COVID-19 news reporting and engaging in the age of social media: Comparing Xinhua News Agency and The Paper

Zenan Chen, Xiaoge Xu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

“To follow and to be followed” has become the new normal in news communication in the age of social media. News audience follow news via social media while they are being followed by news anytime anywhere. This new normal has created a pressing need to investigate whether social media have brought any changes to both party-controlled and market-oriented news media in China in reporting crises. Comparing Xinhua News Agency (party-controlled) and The Paper (market-oriented), this study investigated how they reported COVID-19 and how their news consumers engaged with their COVID-19 news stories on Jinri Toutiao, a popular and yet special form of social media. This study found that Xinhua News Agency continued to stay overwhelmingly positive, while The Paper was more neutral in reporting the health crisis. Xinhua News Agency was surprisingly more episodic than The Paper in framing the pandemic. The Paper, however, had a higher level of user engagement than Xinhua News Agency. To cater to the changing news-seeking behaviors and patterns, both party-controlled and market-oriented news media have changed their operations, but not their fundamental orientations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-170
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Media and China
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • market-oriented
  • news frames
  • news media
  • party-controlled
  • social media
  • story tone
  • user engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication

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