Happy new year!
This is Beimeng in Shanghai, Yan in Amsterdam, and Charlotte in Berlin.
Last year was a hell of a ride for many of us, whether in China or observing it from afar. There were lockdowns, demonstrations and a sudden reopening, not to mention global climate disasters, the war in Ukraine and the protests in Iran.
In a time of wild unpredictability, the three of us were sustained by the creativity and resilience of Chinese visual journalists and artists through curating Far & Near, and through sharing our work with you, our readers. In 2022, our subscriber base grew fourfold. We’re energized by your company and your interest in rooted, human stories from China and in understanding the country from the inside, even as geopolitical tensions grew and China reporting declined in international media. We thank all of you who are here.
We were also happy to have shared our insights and contributed to unfolding conversations. We gave talks at educational institutions on the state of visual journalism in China and advocated for ethical visual reporting on the protests in China, the latter echoed by many. The Nieman Lab and The China Project amplified our suggestions, and the New German Media Makers translated the post into German. Far & Near was also happy to receive a shoutout from Semafor, featured among many great independent China newsletters. (Check out the full list if you’d like to discover more of them.) We also thank many of our fellow Substack newsletters for recommending us to their readers.
In 2023, we want to do more of this.
First of all, we'll be doubling our presence in your inbox. Far & Near will be published fortnightly. We are determined to bring you more diverse content and more vibrant discussions through this bi-weekly, instead of monthly, publication schedule in the new year.
New issues will go out every first and third Thursday of the month, ten months of the year. We might break the pattern by delivering an occasional special issue, when we are compelled to respond to an urgent issue. Sometimes we might miss a week or two, when our full-time responsibilities—Beimeng’s day job, Charlotte’s freelance work, or Yan’s study—or just life, get in the way. We ask for your understanding in advance.
Speaking of presence — we are now on Instagram! You may have already seen us out there in the past month. What excites us about Instagram is the possibility to bring you closer to the community we write about. Many Chinese visual journalists, artists and collectives are using Instagram to promote their own work. We look forward to amplifying their voices and helping you identify some interesting accounts to follow. Think of our Instagram as a visual “playlist” supplementing our regular newsletter updates. Follow us and say hi there. If you’re a Chinese visual storyteller and want your work featured, drop us a note.
Far & Near is a completely independent, reader-funded, paywall-free newsletter. If you like our work, please consider a paid subscription and help us spread the word! Your support is critical to the sustainability of this newsletter.
Although the three of us are scattered around the world, we feel blessed to be able to stay connected through Far & Near, and we thank you for being on this journey with us. Onward to 2023!
Yan, Beimeng, and Charlotte
Who we are:
Yan Cong is formerly a photojournalist currently pursuing a research MA in new media and digital culture in Amsterdam.
Beimeng Fu is a video journalist based in Shanghai. She is a lover of languages and documentaries.
Ye Charlotte Ming is a journalist and visuals editor covering stories about culture, history, and identity. She’s based in Berlin.
Writers: Beimeng Fu, Yan Cong, Ye Charlotte Ming; Copy editor: Krish Raghav
Keep up the spirit and the visuals :)