Zhang Haijie

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Zhang Haijie
张海洁
Born Zhang Haijie
(1971-08-28) 28 August 1971 (age 45)
Xi'an, China
Residence Singapore
Nationality Singaporean
Other names Helen Cheung
Education Communications University of China
Australian National University
Nanyang Technological University
Occupation University Lecturer (1993–1997)
News Anchor, Current Affairs Presenter (1997 – present)
Years active 1997-2004, 2008-
Employer MediaCorp TV (formerly known as Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS))
Home town Xi'an, China
Height 1.64 m (5 ft 5 in)
Website Zhang Haijie Fanclub

Zhang Haijie (Chinese: 张海洁; born 28 August 1971) is a Chinese-Singaporean television news presenter with MediaCorp TV Channel 8, one of two Mandarin Chinese free-to-air television channels in Singapore. Born in Xi'an, China, she became a Singaporean citizen in 2003.[1][2] Since 1 May 2008, she has been anchoring News Tonight (previously known as News 8 at Ten) every weeknight.[3] Zhang has a reputation for being a highly respected news anchor in the industry, and proves to be popular among the audience due to her distinctive clear voice and professional image she portrays in the newsroom.[4]

Zhang was a part-time Ph.D. candidate at the Nanyang Technological University's Chinese division, researching the changing political role of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry before Singapore's independence.[5] She completed her PhD in April 2012.[6]

Career[edit]

Prior to relocating to Singapore in November 1998, Zhang graduated top of her cohort from the Communications University of China (formerly known as Beijing Broadcasting Institute) with a First Class Honours Degree in Broadcasting and Hosting (播音主持专业). After graduation, Zhang taught at her alma mater for four years before moving on to journalism.

Zhang then worked in the Shanghai Cable TV Station for one-and-a-half years as a financial-news presenter and producer. She then decided to relocate to Singapore to work abroad. Initially hired as a trainer at the Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) (now MediaCorp's News Department), where she trained then amateur presenters such as Tung Soo Hua,[7] Zhang was asked to anchor the 1 pm news bulletin after just one week into the job. Zhang was then promoted and asked to anchor the 10 pm news on MediaCorp TV Channel 8.[8]

In 2003, with SPH MediaWorks Channel U, Zhang hosted the current-affairs programme, Inside Out, which explores various social issues in Singapore and the region. The programme was very well received, which set the record with sky-high viewership ratings. (Inside Out, last episode) Till now, no other Chinese-language current-affairs programme has managed to break the viewership record Inside Out had set.[9] Zhang also co-hosted radio talkshows on UFM 1003.

On 1 January 2005, following the merger with MediaCorp TV and SPH MediaWorks, SPH MediaWorks closed down. Zhang was the only news anchor from SPH MediaWorks to be invited back to MediaCorp's News department. However, she rejected the move.

Zhang took a six-month break, travelled to places such as Egypt and Russia. In July 2005, she went back to studies and became a full-time PhD candidate at Nanyang Technological University's Chinese division with her thesis on the political role of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry before Singapore's independence.

After three years off the air, Zhang announced on 7 January 2008, that she would return to broadcasting on MediaCorp TV Channel 8, and would assume duties as a news anchor on 15 February 2008, reporting on the 2008 Singapore Government Financial Budget.[10]

Controversies[edit]

Cross-over to SPH MediaWorks[edit]

In 2001, she resigned from MediaCorp News and crossed-over to rival TV station SPH MediaWorks Channel U. It was rumoured that she left MediaCorp because she was unhappy she did not win the Best News Presenter Prize in the Star Awards 2001 despite leading by a landslide victory of 70% of the audience vote according to several reports by the local media. (Straits Times, 2008) The award went to colleague Ng Siew Leng. Zhang resigned four days after the award ceremony was held.[11] Then SPH MediaWorks head Man Shu Sum (now Director of MediaCorp Raintree Pictures) dismissed the rumours and added that negotiations with Zhang were going on for months before the award ceremony. In the same year, Zhang denied widespread rumours of rivalry between herself and Ng, declaring "she and I have no conflict."

When interviewed in Year 2003 by Lianhe Zaobao, Zhang admitted that she was extremely disappointed she did not win the coveted award in 2001.[12] Zhang also revealed she cried in the taxi while on her way home because the taxi driver had thought she won the award. She disclosed that she was not on good terms with her colleagues in MediaCorp TV and hinted that one's work performance there was judged solely based on the amount of work hours put in. (Ref: 15 Dec 2004, Lianhe Zaobao) This issue became a much talked about topic again when Zhang returned to MediaCorp TV in 2008.

Missing out on Best News Presenter Award[edit]

Zhang has been nominated for the Best News Presenter every year while under MediaCorp TV's employment, but never won the award. In January 2011, an online Facebook page was set up in a bid to garner audience support for Zhang to win her long overdue Best News Presenter prize. Many netizens have also expressed support for Zhang in various online forums, as well as on MediaCorp TV Channel 8's Chinese language News Official Facebook Page.[13][14] However, Zhang did not win the award once again in 2011. Her poor public relations skill was thought to be a contributing factor as to why she has never won despite being widely acknowledged as one of the finer news presenters in the industry with vast experience.[15] Zhang was once quoted as saying to reporters: "I once told my superior this – The TV station employed me all the way from China to come here to work, not to make friends."

Nevertheless, when Zhang was interviewed in 2009, she was quoted as telling reporters that she no longer held any expectation of winning an award.[16] Zhang said her perception of life changed greatly after a close friend of hers had a brain tumour in 2007,[17] which made her treasure life more and do what she loves most - newsreading. She added that the audience support garnered for her would be the best form of recognition.[18]

Zhang finally won the award in 2012 for her broadcasts and live analysis with political analysts for the Singaporean general election, 2011 and Singaporean presidential election, 2011.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Year Organisation Award Nominated Work Title Result
2000 Star Awards Best News / Current Affairs Presenter News 8 at Ten Nominated
2001 Star Awards Best News / Current Affairs Presenter News 8 at Ten Nominated
2003 Asian Television Awards Best Current Affairs Presenter Inside Out
Runner-up
2004 Lianhe Zaobao Top 50 Most Popular Asian Idol N/A Won
2008 The Anniversary Gala 2008 Most Memorable News Presenter (2000s Era) N/A Won
2009 Star Awards Best News / Current Affairs Presenter News 8 at Ten Nominated
2010 Star Awards Best News Presenter News 8 at Ten Nominated
2011 Star Awards Best News Story Kallang Slash Nominated
2011 Star Awards Best News Presenter News Tonight Nominated
2012 Star Awards Best News Presenter News Tonight Won
2013 Star Awards Best News Presenter News Tonight Nominated

*Note: The Star Awards Best News Presenter award has since been abolished with effect from Year 2014.

Family life[edit]

Zhang is the youngest child of a school-principal father and an architect mother. She has two older sisters and an older brother.

She is unmarried and has said she does not mind going for match-making sessions to find a partner.[19] Zhang was rumoured to be dating Creative Technology CEO Sim Wong Hoo, but she denied the rumours.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "海洁成功申请成为新加坡公民". Zaobao.com. 2 October 2003. 
  2. ^ "Zhang Haijie talks about being Singaporean". omy.sg. 13 April 2009. 
  3. ^ "Zhang Haijie is Weekday Primetime News Anchor eff 1st May 2008". xin.sg / youtube. April 2008. 
  4. ^ "张海洁以充满自信、权威性和老练的播报方式深获观众的喜爱". xinmsn. 15 April 2009. 
  5. ^ "NTU Chinese Division List of Current PhD students". Nanyang Technological University. 9 August 2008. 
  6. ^ "张海洁今天一进门就说,今天是她的"大喜之日"!原来是张小姐博士论文通过,要变张博士了!". MediaCorp Channel 8 News. 5 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Tung Soohua says Zhang Haijie was once her mentor". Xinmsn. 29 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Anchored Woman". AsiaOne Just Woman. 3 March 2008. Archived from the original on 21 August 2009. 
  9. ^ "非常透视眼 最后一集". SPH MediaWorks / Youtube. 16 July 2008. 
  10. ^ "Zhang Haijie returns to TV news (Trailer)". MediaCorp TV. 7 January 2008. 
  11. ^ "张海洁当年失意跳槽 如今人生观不同". Omy.sg. 25 March 2009. 
  12. ^ "最大的失望:没拿红星大奖". Lian He Zao Bao. 20 October 2003. 
  13. ^ "推荐张海洁获奖". MediaCorp Channel 8 News Official Facebook Page. 7 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "I want Zhang Haijie to win Star Awards 2011 我要张海洁获奖!". Facebook. 7 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "给新闻主播张海洁致函". MediaCorp Channel 8 News Official Facebook Page. 13 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "Zhang Haijie's views on Star Awards". xin.sg / Youtube. 4 Sep 2010. 
  17. ^ "Audience feel Zhang Haijie has changed over the years". xin.sg / Youtube. 12 June 2010. 
  18. ^ "张海洁当年失意跳槽 如今人生观不同". Omy.sg. 25 March 2009. 
  19. ^ "如果过了35岁还找不到对象 海洁不介意相亲". Zaobao.com. 19 February 2003. 

External links[edit]