Down and out and about in Shanghai

Note: This blog post also ran in the Society of Professional Journalism’s “Journalism and the World” blog. Click here to see the original post.

Robert Near is trying to break into journalism in Shanghai. In a recent posting, he writes that my account of the difficulties of getting started resonates with him.

He teaches English, he copyedits, and he writes lifestyle pieces for magazines both in Shanghai and back home in Canada. He talks quite a bit about the music scene here.

As a foreigner in China, you can lead a pretty glamorous life if you want. A couple of years ago, my then-husband and I and our kids were extras in the White Countess, and spent a day sailing on a boat with Natasha Richardson and Ralph Fiennes. Last week, I got an invitation to an event with Kylie Minogue. I’m not much interested in that sort of thing, though, and politely decline, or pass the invites to employees. Art, culture — both high and pop — anything literary or having to do with society just bores me.

I’d rather spend a day with computer programmers learning PHP or go out with friends, or practice my guitar with the kids.

But the opportunities are definitely here. As a member of the foreign correspondents corps — even as its most junior member — you’re automatically ranked high compared to, say, local media.

From Shanghai,