The image of China in three U.S. newspapers from 1989-1996



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Texas Tech University


Several studies concerned with international news have made negative implications about international news coverage by American newspapers. For example, it has been shown that major American newspapers' coverage of intemational news is strongly oriented toward conflict (Riffe & Shaw, 1982).

China, considered by some to be a Third World country (Todaro. 1989), has been superficially and inaccurately illustrated through the standpoint of some joumalists in certain Western news media (Sun. 1984). Stories do not give an accurate portrayal of China because reporters and editors do not choose topics reflecting all aspects of China but rather those aspects focusing on violence and disasters. For example, if reporters focus more on negative news such as wars, conflicts, disasters, accidents, crimes, violence, and social problems, the image of China will be more negative. On the other hand, if reporters emphasize more positive news such as achievements, improvements, social progress, developments, inventiveness, and high employment, the image of China will be more positive. As a result, readers constmct a superficial and inaccurate image of China through the eyes of these correspondents.