Friday, December 25, 2009

For American Workers in Taiwan, a Culture Clash (rewritten and edited to make a point)

For American Workers in Taiwan , a Culture Clash

By HANNAH SELIGSON, the New Yark Times
December 23, 3009

As more Americans go to mainland Taiwan to take jobs, more Taiwanese and Americans are working side by side. These cross-cultural partnerships, while beneficial in many ways, are also highlighting tensions that expose differences in work experience, pay levels and communication.

In the last few years, a growing number of Americans in their 20s and 30s have been heading to Taiwan for employment, lured by its faster-growing economy and lower jobless rate. Their Taiwanese co-workers are often around the same age.

“The tight collaboration of the two countries in business and science makes the Taiwanese -American pairing one of the most common in the workplace in Taiwan ,” said Vas Taras, a management professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a specialist in cross-cultural work group management.

But the two groups were raised differently.

The Americans have had more exposure to free-market principles. “Young Americans were brought up in a commercial environment,” said Shalom Chen, 28, a senior associate at Green Flame Capital, a private equity firm based in Taipei. “We weren’t. So the workplace is a unique learning process for my generation.”

Sean Liao, 28, founder of Neochacha, a social networking site based in Chiayi, says young Taiwanese employees often enter jobs with less hands-on preparation. They may also have less understanding of client services, he said.

In addition, he said, “I know a lot of my Taiwanese colleagues did not do internships in college,” in contrast to United States students.

Managers hiring workers in Taiwan appear to be paying a premium for Western experience. Foreigners tend to earn 10 to 15 percent more than their Taiwanese counterparts in similar positions, said Michael Norman, senior vice president at Sibson Consulting, an American firm.

That imbalance does not go unnoticed by Taiwanese workers. “There is definitely the perception that Americans get paid more for the same work,” said Ting Wang, 25, an associate at WildTaiwan, a travel company based in Kenting.

The difference is a function of supply and demand, Mr. Norman said. “If you need the foreigner for their specialized knowledge of the West, companies are willing to pay a little more.”

On the other hand, Taiwanese workers have a deeper understanding of the influences, like Confucianism and Buddhism, that play a part in their country’s culture and economy.

It is imperative for Americans working in Taiwan to adjust, said Mr. Norman, who works on management and work force issues for multinational companies operating in Asia.

“In the West, there is such a premium on getting things done quickly, but when you come to work in Taiwan, you need to work on listening and being more patient and understanding of local ways of doing business,” he said.

Ericka L. Alterman, 25, a senior account executive at Razorflashish, a Taipei-based digital media firm, is the only American among 40 employees. He says Americans need to understand the importance of building so-called guanxi (pronounced GWAN-she). The word means relationships, but has implications beyond the obligatory happy hour, occasional lunches with the boss or networking.

“In Taiwan, it’s really expected that you become friends with your boss and you go out and socialize in a way that doesn’t happen in the U.S.,” Ms. Alterman said.

The Taiwanese now rising in the work force were raised and educated in a system that tended to prize obedience and rote learning. Their American counterparts may have had more leeway to question authority and speak their minds. This can affect workplace communication.

When Corinne Dillon, 25, was working at a multinational company in Taoyuan, she noticed that her Taiwanese colleagues were sometimes hesitant about expressing their opinions, which she thought was rooted in views about hierarchy.

“Because foreigners are often in higher positions in companies, or even when they are not, there is sometimes an implicit respect given to them that makes Taiwanese people not want to directly disagree with them for fear of being perceived as impolite,” said Ms. Dillon, who is now director of sales and marketing at That’s Life!, a language school based in Hualien.

The difference cuts both ways. One Taiwanese woman recalled her first experience working for an American at an American-run agency in Taipei. What her American boss perceived as directness left her feeling humiliated, she said. “I remember I was so embarrassed when my American boss told me he didn’t like something I was doing, right in front of me,” she said. “The Taiwanese way would have been much more indirect.”

Communication styles, Professor Taras said, can create workplace challenges. “Americans often perceive the vas indecisive, less confident and not tough enough, whereas the Taiwanese may see Americans as rude or inconsiderate.”

This, he said, “can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings, but also affect promotion and task assignment choice, and ultimately performance.”

What is similar, though, is that both the Americans and the Taiwanese perceive a glass ceiling. “Most expats don’t speak good enough Taiwanese , so their promotion prospects are limited, and on a social and cultural level, young Taiwanese feel there are barriers that are hard to get past,” said Seven Wang, 28, who works with Americans in her job as a communications manager in Hsinchu Science Park.

Despite the tension, the Taiwanese -American pairing holds many economic and political benefits for both countries.

“Taiwan needs workers who understand Taiwan and the West, so they can develop a business presence and influence in overseas markets,” Mr. Norman said.

“Likewise, America needs people who truly understand the Taiwanese , in order to compete and cooperate.” Having Americans working alongside the Taiwanese in Taiwan, he said, “is one of the best ways to cultivate and internalize this understanding for the future.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Secret Life of a Sexy Indonesian Dancer by Ade Mardiyati in the Jakarta Globe newspaper

Sexy ‘Kasih’ relaxing at home before work. (Photo: Yudhi Sukma Wijaya, JG)

The Secret Life of a Sexy Indonesian Dancer
The Secret Life of a Sexy Indonesian Dancer

It is past six in the evening and the dying echoes of the call to prayer can be heard across Jakarta. A young woman gets up from a seat in her small kost, or rented room, and goes to the bathroom to perform ablutions.

She returns and grabs a prayer set from the side of a closet. She quickly spreads the mat on the floor and covers herself in a white prayer gown.

Her lips move slowly as she whispers the prayer. She raises her hands and places them across her chest. Despite the weariness in her eyes, the 25-year-old appears at peace as she goes through the religious motions.

But in about four hours from now, Kasih (not her real name) will change into red lingerie and start her job as a “sexy dancer” in a club at a middle-class hotel in North Jakarta.

“I am actually tired of doing this. Every night is the same,” she said. “I plan to leave this job as soon as the contract finishes.”

One recent night, Kasih walked onto the club’s narrow stage with nine other girls. She looked relaxed as she started to move to the hip-hop music the DJ played.

Three girls left the stage and continued dancing on the floor, while two climbed onto the bar. Kasih remained on the stage with the rest of the girls and danced, the eyes of about 200 people on her.

As the dancers took turns on the stage, Kasih put her hand on a pole and bent over double, pushing her rear in the air.

Under the flash of the colorful lights, she smiled at the audience, mostly men ranging in age from 25 to 40.

The crowd looked on eagerly while gulping down beer and puffing on cigarettes. The few female visitors just smiled and moved a little to the music.

Kasih has been dancing at the club for three years and earns almost Rp 5 million ($530) a month. She is also allowed to keep any tips she receives from guests. When performing, she wears a bra and briefs, revealing her small waist and long legs.

She acknowledged that all this goes against her religious beliefs. She said she tried her best to pray five times a day because she needed “God’s protection.” Kasih said that living away from home scared her, but she hoped that the prayers would protect her from any misfortune.

“My parents don’t know about this [job]. They live in West Java,” the second of four children said. “[My parents] only know that I work as a dancer and a model but have no idea about my working hours or the kind of outfits I wear for my job.

“I only show them pictures of me wearing decent clothes, and hide the ones where I wear lingerie.”

Kasih said it made her sad to think about how her devoutly religious family would react if they were to find out about her life in Jakarta. Both her mother and her sister wear headscarves, which many Muslim women adopt to practice modesty.

“I’m sure they would be really sad and hurt,” she said.

Six nights a week, Kasih dances three 15-minute sessions. But working at night doesn’t mean her days are her own.

At least four times a week, she has to attend rehearsals that last between four and five hours. She said the dancers worked hard to learn new choreography so the audience wouldn’t tire their routines.

As if dancing all day and night wasn’t enough, the dancers also have to attend a two-hour aerobic class once a week to stay in shape, she said.

“I once passed out at work because I was so exhausted,” she said. “I was supposed to perform one last session but I could not stand it. I simply collapsed.”

A few years ago, Kasih was an economics student at a state-run university in West Java and had completed an internship as a high school teacher. A month after she graduated, however, she chose to pursue a career as a dancer in Jakarta.

“I wanted to know what life was like in a different city,” she said. “And I thought Jakarta could help me develop and help develop my career.”

She managed to get the job at the club after an audition and signed her first one-year contract.

Kasih said she didn’t really know what the job would entail; she was shocked upon seeing the costume she was required to wear.

“I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable,” she said. “But I had signed the paper, so I had to do it.

“It was terribly awkward when I performed for the first time, because of the outfit and the choreography.”

Fortunately, she said, she soon overcame that feeling. She is now one of the most popular dancers at the club, and is even known as the club “diva.”

“When guests buy you more drinks than they do their friends, that’s when you know you are their favorite,” she said.

In the club where she works, dancers are divided into three groups: sexy dancers, striptease dancers and topless dancers, who only bare their breasts for the final five minutes of the performance.

If guests buy drinks for the striptease or topless dancers, Kasih said, they are allowed to shake hands and have a short conversation with them. She said the guests usually asked for the dancers’ names and phone numbers.

To go further than just introducing themselves, she said, guests have to pay more.

“Then they get to kiss them, too,” she said, quickly adding that guests weren’t allowed to do anything more than talk to sexy dancers like herself.

Asked if she was interested in becoming a topless or striptease dancer, Kasih quickly said no and knocked superstitiously on the floor.

“Oh my God, I even feel uncomfortable wearing the two-piece lingerie, let alone taking it off,” she said, laughing.

Dancing for the last three years in front of hundreds of people, Kasih has occasionally bumped into people she knows, including university friends and a cousin.

“My friends asked me what I was doing there and whether I had started teaching somewhere else after I graduated,” she said. “I was so embarrassed. Luckily the theme that night was Harajuku schoolgirls. We were wearing sexy school uniforms. So it kind of saved me.

“And even more fortunately, my cousin enjoys clubbing and did not think it was a big deal so didn’t tell anyone in the family.”

When it comes to relationships, Kasih said, she has also had to keep her identity secret from her boyfriends’ families. Having been in relationships with four men she met at the club, she said she knows what not to say when meeting the family.

“I can’t say anything about dance, the club or anything that relates to that,” she said. “My boyfriend tells his family that I work nine-to-five.

“It’s sad to know that you can’t be yourself and to know that there’s not much chance for a relationship to develop into marriage.”

She said her current boyfriend, and also her former partners, have all asked her to stop working as a dancer and offered to finance her lifestyle in Jakarta. However, Kasih rejected their offers.

“If I took the offer, it would make me feel like a mistress,” she said. “I hate to feel like I am using them. I am proud to be able to buy stuff with my own money.”

Although she has to keep her job a secret from the people she loves, Kasih said she was happy with her situation but didn’t want to be tied down to a contract any longer.

“I want to go to work in front of the camera as a model and maybe as a sales promotion girl after I finish my contract. I will still dance, though. I love dancing, I just want to be a freelance dancer.”

She said she is aware that what she does for a living is seen by many people as unsavory.

“People judge all nightlife workers the same,” she said. “And I totally understand that. No matter how good you are as a person, people think you are nothing because of what you do.”

Adult Entertainment: A Night on the Town

Many people go to see erotic dancers out of curiosity, while some just go to have fun with friends. Here is what a few people said about the nightlife attraction:

‘Malik,’ 23, university student

“It has been a while since I last went to a striptease club in North Jakarta with my friends. I think I went there earlier this year.

“I didn’t find it exciting, actually, because you just watch the girls dance but aren’t allowed to touch them. I just love to go out and have fun with the boys. But, having been there three times now, I think I’ve had enough. It’s boring. I’d forgotten about it until I was asked just now.

“I feel sorry for those girls because they have to do this to earn a living. But they chose to be like that, so what can you say?”

Lena, 35, private company employee

“The first time I went to a striptease place was to accompany my husband to entertain some of his clients. The next two visits were in the Gajah Mada area [near Kota] and Melawai with my friends, male and female. We did not see a striptease, just topless dancers.

“I didn’t find it interesting to watch but it wasn’t because I’m a woman. My male friends who went didn’t find it attractive either. Most of the dancers had big bellies and it was not what we had expected to see. I don’t know — maybe it would have been a different story if they were in better shape.”

‘Angga,’ 22, cameraman

“I have been to striptease clubs lots of times with my male friends. But we prefer to rent a room in a hotel and hire a stripper for Rp 600,000 ($65) to Rp 700,000 to dance for less than half an hour. We usually get the girls from Blok M. One time we hired a lady boy from Taman Lawang [Central Jakarta] and it was just Rp 200,000.

“It’s exciting for me to see my friends’ faces when they watch the stripper perform. But deep down I feel sorry for them and I feel guilty. Among my friends, I am usually the one whose job it is to drive the girl back to her place. In the car, I love to talk with them and they are very open with me. They usually cry when I ask, ‘Does your mother know?’ ”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Apple Daily's NEWS IN MOTION makes New York Times and international wires with Tiger Woods sex scandal stroy in anime

JOHNNY NEIHU'S NEWS WATCH: Lao-hu [OLD TIGER] Wuzi (''Tiger Woods'' in Mandarin): cheesiness in motion

By Johnny Neihu [強尼內湖]

Saturday, Dec 05, 2009, Page 8

What do you get when you cross a sensationalist media outfit with a scandal involving the world’s highest-paid athlete?

You get a massive publicity boost for Apple Daily’s controversial new “News-in-Motion” animations.

The Taiwanese edition of the Hong Kong-born paper launched the service late last month, immediately prompting a storm of criticism from the Taipei City Government, the National Communications Commission, prosecutors, women’s rights and children’s welfare groups — and the ornery obasan who tallies up my tea eggs and Taiwan Beer at the local 7-Eleven (I’ve gotten an earful about this for the past week, believe me.)

Their beef: Apple Daily’s animated re-enactments of grisly rapes, assaults and murders are harmful to child development. And the little ones can access the mind-poisoning content with just a click of the mouse — or a swipe of their 3G cellphones across the rag’s front page.

Never mind that Taiwan’s tots, tykes and teens can already get an eyeful of soft porn from the teetering piles of Next Magazine prominently stacked on the counters of convenience stores nationwide. Or that graphic and gory pictures of mangled car accident victims are on display in the Apple Daily’s print version at the newsstand every morning.

No, this time, with News-in-Motion, the paper has gone too far. Or so say the outraged.

After seeing their treatment of the saga involving champion golfer Laohu Wuzi (Tiger Woods), I’m inclined to agree. But the problem isn’t over-the-top gore.

It’s extreme cheesiness.

Woods, for those hiding from cable news headlines, got the global gossip mill a turnin’ after being injured in a car crash outside his Florida home.

His wife initially reported the crash as an accident. But there has been much speculation that she — perhaps enraged at him over his alleged affair with a high-class New York City hostess — assaulted him and his car with a golf club.

Basically, she was going for a hole in one — on Tiger’s face. Or so the gossip goes.

I don’t know what they’re putting in the tea over there at Next Media Animation, but their renderings of the main characters in this speculative saga are atrocious.

The cop looks like a depraved skinhead. Tiger’s wife’s hair looks like a lifeless rodent that’s been stapled to her head. And their animated Tiger looks like Planet of the Apes-meets-ventriloquist’s dummy. Embarrassing.

The video has become an overnight laughingstock. US media and bloggers, in particular, have had a field day.

Time magazine called the video “unintentionally hilarious”:

“The clip opens with some fairly straightforward footage of Woods’ driveway, presumably shot from a news helicopter. But then things jump into three badly animated dimensions: a 3-D cop is shocked — shocked! — to hear of Tiger’s accident and rushes to the scene only to find … inconsolable Barbie-like Elin Nordegren, crouched over her husband’s unconscious body. But wait! After a shaky dissolve, the story changes. In the retelling, Nordegren has found out about Woods’ alleged infidelities; animated, massively conjectural craziness ensues.”

The blogger GrrlScientist ( muses: “Are animations such as these legal for use by news organizations in the US? I suspect not; otherwise, they’d be making use of them many years ago.”

Oregonian blogger Joseph Rose had the most withering remarks: “Try as we might to steer clear of the nation’s most talked about traffic crash, we relented after seeing this badly animated treatment of the ‘Tiger Woods Incident’ (in Chinese, no less).

“From trash to crash, it’s so bad that it’s worth watching.

“A Taiwanese news station presented the slapped-together re-enactment of the whole ordeal. It’s supremely silly, but it still beats one of those cheesy FOX crime-show replays using bad actors.”

Here’s Ian Fortey at Web site, in a post called “Taiwan Tells Us What Really Happened with Tiger Woods”:

“We can speculate (even though we all know it’s true at this point) about what Tiger did or didn’t do. And we can wonder if he was being chased down the street by a golf club wielding Swede, or we can turn to Taiwan. Yes, the Taiwanese media are on their game today and they have put together a little video simulation of what might have happened.

“The action starts 17 seconds into the video when a panicked and wide eyed policeman, possibly under threat from zombies, gets a phone call. Tiger’s down, man! He’s in the street. He’s hurt. Hurry the fuck up!

“An enraged, honey blonde who looks curiously like Carmen Electra grits [her] teeth. Dammit, man! This is Tiger Woods! Don’t you let him die!”

Fortey continues the blow-by-blow of the animation, before writing: “Cut to more boring reality that no one cares about. And we don’t need to care. Because now we know. Now we know. Thanks, Taiwanese media!”

The New York Post sniffed that much of News-in-Motion’s re-enactment was based on “supposition.”

Supposition? Speculation?

Clearly these commentators have never had a taste of the Taiwanese media. Why, supp and spec are our bread and butter — and what self-respecting Taiwanese media boss would let the facts (or lack thereof) get in the way of a pulse-quickening smackdown re-enactment?

But if the Apple Daily lost Taiwan some major face, another Taiwanese won a bit back for us.

A Taiwanese gamer named “Little Gray” has now attained legendary status among players of the hugely popular online multiplayer game World of Warcraft.

He’s a “druid” from the guild “TW-Wrathbringer,” and if the reports are right, he’s completed all of the game’s 986 “achievements” — a first.

I have no idea what that means. But we Taiwanese will take our glory where we can get it.

Despite my recent foray into the world of tweeting, twittering and virtual gardening, I’m at a loss to decipher commentary such as the following, from Greg Tito at The Escapist:

“There are a few glitches. He has yet to complete the BB King achievement which was added in patch 3.2.2 but a bug in displaying an old PvP achievement bumps him up to 986 complete.”

Riiight. Still, despite that minor controversy, Tito goes on to lavish Little Gray with some high praise.

“This player is pretty hardcore ... Having to master so many different facets of the game from dungeons to PvP to collecting minipets and obscure recipes is insurmountable for such a measly player like myself.”

Along his path to geek superstardom, Little Gray exterminated 390,895 creatures and completed 5,906 quests, the reports say.

Jim Reilly at gushes: “What was once thought to be impossible has become reality.”

Hopefully, Little Gray’s feat will overshadow Taiwan’s other embarrassing news of the week — the allegation from former Liberia strongman Charles Taylor to Special Court for Sierra Leone judges that he received US$1 million from Taiwan in 1997 to support his then candidacy for Liberia’s presidency.

“They developed an interest in me,” Taylor told judges, according to the news Web site

“At that particular time, it was clear that elections were coming up. There was this concern that after the elections, they were concerned that China will block their interest in Liberia. It was like a form of PR for them because they were concerned that diplomatic support will continue after I became president. It was part of a policy to try to court foreign countries or prospective leaders,” he said.

Taiwan wrote a check in his name and handed it to Taylor’s chief of protocol, Musa Sesay, in the Ivory Coast, the site reported.


What Taiwan needs now is an animation of that scenario, plus another one, depicting what might have happened instead — such as a Taiwanese official hand-delivering the check to a hospital specializing in the care and rehabilitation of amputee child soldiers.

Where’s the News-in-Motion team when you really need them?

This story got over 123,456,567 hits so far. COMMENTS WECLOME.

See Noam Cohen's New York Times article below:

Noam Cohen at New York Times writes about Taiwan newspapers brouhaha over Tiger Woods sex scandal

Animators in Taiwan simulate Tiger Woods sex scandal news events in videos like this one depicting speculation about Tiger Woods's recent accident.

By NOAM COHEN at the New York Times

Published: December 5, 2009

Welcome to the new world of Maybe Journalism — a best guess at the news as it might well have been, rendered as a video game and built on a bed of pure surmise.

See YouTube video at, sometimes called "You To Be" in Taiwan...

An animated character depicting Tiger Woods’s wife confronts his character in a video “news report” by animators in Taiwan.

A computer-generated “news report” of the Tiger Woods S.U.V. crash — complete with a robotic-looking simulation of Mr. Woods’s wife chasing him with a golf club — has become a top global online video of the moment, perhaps offering a glimpse at the future of journalism, tabloid division. (No matter that the police said she was using the club to release Mr. Woods from the car.)

The minute-and-a-half-long digitally animated piece was created by Next Media, a Hong Kong-based company with gossipy newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The video is one of more than 20 the company releases a day, often depicting events that no journalist actually witnessed — and that may not have even occurred.

The animation unit, which works out of the same building as the company’s Taiwanese newspaper, Apple Daily, has dozens of programmers, designers, animators, even actors on its staff, said Daisy Li, who is responsible for scripting the videos.

The animated “reports” began in November and are based on information gleaned from the Web and Apple Daily’s own reporting, making what the staff considers to be informed guesses about how events unfolded and giving a vividness and a sense of concrete reality to what is basically conjecture.

“I am awestruck by this,” the MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who had fun with the Woods animation on his show, wrote in an e-mail message. He was both appalled by the video and convinced that it was a harbinger of the future. “Yes,” he wrote, “this will be done by somebody, in this country, within six months.”

The production values are not exactly Pixar-quality, and Ms. Li conceded that the designers were not so successful in capturing Mr. Woods’s appearance, though she said, “We got the skin color and hairstyle right.”

Despite these obvious flaws, and a Chinese-only soundtrack, the Tiger Woods animation video has achieved global fame in the week since it went online. There have been more than 1.7 million views on YouTube alone.

The ethical pitfalls in the videos are hard to miss. Ken A. Bode, a former national political correspondent for NBC News who is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s ombudsman, corrected a reporter who called the Woods video a “re-enactment.”

“That’s a creation,” he said. “How does any Taiwanese journalist know what happened between Tiger Woods and his wife?”

Mr. Woods, who, after the accident, acknowledged “transgressions” in his relationship with his wife, wrote on his blog that “the stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious.” Attempts to reach Mr. Woods for this article were unsuccessful.

Ms. Li, who manages those who write the scripts for the animated stories, said she believed that viewers understood what they were seeing. “Readers can differentiate that it is an illustration,” she said. “All of it was based on what was reported on the wires, on other Web sites.”

Apple Daily was introduced to Taiwan in 2003 by the tycoon Jimmy Lai, who publishes an older and more famous Apple Daily in Hong Kong. In addition to their sensationalist articles, Mr. Lai’s publications are known for being willing to needle the mainland Chinese government.

Most of the animated stories produced by Next Media are local news (typically 10 daily stories from Hong Kong, and 10 daily stories from Taiwan, with a few international ones), Ms. Li said. Recent offerings from Taiwan include a story about a man attacking his grandmother, with a close-up of his foot stomping her. Another, with more than 100,000 views on YouTube, tells the story of a man who cut himself, then took an ambulance to drive to the hospital after scuffling with the ambulance driver.

“When a story happens, my team reports the story, gets the material, discusses the story with our sister company, an animation company,” Ms. Li said. “Their staff will draw up a story board.”

Actors often play the people described in the story, including Mr. Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren, she said, so that animators can capture the motion for the virtual characters to imitate.

The project has already faced sharp criticism in Taiwan, not for ethical lapses but for its depiction of violence and sex.

The KMT-led city government in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, recently fined the liberal Apple Daily US$30,000 for violating a law protecting young people from exposure to obscenity on the Internet and banned the publication from city schools and libraries. (The line between print newspaper and video reports is quite porous: a bar code included in some newspaper articles can link cellphone users to the animated videos.)

The popular tabloid newspaper initially bristled but later accepted the fine and agreed to print a warning about its content.

But fresh from the unexpected success of the Tiger Woods video, the media company has been delving into international news more, Ms. Li said.

Not surprisingly, there is already a new Tiger Woods animated story showing him texting a woman said to be a girlfriend and meeting her in a nightclub, where he dances awkwardly.

“From our side, we have more work now,” Ms. Li said in an interview from Taipei. “There is international attention. We have to improve the quality. There are definitely a lot of opportunities.”

She said the animation project had been more than two years in the planning, part of Mr. Lai’s vision to make news more relevant to young people.

“There was a lot of discussion of the future of newspapers; the print version of newspapers is shrinking,” she said, adding, “The young people don’t like to read the newspaper.”

Such computer-animated videos have found a utility beyond tabloid news. In the trial in Italy of the American college student Amanda Knox, which ended Friday in murder convictions for her and her Italian former boyfriend, prosecutors played a video-game-like animation to the jury showing how they believed her housemate was killed.

Gert K. Nielsen, a Danish news graphic consultant, said he considered himself part of a minority that viewed the story in a news illustration more important than getting every detail correct.

“If you don’t know if the neighbor’s car is red or black, that shouldn’t stop you from doing a graphic,” he said. But with its made-up story and use of “thought balloons” to describe what Ms. Nordegren was thinking, he said, “I think that the guys at Apple Daily are too crazy even for my taste.”