Editor Xin Gong cares deeply about perspective. Yes, it’s something that she uses professionally as an accomplished editor of film and TV productions but it goes much deeper than that for her. It’s at the core of her personality. There’s a Native American saying that to paraphrase says, “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before criticizing them.” This communicates the importance of empathy in both intelligence and enlightenment. These are very positive attributes for someone in Gong’s profession to possess. One need only to consider Xin’s personal examples to understand this. As a native of China, she has worked extensively with different news media outlets which cover the events and experiences of Asian Americans in the US. She has spent time in both NYC and LA covering these types of news events. While working with People’s Daily Online West USA, Gong was in charge of getting the stories in the field, often operating the camera herself, while also contributing her talent as an accomplished editor in the editing suite. Considering the fact that this editor frequently finds herself on a film set these days, it seems that her lifelong pursuit has produced a deluge of empathy for those in her profession as well as differing cultures on this planet of ours. If there are two things this world could use more of they are empathy and knowledge, both of which Xin constantly pursues.
Director and producer Xingxing Chen hired Gong as an editor for People’s Daily and states, “You cannot ask for a better experience than working with Xin Gong. She is such a talented video editor! As a producer and director, I led a team of five staff members with Xin Gong as one of our crew members. Due to the timeliness of News, a very efficient editor is a necessity. With Xin’s help, I have never worried about being late for any news report. It’s not enough to be skilled and talented when working in news media, you have to be able to keep a cool head. Just as important, you have to be able to run at full speed on fumes, Xin does all of these things exceedingly well. I know this because I’ve seen it numerous times first hand.”
Working beyond the normal confines of an editor, Gong worked on more than one hundred stories while at People’s Daily Online West USA Inc. This saw her connecting with local governments, businesses, NGOs, Universities on the west coast, and attending the US-China News Media Summit in Silicon Valley. Her association with WeChat (a Chinese platform), People’s Daily Online West USA Inc., and the Chinese Enterprise Association empowered Xin with the clout and connectivity to make her a major force in the news media and as an editor. Helping to shape the stories before she edited the film, she often created a rough outline, first draft, interview questions, and even assisted in shooting many stories. This is a dream situation for an editor who is often given footage after the fact. Using this approach with People’s Daily, Gong was able to reverse engineer or perhaps more appropriately label, advance engineer, the stories in which she took part.
People Daily is obviously focused on the perspective of the Chinese community concerning events in the US. Focusing on professional news, it serves as a window to promote the understanding, exchanges, and cooperation between China and United States. People’s Daily seeks to build a communication bridge for both Sino- & U.S. companies by providing information, public sentiment analysis, and consultation in regards to government relations, event planning, venture capital, and high tech industries. One of the most prolific means of disseminating information in the Chinese community is WeChat. WeChat is a messaging and calling app that allows one connect with family and friends across countries. It’s known as one of the world’s most popular apps and China’s “App for everything”, with numerous functions. One popular function is “subscription.” It is a platform for publishers and brands. In her work with People’s Daily, Xin edited and published more than 50 videos and articles in the subscription section of People’s Daily Online West USA Inc. Editing for online and Social Media platforms are highly different than more traditional ones. The younger demographic which prefers these methods is keenly aware of the wording and methodology used via these avenues. Explaining this burgeoning prospect for editors Gong explains, “I think social media is changing the way that people receive news. News on these this type of platform is faster, more informal, and more diverse. We can get news from all over the world and it is much more convenient than traditional media. It also creates instant communities as people like to see opinions online to find if they have things in common or not with others. Some news media outlets try to take advantage of this and attract people’s attention with fake news just to be unique but I think mainstream media still has more credibility. When I see news online I also investigate the source to see if there is some other intention or they are simply reporting events.
As an editor, Gong is highly aware that she has the ability to shape the tone and subsequent reception of information. Just as an editor for a film does, the pace, angle, and even lighting can influence the audience of a story (Xin knows because she has done this on many films as an editor). She feels the responsibility of connecting these two different peoples in her work with People’s Daily. It’s not something she is flippant about. Gong is adamant in her opinion that an editor has a responsibility to communicate news in a way that doesn’t present one culture to another culture in a negative way. Rapid high-tech development in the dissemination of information has diminished the gap that previously separated countries. It is impossible to turn back the tide of globalization, so cultural reintegration has become indispensable as means of promoting further culture development and maintenance. Xin feels that as an editor, she is able to promote information sharing, exchanges in culture and education, and build up mutual understanding and friendship between both people’s. The sharing of ideas does not mean a loss of one’s identity. She shares a story that promotes this idea recalling, “The first show of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ in San Francisco was the most memorable story I edited. The stage was very beautiful and was directed by the famous Chinese-American director Stan Lai. I was shocked by this performance from an Asian actor and actress. I always remember when Stan Lai said in the interview, ‘Even though we are in America, we still need to remember our own culture and carry it forward.’ In her own way as an editor communicating information between the sons and daughters of both countries, Xin Gong does the same.