Contested journalistic professionalism in China: journalists’ discourses in a time of crisis

Jing Meng, Shixin Zhang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Legacy media worldwide face challenges from both digital platforms and new media rivalries. China offers alternative views and modes of journalistic practices in response to the worldwide “professionalism” crisis. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has provided legacy media with an opportunity to reassert journalistic professionalism at a critical moment. Taking the market-oriented media outlet Caixin as a case, this study explores how Chinese journalists articulate their professional roles, values and ideals in the coverage of COVID-19. Through discourse analysis, we find that Caixin has defended its authority and legitimacy as quality journalism by incorporating “self-reflexivity” and “transparency” in their professional practices in the digital age. In response to the global journalism crisis, while Chinese state media have adopted the Marxist view, positivity and “conditioned autonomy” to counter the Western “professionalism”, market-oriented media represented by Caixin have turned inward to “reflexivity” and “transparency” as a compromising strategy in their professional conventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1962-1976
Number of pages14
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Journalistic professionalism
  • China
  • Caixin
  • reflexivity
  • Coronavirus
  • Wuhan


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