do not have enough ability to investigate to dig up information to create new topics, but, like robots, they have to copy a little bit of news from the east and a little bit from the west, it is too big to use, and there is no originality.

I used to insist that “Next Week Plus” should leave the framework of “Next Magazine” and try to avoid becoming a “Apple News” of the same type, or even turn to a more youthful route, with a more vivid and TV-like form of expression, even if it is a slightly more serious subject matter, the audience will be more receptive, which is the most effective way to use limited resources. As a result, it’s not going to work. After staying at Next Magazine for about six months, I resigned and left Next Media, where I had worked for 15 years.

It used to be hard to imagine that Hong Kong would one day not be able to accommodate even Apple Daily, but now it seems increasingly difficult to imagine that Hong Kong can still accommodate Apple Daily.

John Fong, former reporter of Next Magazine

I have always been proud to have served Next Media. Next Magazine is certainly not perfect, and I don’t need to mention any imperfections once again. But from my years of experience, it is at least free. You can be scolded by your boss for not writing an article well enough, but you won’t be censored or jerked off for writing an article that doesn’t fit your boss’s position. I remember a time when I interviewed a singer and praised the singer’s character. After reading it, my boss scolded me for being naive and childish, and let the article be published without changing a single word. If I were in another media organization, I would have been forced to change my position to suit my boss’s taste. Look at today’s TVB news, cable news, and even Now TV…

It used to be hard to imagine that Hong Kong would one day not even have room for Apple Daily, but now it seems harder and harder to imagine that Hong Kong will still have room for Apple Daily.

Do we really deserve to have only Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao, or Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao under other names?