Araton Asks: Did the Chinese Borrow Their Media Policies from the Dolans?

tiananmensquare Araton Asks: Did the Chinese Borrow Their Media Policies from the Dolans?After a trip to Tiananmen Square, Times columnist Harvey Araton wrote about the media policy for reporters covering the Knicks that the Observer chronicled back in November (quick refresher: reporters were restricted from speaking to a player or an MSG employee without a P.R. person present with a BlackBerry in hand to take notes).

On a trip to Tiananmen organized by the Main Press Center for the Olympics, Mr. Araton learned of a newly installed rule:

On the bus, the project manager of the news desk at the Main Press Center, Wu Kun, aka Roy, announced that there was a new system in place for conducting interviews inside Tiananmen. Something about a day’s advance notice, an application, a sanctioning office with a fax machine.

Knowing that reporters from the New York Times staff had already visited the Square the last two days and had encountered little difficulty in getting people to talk, I asked how new the policy was: Brand new or created-specifically-for-our-group new.

“Two days, I think,” he said.

By time Mr. Araton reached Tiananmen, media organizers lectured about 208 species of flowers that had been planted and then were let loose to walk around. By that point, after sitting in traffic after a long bus ride on a hot, muggy afternoon, he was a little too overheated to test that policy. But he promises: "We’ll go back soon to test the new policy, though, and we’ll find out if the Chinese are as vigilant as [Knicks PR man Jonathan] Supranowitz was until [new Knicks GM] Donnie Walsh hit New York and called off the dogs."