IN 2009, I HAD JUST GRADUATED from college with a degree in journalism. This was the worst time in about 80 years to graduate, and possibly the worst time in history to graduate with a journalism degree. Newspapers were closing down everywhere, and internet writing had yet to become a financially reasonable profession.
So I took an unpaid internship for the op-ed page at an English-language newspaper in Beijing. I knew that China’s record when it came to freedom of the press was a bit lackluster, and that the paper I would be working for was state-run, but I also thought it would be a cool experience, so I got on a plane and flew across the Pacific.