This chapter introduces a new approach to studying the Chinese newspaper in the first half of the twentieth century. It calls into question a scholarly assumption that newspapers in modern China were made and read for specific purposes. Rather, it argues that the newspaper was used by its consumers in highly diverse ways, beyond journalists’ control. The necessity of newspapers to appeal to the maximal readership to reap profits and/or to fulfill a moral–political obligation of serving the public contributed to undermining intellectual-journalists’ effort to turn the press into an exclusive forum of political discourses. The newspaper thus remained an elusive institution that defied arbitrary classification until the Communist Party succeeded in transforming it into a “complete” party organ after the 1940s.