SCMP kisses its popular China Markets Live blog goodbye

September 25, 2015 16:40
The SCMP live blog announces its own demise (left). Photos: HKEJ, SCMP

The South China Morning Post is suspending its popular China Markets Live blog, launched in July, as markets turn more stable.

The English-language newspaper said in the last edition of the blog Friday it has "decided the market story no longer merits a live blog".

The SCMP said it will continue to cover the markets on a spot basis.

The editorial decision took both staff and readers by surprise, because the live blog was often among the most popular items on the newspaper's website.

The live blog has provided frequent updates since July 9, the day after the Hang Seng Index suffered its biggest intraday drop of more than 2,000 points.

It is remembered for its live and comprehensive coverage on August 11, when China announced a one-time renminbi devaluation that sparked a confidence crisis that spread to markets around the world.

But since September, the renminbi and the A-share markets have turned more stable, entering what President Xi Jinping this week described on his United States visit as a stage of “self-correction and adjustment”.

SCMP editor Wang Xiangwei said the suspension was a normal decision because of lower market volatility.

“We want more colleagues to spend time writing their own stories,” Wang said.

In 2013, the Post broke an exclusive story on US security whistleblower Edward Snowden, which brought in millions of hits to its website from all over the world.

It was also credited with up-to-date and relatively balanced coverage of the Occupy movement late last year.

Unfortunately the Post has seemed to struggle in extending its investigative reporting beyond the Snowden story.

For instance, the story of the week -- director of highways Lau Ka-keung painfully admitting an artificial island used to anchor the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project had drifted -- was broken by Howard Winn, the Post's former Lai See columnist, who was let go this year after he reached the retirement age of 60.

Another recent departure from SCMP Group (00583.HK) is business editor Nick Edwards, under whose supervision the China Markets Live blog was produced.

Edwards, the Post's first full-time business editor in six years, quit two weeks ago after two years to join HSBC Holdings plc (00005.HK).

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EJ Insight writer