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Blogging Comes of Age
Special> Blogging Comes of Age
UPDATED: June 28, 2008 NO. 27 JUL. 3, 2008
News From the People
Chinese netizens are increasingly using the Internet to cover news from their own angles and as a means to express themselves

FUNNY GUYS: The Back Dorm Boys, a video show duo who made a name for their lip sync videos to songs by the Backstreet Boys and other pop stars, have since taken their humour to the movie business

At 2:28 p.m. on May 12, a rare 8-magnitude earthquake jolted Sichuan Province in southwest China. Half an hour later a video of the quake shot by mobile phone was posted to one of China's biggest video-sharing websites, Tudou.com, by a university student in Chengdu, capital of the disaster-hit province. The video came minutes before the first TV news about the earthquake, which was run by CCTV News Channel, the first 24-hour national news channel in China.

"At first I felt my chair shaking and I thought it was my roommate who was kicking it. But later we realized it was an earthquake as the building was trembling and things on my desk began falling," said Zhao Zidong, a college student in Sichuan University. He was surfing the Internet in his dorm on the sixth floor of the building when the quake hit.

The two-minute earthquake video showed chaotic scenes as the quake hit the dorm, including a student hiding under a desk from which books, papers and plastic cups fell.

"It is 2:29 p.m. on May 12, 2008. We are having an earthquake here in the Sichuan University in Chengdu. Our building is still trembling," an excited voice said as the camera moved to a window from which dozens of students could be seen running away from the building.

As the earthquake calmed down Zhao began to upload the video to Tudou.com. That evening he found that his video had been played for some 600,000 times and was the most viewed that day.

Express themselves

In the Internet world, Zhao's homemade video was what is known as a podcast, a word that basically means blogging audio content but has been expanded in its connotation to include videos.

Topics covered by podcasts range from music and cultural programs, mainstream entertainment, business, politics, and science to travel programs. Podcasts are typically either person-centered or dedicated to specific topics.

AMATEUR JOURNALISM: Zhou Shuguang, who claims to be China's first citizen reporter, demonstrates his "weapons" near a construction site in Chongqing where a property dispute attracted media attention in 2007 (JING XIAOLEI)

In China, podcasting, which is hailed as a new medium, is dominated by video programs. China's various video-sharing websites have become the

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