Contesting legitimacy in China’s crisis communication: a framing analysis of reported social actors engaging in SARS and COVID-19

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The study provided a framing analysis of China Daily in its coverage of the SARS and COVID-19 pandemics. By understanding social actors as a particular frame element, the study introduced word-frequency-based cluster analysis as a method of corpus collection and generation for qualitative frame analysis. The study identified four main social actor groups and 14 news frames during the two pandemics. The discursive centrality of the Chinese government among other social actors from China Daily and the persistent positive portrait of the government’s institutional performance under the responsibility-solution frame is discussed. The results imply that China’s crisis communication did not experience much change from reporting SARS to reporting COVID-19. In particular, the drop in frame diversity and the focus on information uniformity in reporting the pandemic may have limited the effectiveness of the Chinese news media in accessing international awareness and contributing to the global meaning construction of the unfolding crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-204
Number of pages23
JournalChinese Journal of Communication
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chinese government
  • Crisis communication
  • framing analysis
  • legitimacy
  • pandemic
  • social actors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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