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Examining Journalists' Blogs and Their Implications for Journalism in Mainland China

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022226/00001

Material Information

Title: Examining Journalists' Blogs and Their Implications for Journalism in Mainland China A Content Analysis of Journalists' Blogs on Chinese Newspaper Websites
Physical Description: 1 online resource (98 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Gao, Fangfang
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: blog, china, format, gender, hyperlink, interactivity, multimedia, region, topic
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Journalists' blogs (j-blogs) are a novel journalistic format emerging in China. This study examined the content of j-blog posts on Chinese newspaper websites to gain insight into the general development of j-blogs in Mainland China. Topic, format, hyperlinks and multimedia such as video, audio and pictures, as well as the interactivity of j-blogs on Chinese newspaper websites were analyzed. The differences in j-blogs from three different geographic regions of Mainland China and the differences in j-blogs written by different genders were investigated as well. Content analysis was conducted to study j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China and investigate their implications for journalism in China. Frequency analysis, chi-square analysis, one-way ANOVA analysis and Pearson's correlation analysis were used for the study. The data showed that the most often addressed topics in Chinese j-blogs were lifestyle, politics/government/military, crime/accidents/disasters, and business/economic activity. The most frequently adopted formats in Chinese j-blogs were the straight opinion column, the rumor-mill blog, and reporter's notebook of news tidbits and incidentals. The format of j-blog posts varied by topic. The topic and format of j-blogs differed by geographic regions and genders. Moreover, the study showed that there was interactivity between readers and journalists in j-blogs in China through reader comments and j-bloggers' responses. Significant main effects of topic, format, region and gender were found on the number of reader comments. J-blog posts with more reader comments also had more j-bloggers' responses. Gender and format were revealed to influence the frequency of j-bloggers' responses. In addition, Chinese j-bloggers have started to use hyperlinks and pictures to convey stories. Yet video and audio remain untapped resource for j-blogs in China. Topic, format, region and gender were found to exert influences on the use of hyperlinks and multimedia features. Correlations among reader comments, j-bloggers' responses, onsite hyperlinks, videos, and pictures were found. These findings indicated that journalists' blogs, as an alternative media and a new format of journalism, have been enhancing the two-way communication flow between readers and journalists and building an evolving media environment in China, which may further affect the journalism landscape.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Fangfang Gao.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: McAdams, Melinda J.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022226:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022226/00001

Material Information

Title: Examining Journalists' Blogs and Their Implications for Journalism in Mainland China A Content Analysis of Journalists' Blogs on Chinese Newspaper Websites
Physical Description: 1 online resource (98 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Gao, Fangfang
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: blog, china, format, gender, hyperlink, interactivity, multimedia, region, topic
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Journalists' blogs (j-blogs) are a novel journalistic format emerging in China. This study examined the content of j-blog posts on Chinese newspaper websites to gain insight into the general development of j-blogs in Mainland China. Topic, format, hyperlinks and multimedia such as video, audio and pictures, as well as the interactivity of j-blogs on Chinese newspaper websites were analyzed. The differences in j-blogs from three different geographic regions of Mainland China and the differences in j-blogs written by different genders were investigated as well. Content analysis was conducted to study j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China and investigate their implications for journalism in China. Frequency analysis, chi-square analysis, one-way ANOVA analysis and Pearson's correlation analysis were used for the study. The data showed that the most often addressed topics in Chinese j-blogs were lifestyle, politics/government/military, crime/accidents/disasters, and business/economic activity. The most frequently adopted formats in Chinese j-blogs were the straight opinion column, the rumor-mill blog, and reporter's notebook of news tidbits and incidentals. The format of j-blog posts varied by topic. The topic and format of j-blogs differed by geographic regions and genders. Moreover, the study showed that there was interactivity between readers and journalists in j-blogs in China through reader comments and j-bloggers' responses. Significant main effects of topic, format, region and gender were found on the number of reader comments. J-blog posts with more reader comments also had more j-bloggers' responses. Gender and format were revealed to influence the frequency of j-bloggers' responses. In addition, Chinese j-bloggers have started to use hyperlinks and pictures to convey stories. Yet video and audio remain untapped resource for j-blogs in China. Topic, format, region and gender were found to exert influences on the use of hyperlinks and multimedia features. Correlations among reader comments, j-bloggers' responses, onsite hyperlinks, videos, and pictures were found. These findings indicated that journalists' blogs, as an alternative media and a new format of journalism, have been enhancing the two-way communication flow between readers and journalists and building an evolving media environment in China, which may further affect the journalism landscape.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Fangfang Gao.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: McAdams, Melinda J.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022226:00001


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c3261a37dd68e9ad33fb049c703e4187f4abb6ab







EXAMINING JOURNALISTS' BLOGS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR JOURNALISM
IN MAINLAND CHINA: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF JOURNALISTS' BLOGS ON
CHINESE NEW SPAPER WEB SITES



















By

FANGFANG GAO


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008
































O 2008 Fangfang Gao































To my dear parents









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I acknowledge with gratitude the help, support, and patience of Melinda McAdams, my

advisor, and Kim Walsh-Childers as well as Renee Martin-Kratzer, my committee members.

Over the past two years, my understanding of j oumalism and thinking on new media have

greatly benefited from the insight and wisdom of my committee members as well as some other

professors in the College of Joumnalism and Communications.

Professor Melinda McAdams, my committee chair who opened the door of new media

study for me, was such a knowledgeable and dedicated instructor that gave me invaluable help

for my thesis and enlightened me on my interested academic area. Her endless aspirations toward

life and research motivate my future life. Dr. Kim Walsh-Childers was my first mentor who

directed and supported my voyage in the realm of joumalism study in the U. S. She sincerely

understood my struggles as an international student and helped me to overcome barriers in

pursuing my graduate study. Dr. Renee Martin-Kratzer generously shared her wealth of

knowledge in methodology with me and offered me from time to time great suggestions on the

design and analysis of this research. She spared no time and effort in leading me through the

whole research process. I would like to thank all of them for the help and guidance in bringing

my thesis into being as a nice ending of my master' s study.

My parents, although thousands of miles away, provided me immense support, both

spiritually and Einancially, so that I cannot even find proper words to express my appreciation.

With their deep faith in their only daughter, I would continue challenging myself and live a

confident life.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....


LI ST OF T ABLE S ................. ...............7..____ ......


LI ST OF AB BREVIAT IONS ........._.._ ..... .___ ...............9.....


AB S TRAC T ............._. .......... ..............._ 10...


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............12.......... ......


2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................. ...............16................


Blogs and Journalism............... ...............1
Blogs ................. ........... .. ...............16......
Influence of Blogs on Journalism ................. ...............17........... ...
Journalists' Blogs .................... ...............19.
Blogs and Journalists' Blogs in China............... ...............23.
Gatekeeping in Journalists' Blogs .............. ...............26....
Gatekeeping Theory ................. ... ...............26.
New Gatekeeping in Journalists' Blogs .............. ...............28....
Variances of Different Geographic Regions in China ................. ............... ......... ...29
Gender and Journalists' Blogs ................. ...............30................
Gender Theory .................. ...............30.................
Influence of Gender on Blogs............... ...............33.
Research Questions............... ...............3


3 METHODOLOGY .............. ...............35....


Population ................. ................ ...............35.......
Sample and Sampling Method ................. ...............36................
V ariables ............... .. ................. ...............38.......
Coders and Intercoder Reliability ................. ...............38................


4 RE SULT S ................. ...............41.......... .....


Topic and Format............... ...............41.
Reader Comments............... ...............46
J-bloggers' Responses .............. ...............50....
Hyperlinks and Multimedia ................. ...............52................

5 DI SCUS SSION ................. ...............6.. 1......... ....












Topic and Format of Chinese Journalists' Blogs............... ...............61.
Interactivity and Gatekeeping in Journalists' Blogs in China .............. .....................6
Hyperlinks and Multimedia in Chinese Journalists' Blogs .............. ...............71....

6 CONCLU SION............... ...............7


Limitations and Future Research ................. ...............75...___ .....
Conclusion and Final Thoughts .........__. ............ ...............76....

APPENDIX


A CONTENT ANALYSIS CODE BOOK ....__. ................. ...............79. ....


B CODING SHEET .............. ...............87....


LIST OF REFERENCES ........._._.. ......._.. ...............90....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........._..... ...............98..___.........










LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1 Frequency of j-blog posts across topics and format ................. ................ ......... .41

4-2 Crosstabulation of topic and format for j -blog posts ........... ..... ..__ ................. 42

4-3 Crosstabulation of j-blog topics by geographic regions .............. ....................4

4-4 Crosstabulation of j -blog topics by gender ...........__.......___.....__ ..........4

4-5 Crosstabulation of j-blog formats by geographic regions ....._____ .... ... .. ..............44

4-6 Crosstabulation of j-blog formats by gender .........__ ....... ___ .....__ ..........4

4-7 Frequency of reader comments in j -blog posts in China ...........__.......__ ..............46

4-8 Proportion of reader comments for j-blog posts among topics.. ................ ................ ..47

4-9 Proportion of reader comments for j -blog posts among formats ..............._ ................ .47

4-10 Proportion of reader comments for j-blog posts among regions.. ................ ................. 48

4-11 Proportion of reader comments for j -blog posts between genders ................. ................48

4-12 Mean number of reader comments among topics ................. ...............48 ............

4-13 Mean number of reader comments among formats ..............._ ......... ............... ...49

4-14 Mean number of reader comments among geographic regions ................ ............... ...50

4-15 Mean number of reader comments between genders ........ ................. ................ 50

4-16 Frequency of j-bloggers' responses in posts with one or more reader comments .............51

4-17 Mean number of j-bloggers' responses among formats ................. .........................52

4-18 Mean number of j-bloggers' responses between genders ................ ................ ...._.52

4-19 Frequency of onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks and pictures in j -blog posts ...............53

4-20 Mean number of offsite hyperlinks among topics .............. ...............54....

4-21 Mean number of offsite hyperlink among geographic regions ................. ............... ....55

4-22 Mean number of picture among geographic regions ................. ................ ...........55

4-23 Mean number of onsite hyperlinks across genders ................ ............... ......... ...56











4-24 Mean number of onsite hyperlinks across formats .............. ...............56....

4-25 Mean number of offsite hyperlinks across formats................. ...............5

4-26 Mean number of pictures across formats ................. ...............57........... ..

4-27 Correlations among hyperlinks, multimedia, reader comments and responses .................59









LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS


J-blog J-blog is an abbreviation of the j ournalist' s blog, which is an online diary
or j journal maintained by a journalist to post news or commentary on
issues that are being reported and to interact with their readers.

J-blogger J-blogger is an abbreviation of journalist blogger, who is a j oumalist and a
blogger at the same time. Briefly speaking, journalist bloggers are those
journalists maintaining blogs on the Intemet.









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication

EXAMINING JOURNALISTS' BLOGS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR JOURNALISM
IN MAINLAND CHINA: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF JOURNALISTS' BLOGS ON
CHINESE NEWSPAPER WEB SITES

By

Fangfang Gao

August 2008

Chair: Melinda McAdams
Major: Mass Communication

Journalists' blogs (j-blogs) are a novel journalistic format emerging in China. This study

examined the content of j-blog posts on Chinese newspaper websites to gain insight into the

general development of j -blogs in Mainland China. Topic, format, hyperlinks and multimedia

such as video, audio and pictures, as well as the interactivity of j-blogs on Chinese newspaper

websites were analyzed. The differences in j -blogs from three different geographic regions of

Mainland China and the differences in j -blogs written by different genders were investigated as

well.

Content analysis was conducted to study j -blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China

and investigate their implications for j ournalism in China. Frequency analysis, Chi-square

analysis, one-way ANOVA analysis and Pearson's correlation analysis were used for the study.

The data showed that the most often addressed topics in Chinese j -blogs were lifestyle,

politics/government/military, crime/accidents/di sasters, and business/economic activity. The

most frequently adopted formats in Chinese j-blogs were the straight opinion column, the rumor-

mill blog, and reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals. The format of j-blog posts

varied by topic. The topic and format of j-blogs differed by geographic regions and genders.










Moreover, the study showed that there was interactivity between readers and j oumalists in j -

blogs in China through reader comments and j -bloggers' responses. Significant main effects of

topic, format, region and gender were found on the number of reader comments. J-blog posts

with more reader comments also had more j -bloggers' responses. Gender and format were

revealed to influence the frequency of j-bloggers' responses. In addition, Chinese j-bloggers have

started to use hyperlinks and pictures to convey stories. Yet video and audio remain untapped

resource for j -blogs in China. Topic, format, region and gender were found to exert influences on

the use of hyperlinks and multimedia features. Correlations among reader comments, j -bloggers'

responses, onsite hyperlinks, videos, and pictures were found. These findings indicated that

j journalists' blogs, as an alternative media and a new format of joumalism, have been enhancing

the two-way communication flow between readers and j journalists and building an evolving

media environment in China, which may further affect the journalism landscape.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Journalism is gradually evolving into a new period as the Internet and related

technologies develop. As has been true through human history, from the telegraph to television,

the advent of new communication technology and its adoption by mass media are bringing

significant challenges to prevailing j oumalistic practices. So it does today with the spread of the

Internet, which is forcing traditional newspapers to rethink how to practice journalism.

The Internet has increased the speed and comprehensiveness of joumalism, helping the

public to access a wide range of news and information with great convenience and at very low

cost (Reese, Rutigliano, Hyun, & Jeong, 2007). The past decade has witnessed the rise of

Intemet news, which might directly or indirectly cut into newspaper use (Kaye & Johnson, 2003).

However, the growth of the Intemet also provides unprecedented opportunities for newspapers to

extend their abilities in news gathering, news delivery and bonding with communities.

Realizing the trends in the new media age, journalists and newspapers have begun to

adapt themselves to the environment and get involved in the Internet world. By taking advantage

of new media technologies like the World Wide Web, podcasting and blogs, they are moving

away from their traditional models of news reporting and introducing more flexible news

products. They have been engaged in online j ournalism, delivering information over the Intemet,

employing multimedia formats to cover news stories and offering more opportunities for

interaction with readers. One increasingly popular part of online journalism today is journalists'

blogs, or so-called j-blogs.

J-blogs are online diaries or j ournals maintained by j oumalists to post news or

commentary on issues they are reporting on and to interact with their readers. J-blogs can be

used to disseminate information and host conversations, which meet the journalists' need to










publish news and the demand of readers who are no longer satisfied with solely being informed.

Through posting comments on j -blogs, readers can provide their own knowledge and

perspectives on the issues reported in the j -blogs. Hence a more comprehensive version of truth

is presented, which combines both journalists' definitions of facts and readers' understandings of

what is going on (Matheson, 2004). Also, the employment of multimedia formats, like video,

audio and hyperlinks, in j -blogs adds more interest to j -blogs, making them more attractive to

readers.

Globally, j -blogs are developing rapidly over all the continents, from America to Europe,

from Australia to Asia. China is involved in this new trend, too. Blogging has begun to gain

popularity in China since 2002, when blogs were first introduced into China and spread very

quickly (CNNIC, 2006). J-blogs represent a unique news format compared with traditional news

outlets in China, and they have begun to gain popularity among readers. In fact, as the number of

blogs in China has increased exponentially, the past three years have witnessed a rapid growth of

j -blogs in Mainland China (CNNIC, 2006). More and more, newspapers as well as j journalists

have been investing their efforts in developing j-blogs.

Generally, as is true for any other Chinese news organization, newspapers in China are

state-owned. During its initial period (1950s-1970s), the government subsidized all media

operations, including newspapers (Akhavan-Majid, 2004). The main tasks for newspapers in

China at that time were to propagate the policies of the Communist Party, to educate the masses,

to organize the masses, and to mobilize the masses (Bishop, 1989). Later, during China' s

economic reform in the 1980s, governmental subsidies were cut and "multi-channel financing"

was introduced to media. Pushed into the market, newspapers had to participate in competition

for readership, advertising, sponsorship, and other forms of financing. In addition, China' s










Property Rights Reform in the late 1970s separated economic rights from legal rights over state-

owned property. As a result, the Chinese government prevented a complete privatization of

newspapers by maintaining legal ownership, although they granted newspaper managers rights

and responsibilities to generate profits by using media resources. Therefore, profit has become a

necessity and the bottom line for newspapers to survive. The party lines are the prerequisite for

the very existence of Chinese newspapers (Yin, 2006, p. 35).

As the Internet develops in China, there are more and more Internet users. According to

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) estimates, there were 137 million Chinese

Internet users at the end of 2006, 165 million by mid-2007, and a whopping 210 million by the

beginning of 2008 (Fallows, 2008). More than a third (3 7.8%) of users claimed setting news

information as their maj or goal for accessing the Internet (CNNIC, 2005), which makes the

Intemet an important frontier in which newspapers must compete. Many newspapers began to

start their own newspaper websites and create many news products online for readers, making

every effort to attract online readers. J-blogs are part of that effort.

As an innovative news product, j -blogs have extended traditional notions of the

mainstream newspaper to the online world and created a new sphere of journalism in China,

which may exert great influence on the future of the media landscape. The topics, formats, use of

hyperlinks, inclusion of multimedia and interactivity in j -blogs, as well as their j ournalism

implications in China, are all of great concern to readers, news organizations, j oumalists and

researchers. However, the research in this field is quite limited.

The purpose of this study was to gain insight into Chinese j -blogs running on newspaper

websites, analyzing their main topics, formats and other characteristics in terms of interactivity

between readers and journalists, hyperlinks and multimedia usage, examining the differences in










j-blogs in association with geographic regions and genders and discovering the potential

implications of j-blogs for j ournalism in China.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Blogs and Journalism

Blogs

Weblogs, or blogs, began as often highly personal online periodical diaries, posted by

individuals in reverse chronological order, telling stories, welcoming comment and sometimes

offering hyperlinks (Deuze, 2003). While the technology behind blogs has been around since the

early 1990s, blogs began to gain popularity in the late 1990s (Blood, 2005). Today, blogs have

been developed into online columns including text, pictures, sound files, video clips, etc. Blogs

can be constructed and updated by one or more bloggers on a regular basis and may feature

storytelling, commentary, hyperlinks and conversations (Blood, 2005; Hass, 2005; Hewitt, 2005;

Matheson, 2004).

According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Proj ect (2005), more and

more American adults are creating, reading or posting comments on blogs. The Pew Internet

proj ect began to ask about blog creation in the spring of 2002. In June 2002, they found that 3%

of Internet users said they had created a blog. By the beginning of 2004, the figure had grown to

5% of Internet users. Their survey in late November 2004 showed that 7% of the 120 million

U.S. adults who use the Internet said they had created a blog, which represents more than 8

million people. In addition, blog readership shot up 58% in 2004. Twenty-seven percent of

Internet users said they read blogs. More than one in ten Internet users (12%) said they had

posted comments or other materials on others' blogs, which represents more than 14 million

people, a threefold increase from April 2003, when the Pew Internet proj ect first estimated the

number of those who contribute to others' blogs. Blogs have established themselves as an

important part of online culture. This is true in China, too, because there are increasing numbers









of bloggers as well as blogs in China now. By the end of November 2007, the number of blogs in

China has reached 72.82 million with 47 million bloggers, which was comprised of a quarter of

all the Chinese Internet users (CNNIC, December 2007).

From the opinionated to the informational, blogs cover a wide range of topics and styles,

consisting of"news that is happening now almost in real time not filtered, edited, or delay

delivered, as with traditional media" (Wendland, 2003, p. 94). It becomes a "personal publishing

system" that allows anyone in minutes to have access to a worldwide audience (Wendland, 2003,

p. 94). Anyone can publish at any time and gain readers "in relation to their talent, their

relevance and, ultimately, their accuracy, regardless of their credentials" (Weintraub, 2003, p.

58). Individuals "play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, sorting, analyzing and

disseminating news and information--a task once reserved almost exclusively to the news

media" (Lasica, 2003, p. 71). In this sense, blogs represent a democratization of journalism.

Along with the characteristic of open participation, two-way communication is another

important symbol of the democracy in blogs. Readers, a key component in the blogosphere

today, are no longer satisfied with merely being informed by the traditional media. Blogs

facilitate a decentralized, bottom-up approach to news reporting by helping readers discard their

traditional role as passive consumers of news and become active partners in news production

(Gillmor, 2004; Matheson, 2004). And with the opportunity to comment on any individual

posting, which is identified by a unique URL (Schmidt, 2007), readers routinely serve as sources

and co-authors of the blogs. Journalism becomes a process in which news stories are crafted

through the interactions between bloggers and readers.

Influence of Blogs on Journalism

Blogs, which are evolving as time and broadband capabilities advance, might inherently be

a form of journalism (Robinson, 2006). They can be maintained either by ordinary people as









stand-alone blogs or by professional journalists as journalists' blogs. With the increasing status

of individual bloggers, who assert that they truly represent the unfiltered voices of audiences

who have been disenfranchised by mainstream media and yearn to be heard (Lowrey, 2006), the

blogosphere has gained greater power and begun to exert influence on traditional mainstream

media. For instance, in "Rathergate," bloggers' pursuit of CB S's use of forged documents in its

reporting on President Bush' s National Guard service led CBS to launch an investigation and

apologize in the end (Pein, 2005). Bloggers also played a role in the resignation of Senator Trent

Lott, who had made a racist comment publicly that was caught and kept alive by bloggers until

professional joumalists paid enough attention to it (Smolkin, 2004; Haas, 2005).

The ascendancy of blogs not only fills the holes in the traditional j ournalistic gatekeeping

process but also engages readers in news production by giving them more opportunities to

distribute information and discuss their opinion of news with journalists, hence diminishing

media' s reign of sovereignty (Lowrey, 2006). To some extent, the superiority of media are ended

due to the fact that newsgathering expert systems become available to the general public (Singer,

2003). Blogs, with a diversity of topics and styles, have become an important information source

for people. Professional journalists are now faced with a competing form of discourse, the

"diffuse, erratic, heterogeneous" articulation, which is so different from journalism's normative

foundations (Carlson, 2007, p. 275). The authority and objectivity of traditional media such as

newspapers are being challenged again and again. As shown in both Rathergate and the Trent

Lott example, bloggers are reinforcing professional responsibility on journalists to be accurate

and obj ective through close fact-checking.

Some non-j journalists' blogs that concentrate on offering news and current affairs have

established their credibility and gained popularity among readers. The line between public










journalism and personal information releases is blurred by these news-related or public-affairs-

related blogs maintained by nonprofessional journalists (Matheson, 2004). As these independent

news blogs develop, blogs, which are not necessarily written by journalists, have begun to be

identified and accepted as an innovative news format, representing reconstituted journalism with

alternative and legitimate news reporting, and becoming "part of the fabric sewn by the press"

(Robinson, 2006, p. 65).

To compete with these independent news blogs, which are attempting to bypass traditional

news (Wall, 2004), mainstream media have begun integrating blogs into their websites, with

those blogs as a recognized source of news, commentary, entertainment, and advertising today

(Kuhn, 2007). Now, blogging is becoming an established trend in traditional media. An

increasing number of mainstream publications, such as some newspapers owned by recognized

j ournalism giant The New York Times Company, have started their own j -blogs in an attempt to

retain or recapture journalism's authority. Also, there are more and more "professional

journalists' weblogs" published by news sites and listed on CyberJoumalist.net, a journalist

blogging website (Robinson, 2006, p. 69).

Journalists' Blogs

Journalists' blogs are easy-to-create web pages that j oumalists can use to post news or

commentary on issues they are reporting on, with links to longer stories and background

information elsewhere on the Web (Grabowicz, 2003). Many journalists have publicly endorsed

the need to add blogging to journalism (Lowrey, 2006). From a business perspective, the blog is

an ideal alternative medium for newspapers because it saves operating costs, allows for real-time

updating and enables interaction with readers, perfectly meeting the goals of the newspaper

industry (Lasica, 2003). Many news organizations have grown increasingly interested in blogs

and have started to use space on their websites to launch j -blogs. They tend to translate the









traditional methods of journalism to the web, repurposing not only their content, but also their

journalistic culture and relationships with publics by offering j -blogs at their websites (Deuze,

2003). For example, some newspapers decide what kinds of j-blog styles their j journalists should

maintain on the newspaper websites, which topics should be emphasized, and whether to allow

or moderate comments from readers in j -blogs.

Newspapers have taken different approaches to their j -blogs. Some newspapers intend to

have their j journalists make the j -blogs a portal of news and establish the status of j-blogs as part

of professional news media; some put more emphasis on conversation and interactivity with their

communities, hence further developing the bonds with the community through j-blogs. Other

newspapers prefer a creative way to launch j -blogs and ask their j journalists to maintain j -blogs

based on their own interests, making the j-blogs of diverse styles as the showcases for different

journalists' interesting personalities.

For the j ournalists who have started their j -blogs, challenges are unavoidable, although

Gillmor (2003), based on his own experiences, has stated that almost any reporter could

successfully produce a blog. Unlike traditional newspaper stories, in which j journalists stand

behind their news stories and emphasize their commitment to fairness and obj activity, a j-blog is

a place in which personality holds great importance. J-blogs are popular because "they allow the

reader to see the journalist as a human being, connecting with them without the stiff, imperial

voice that turns so many young people off' (Pohlig, 2003, p. 25). Journalists are not limited to

obj ective news reporting, but "let loose in some creative writing. And having a point in the j-blog

seems optional" (Robinson, 2006, p. 79).

Journalists' practices in j -blogs differ from one to another. There is a wide range of topics

available for j -blogs. Some j -bloggers consider blogging on the newspaper' s website as part of









their work, staying in their own specified beat areas as journalists and publishing news stories.

Some describe how they gather news stories from sources and their work experiences and invite

fact-checking. Some journalists prefer to comment on issues and spark discussions in their j -

blogs. Some post the complete texts of interviews and solicit feedback to develop follow-up

stories. Some j -bloggers focus on two-way communications with readers on whatever topic they

are interested in. Others may "take notebooks everywhere, chasing down even the smallest leads

and sharing everything instantly with readers" in their blogs (Heyboer, 2004, p. 10).

Due to the journalists' different approaches, j -blogs assume various formats. Robinson

(2006) identified seven different formats of j-blogs: "a reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and

incidentals; a straight column of opinion for the Web; a question-and-answer format by editors; a

readership forum; a confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat; a round-up of

news summaries that promote the print publication; and a rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses

as an off-the-record account" (p.70).

What' s more, j -bloggers have been trying to adjust their writing styles for readers online.

Studies have shown that j -bloggers attempt to target readers and develop new writing styles that

are different from traditional news writing in newspapers. Robinson (2006) claimed that even

mainstream newspaper j -blogs tend to be nonlinear and interactive, with multiple entry points

and several endings. "Reporters use traditional no-nos: Superlatives, first person, contractions,

questions with no answers, answers with no questions. Stories and columns that appear in the

print publication are rewritten for the Web version, incorporating long reader comments and a

more conversational approach ... A story can be never ending online, thanks to hypertext links

that instantaneously bring the reader from one author to another, from one angle of a subj ect to

another" (Robinson, 2006, p.78). J-blogs have adopted a new form of journalism to meet the









needs of their audience, through which professional models of traditional news writing are being

changed gradually.

As with any other kind of blog, j -blogs also thrive on open participation and interactivity

with readers (Pohlig, 2003). Some research already has pointed out that commentary from

readers can reconstruct the professional process of journalism, strengthen j oumalists'

accountability in news gathering and ensure accuracy of information in j -blogs (Robinson, 2006).

Journalists always face the limits of time, budget or resources in finishing a news story, which

introduces questions from readers about the accuracy and credibility of information. Comments

on j-blogs not only react "to what has been written in the blog, but also repair what has been

published" (Robinson, 2006, p. 75), which probably corrects some mistakes in reporting and

provides more information as well as diverse perspectives. Allowing comments on j -blogs opens

up an important public dialogue, which helps readers to better understand the issues covered and

to confirm journalists' statements, or sometimes to offer more resources or perspectives for

journalists to examine and later perfect the stories.

Moreover, the capability of j-blogs to use hyperlinks and multimedia technology further

enhances their interactivity. J-bloggers and readers can add pictures, audio files, video clips and

hyperlinks in their posts, which make j -blogs more interesting and the communication more

effective. Hyperlinks are references or navigation elements linking to some other internal content

within the same domain, or some external content that is located elsewhere on the Internet

(Deuze, 2003). It is one of the simplest methods of online interactivity that helps users to surf the

Intemet by clicking on words or images (Peng et al., 1999). Hyperlinks, which allow bloggers

and readers to extend the stories indefinitely, are of unusual significance to j -blogs, because they

establish a nonlinear story format and bring in other authors (Landow, 1997). Also, hyperlinks









are able to link conversations and provide background material on the topic discussed in the blog

(Blood, 2002). Wall (2005) claimed that bloggers rely on hyperlinks to enhance their own posts.

For example, to support their views on some specific news issues, the bloggers may add

hyperlinks to the news stories or similar opinion online, "briefly summarize the link' s content,

and provide commentary, criticisms, or other personal thoughts about the information to which it

is linked" (Wall, 2005, p. 156). In addition, hyperlinks in j-blogs can also be considered as

behavioral indicators of an issue's perceived importance (Delwiche, 2005) because those blog

posts and information sources for important issues are always the ones most frequently linked.

In general, interactivity, defined as two-way communication in which the roles of the

message sender and receiver are equal and interchangeable and the speed of communicating

should be close to real-time (Kiousis, 2002). Interactivity, no matter whether it is enabled by

comment, hyperlink or multimedia technology, makes it a good chance for people to contribute

to a j-blog and transcend passive exposure (Peng, Tham, & Xiaoming, 1999; Stromer-Galley,

2004). Marked by the degree to which users control content, interactivity is said to be more

conversational and promote immediacy, personal presence, and multi-vocality (Endres, Warnick,

2004).

Blogs and Journalists' Blogs in China

Globalization and instant communication make the world a small village, as Marshall

McLuhan foresaw in 1962 (McLuhan, 1962). Blogging is quite popular in China, as in many

other countries. There are probably several reasons. One is the explosive growth of the Internet

and the number of Internet users in China. The second reason is that the blog provides an

alternative media platform that allows more freedom of expression, while traditional media in

China have been controlled to some extent. The third is that blogs are easy to maintain by

ordinary citizens without the need for technical expertise or their own server spaces.









In January 2007, the China Internet Network Information Center found that China had a

total of 137 million Intemet users, which had increased by 26 million or 23.4% from 2006

(CNNIC, January 2007). Later, by June 2007, they found that the number of Intemet users in

China had reached 162 million, or 12.2% of the population of China. And due to technology

development and economic growth, the annual growth rate of Intemet users in China was 31.7%

for 2007, entering a new round of rapid growth (CNNIC, July 2007). However, due to the large

population of China, the overall Internet penetration in China was still only 12.3% (CNNIC, July

2007). Some researchers have said that an important reason for the fast growth of Intemet

adoption is that the Chinese government "desires an open, modem and efficient economy,

including a state-of-the-art telecommunications and information infrastructure, which can

capitalize on the potential of a booming information sector and contribute to China' s developing

knowledge economy" ( Lu & Weber, 2006, p. 3). The government has been encouraging the

development of the Internet and promoting the uses of the Intemet, especially broadband, in the

society, helping all houses and offices to be connected (Wu, 2005).

One result of Intemet development in China is the popularity of blogs among Chinese

Intemet users, especially young people. The number of blogs, which were first introduced into

China in 2002, has been increasing exponentially through the past six years, especially in 2005.

By 2006, the number of blogs in China was 30 times more than that in 2002, when there were

few blogs (CNNIC, 2006). According to CNNIC, there were an estimated 17.5 million bloggers

in Mainland China by August 2006. Among all the bloggers, 44% said they "frequently updated"

their blogs (p. 11), which means they update their most-often-updated blogs at least once per

month. And about 75 million Chinese people, nearly half of the country's Internet users, said

they read blogs regularly (CNNIC, 2006). By the end of November 2007, the number of blogs









had reached 72.82 million with 47 million bloggers, which accounted for a quarter of all the

Internet users in China (CNNIC, December 2007). This also means that one of every 30 Chinese

write blogs. The blog market has been growing rapidly. Within one year from 2006 to 2007, the

number of bloggers increased by nearly 30 million (CNNIC, December 2007).

As an element of virtual community and online networking, blogs have become a channel

through which people can talk about themselves and communicate with others in China. There

are some very famous Web portals hosting blogs: for example, Blogcn (www.blogcn.com),

BlogChina (www.bokee.com), Hexun (blog.hexun.com), MSNSpace

(home.services. spaces.1ive.com) and Sina (blog.sina.com.cn), whose celebrity blogs earn

millions of clicks every day. Because China has more than 77 million broadband users, bloggers

are not only blogging, or posting comments to blogs, but also uploading video and audio content

(Madden, 2006), which makes blogs more attractive.

In addition, blogs in China were developed as news and information outlets, together with

commercial news websites, like Sohu (www.sohu.com) and Sina (www.sina.com), to contribute

to the rise of online news services. Bloggers hence have become online j journalists (Chan, Lee, &

Pan, 2006). And the authority of traditional j ournalism has been challenged by the alternative

practices of news production and dissemination on the Internet. Li, Qin and Kluver (2003) found

that online public opinion had begun to outpace and outsmart the traditional propaganda

machine's maneuvers in China. Although the traditional mainstream media always sought to

guide public opinion, the "Chinese authorities are losing the battle to control information and

limit individual expression via the Internet" (Li, Qin & Kluver, p. 156). The authority of those

traditional mainstream news organizations in China has begun to be diminished partly due to the










quick release of accurate information and facts online, which attracts readers greatly. People also

have started to get bored with traditional news reporting and turned to the Internet as a result.

In response, traditional journalists are expected to reconfirm the authority of existing news

institutions and the legitimacy of traditional models of joumalism (Chan, Lee, & Pan, 2006).

And the Chinese government has been trying to set up an "online media order" through

regulations that privilege official media and have the effect of co-opting the new media into the

marketized authoritarian media system (Chan & Qiu, 2002). Consequently, newspapers, as part

of traditional media in China, have begun to incorporate the Intemet and other new technologies,

like blogs, into their j oumalism practice. As a matter of fact, the Intemet is not only an

unprecedented challenge to newspapers in China, but also an important opportunity. They value

the development of the World Wide Web greatly, being excited about the idea of "blogs" and

developing them in order to provide innovative news products and seize the attention of readers.

Some famous blogs and mainstream media outlets have begun to develop a symbiotic

relationship, depending on each other to have something to talk about and promote certain issues

of significant social concern together. Moreover, realizing blogs' potential in interactivity

between newspapers and readers, news organizations in China have begun to move in the

direction of providing j -blogs on their websites as an additional opportunity for readers to

interact personally with journalists. Integrating blogs with traditional newspapers gives birth to

an innovative news product. The rise of j-blogs also provides an opportunity for newspapers to

establish a new relationship with readers in the future.

Gatekeeping in Journalists' Blogs

Gatekeeping Theory

Obviously, the journalist is a key factor in the j -blog. Traditionally, journalists have

assumed the role of gatekeepers, gathering and organizing timely information, filtering the world

26









through institutional routines, deciding what is worth knowing by the public, and helping to

establish a society's values (Singer, 2006). However, journalists as j -bloggers have to relinquish

at least part of their gatekeeping power to readers because of blogs' participatory and interactive

nature. Studies have indicated that the j journalists' self-perceptions as individuals who decide

what people need to know is deeply ingrained (Janowitz, 1975). And how j -bloggers perform the

gatekeeping function and transform their role from traditional journalists is a critical issue to the

j-blogs.

Gatekeeping is defined as "the decision-making process by which the vast array of

potential news messages are winnowed, shaped, and prodded into those few that are actually

transmitted by the news media" (Shoemaker, Eichholz, Kim, & Wrigley, 2001, p. 233). It is

about opening or closing the channels of communication; it is about accessing or refusing access

(Watson, 2003). Gatekeeping in mass communication is "the overall process through which the

social reality transmitted by the news media is constructed" (Shoemaker, Eichholz, Kim, &

Wrigley, 2001, p. 233). Presentation, production, and space constraints contribute to the

gatekeeping process, as well as editors' opinion about news content (White, 1950; Snider, 1967).

The concept "gatekeeping" was first proposed by psychologist Kurt Lewin (1947) and later

applied to the news selection process in j ournalism by White (1950). Subsequent research has

revealed some influential factors for gatekeeping: "the personal views, experiences and roles of

media workers, media norms and routines, media organizations, external pressures, and

ideology" (Shoemaker & Reese, 1996, pp. 105-119). Shoemaker (1999) identified Hyve levels of

gatekeeping: individual, routine, organizational characteristics, extramedia and ideological.

Generally speaking, gatekeepers are those who select and deliver information that flows

over the communication channel, shaping what should be Einally presented. As a few individuals









determining what stories will and will not be covered in the mass media, gatekeepers implicitly

define the limits of discourse on an issue and help maintain the status quo by their selection of

news content, exerting power on the public agenda and public opinion.

Gatekeeping theory provides a helpful framework for evaluating the judgments made on

whether or not and how information should be included into the limited available space or time

on media outlets (Reese & Ballinger, 2001), including new media such as blogs in which citizen

participation counts.

New Gatekeeping in Journalists' Blogs

J-bloggers, from writing for newspapers to maintaining j -blogs on newspaper websites, are

experiencing changes in their roles as gatekeepers. As traditional journalists for newspapers, j-

bloggers have exclusive control over what news is published and what information is told to

readers in their own posts on j -blogs. However, j -bloggers are not able to organize reader

comments. Therefore, the process of gatekeeping in j -blogs differs from that in newspapers

because the content of j-blogs is not only created by j -bloggers but also co-produced by readers.

J-blog readers can comment on j -blog posts and further utilize hyperlinks to add information. In

other words, the responsibility for gatekeeping in j -blogs is shared by readers and j -bloggers.

Studies have indicated that j -bloggers' gatekeeping function is evolving and adapting along

with the growth of new media. Singer (1997) found that journalists have been modifying

definitions of the gatekeeper to encompass a need for interpretation and quality control. The

gatekeepers in the new media environment are more concerned with supporting the value and

ideas of what they disseminate rather than selecting stories for distribution. Journalists need a

sense of their relationship with a democratized public in their work as gatekeepers (Kovach &

Rosenstiel, 2001). However, Singer (2005) stated that political j -bloggers are "retaining their

traditional journalistic gatekeeping role by incorporating limited or no material from users,










despite the inherently conversational and participatory nature of the format" (Singer, 2005,

p. 189). These j journalists just "normalize" the new form, blogs, to fit the old norms of journalism

and continue to be gatekeepers as before. Further, Singer (2006) argued that in the new media

environment, with the participation of j-blogs, journalists become sense-makers, bolstering the

value of information they distribute, rather than gatekeepers. In any case, no matter how

j journalists or j -bloggers are playing their roles as gatekeepers online, they are putting more

efforts into open conversations and collaborations.

Variances of Different Geographic Regions in China

Mainland China is composed of 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions,

each with its own economy and culture. Generally speaking, mainland China is divided into three

different geographic regions: East, Middle and West. The East includes Liaoning, Hebei,

Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan. The

Middle includes provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and

Jiangxi. The West includes Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan,

Tibet, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang (CNNIC, January 2007).

East China is more a more developed coastal region, while West and Middle China are less

developed inland regions. The differences among the three regions are reflected in varying

economic development, culture, social values and technology adoption (Fram, Lu, & McHardy,

2004; Liu & Li, 2006). For economic development, compared with less developed Middle and

West regions, coastal cities in the East China have a longer history of economic reform and more

exposure to a market economy (Dou, Wang, & Zhou, 2006). A majority of the special economic

zones, open cities, and main industrial and commercial centers are located in East China. For

example, Beijing and Shanghai, China's political capital and commercial capital, are located in









the East, contributing a great deal to the country's overall GDP and pioneering cultural

development.

In addition, China' s population is highly concentrated. A vast maj ority of people live in the

plains of the East, whereas the other regions of the country are relatively unpopulated.

Specifically, the top six provinces and municipals contributed almost half of the total population

whereas the remaining 25 provinces, autonomous regions and municipals contributed the other

half (China Knowledge, 2007).

Largely due to the uneven levels of economic development and population distribution,

media markets in China have been characterized as highly heterogeneous (Law, Tse, & Zhou,

2003). East China is the region where a great many newspapers and newspaper websites are

produced. He and Zhu (2002) pointed out that the uneven distribution of online newspapers

follows the pattern of uneven development, especially the economic development, of the three

regions in China. The maj ority of China' s online newspapers are located in the East, followed by

the Middle and the West (He & Zhu, 2002). The regional distribution of population in China is

uneven, with 39.4% of the population in the East, 32.5% in the Middle, and 28. 1% in the West

(Keidel, 2007). Also, regional distribution of Internet users in China is uneven, with 57.9% of

Internet users in the East, 22.8% in the Middle, and 19.3% in the West (CNNIC, January 2007).

Given all these substantial regional differences among the East, Middle and West China (Child,

Stewart, 1997), the degree of development of newspaper websites and j-blogs on the websites

varies greatly across the three different regions in China.

Gender and Journalists' Blogs

Gender Theory

Gender, on which some social status differences are based, is not only a biological concept

but also a social construct that specifies cultural roles for men and women in the society.










Previous research on gender, mass media and society has shown how males and females differ in

diverse aspects of social life. Many of these differences originate from the gender roles and

social norms that indicate what socially appropriate male and female behavior is.

An important ideology of gender theory within the context of public discourse, mass media

and technology is the "patriarchal notion of public/private dichotomy associated with

male/female" (Harp & Tremayne, 2006, p. 249). It designates that the world of women is largely

limited to the private sphere of life, such as home, family, private relations and domestic affairs.

In contrast, men are believed to be best suited and responsible for the public sphere, including

politics, economics and foreign affairs (Donovan, 1994; Harp & Tremayne, 2006). This

dichotomy helps "articulate a hegemonic conceptualization of gender politics reinforced in

everyday life" (Harp & Tremayne, 2006. p. 249). Based on this dichotomy, different social roles

are developed for men and women, who are expected to conform to these traditional gender

norms.

In the era of the Internet, real-life gender dynamics are reproduced online. Many gender

differences found on the Intemet are continuations of real-life situations (Herring, Scheidt,

Bonus, & Wright, 2004). For example, as in the real world, males are more likely to dominate

online conversations (Morahan-Martin, 2000). Scholars have pointed out that the perpetuation of

gender stereotypes on the Internet is a hazard to feminism (Morahan-Martin, 2000). However,

other researchers have claimed that the Intemet allows women to be liberated from the

restrictions of gender identity and oppressive social structures. As a result, they predicted that

women would be empowered in the online world (Morahan-Martin, 2000; Youngs, 2004).

Concerning gender and the Intemet, the digital gender gap and the gendered structure of

the Internet were often discussed (Morahan-Martin, 1998) in the early days of Internet









development. Social and cultural factors have shaped male-dominated adoption and use of the

Intemet as well as the deep involvement of men in online participation (Harp & Tremayne, 2006;

Herring, Kouper, Scheidt, & Wright, 2004). Some authors have declared that power is not

distributed equally online. Women are late adopters of the technology, which may increase the

existing social inequities to females and impinge on women's power and possibilities in the

Digital Age (Morahan-Martin, 2000; Youngs, 2004). Other research has suggested that despite

more online participation by both males and females over time, gender differences in specific

activities have not diminished. Men continue to have more positive attitudes toward the Intemet

and new technology than women (Sherman, End, Kraan, Cole, Campbell, Birchmeier, &

Klausner, 2000). These findings are quite consistent with the situation in China today.

With a total population of 1,329,349,388 in 2007, the rate of males to females in China is

1.06:1 (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2008). The gender disparity is partially caused by

the preference for boys under the "one-child" policy. For the use of the Internet in China, the

number of female Intemet users was 73 million and males was 89 million, for a ratio of 54.9%

male to 45.1% female Intemet users (CNNIC, July 2007). In contrast, among blog writers, men

accounted for 43% of bloggers while women represented 57% (CNNIC, December 2007). In the

news industry, there has been male dominance. In 1996, women j journalists accounted for only

one third of the total j oumalist population. By the end of 2006, although there have been more

than 70,000 female journalists registered at the State Press and Publication Administration,

nearly 40% of the total 180,000 j oumalists in China (Lu, 2006), male j journalists are still the

maj ority in news rooms. Therefore, despite the higher popularity of blogs among female Internet

users, there are still more male j -bloggers than female j -bloggers in China now.









Influence of Gender on Blogs

Previous research in America has revealed that there are more male bloggers than female

bloggers (Herring, Kouper, Scheidt, & Wright, 2004; Fallows, 2005). In addition, mass media

have paid a greater amount of attention to male bloggers (Herring, Kouper, et al., 2004). In

analyses of the topic differences in blogs maintained by males versus females, research has

shown that men are more interested in blogging about politics, technology, and external events.

Women bloggers are more likely to prefer personal subj ect matter (Herring, Kouper, et al.,

2004). Some studies have shown that men are more likely to express political opinions and tend

to have a more authoritative manner in their conversation style (Fredrick, 1999; Herring, 2006).

In regard to the format variances in blogs written by different genders, some studies in America

as well as in Britain have shown that women write more diary-like blogs, while male bloggers

write more of the opinion-focused ones (Herring, & Paolillo, 2006; Pedersen, & Macafee, 2007).

Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl and Sapp (2006) revealed that female bloggers provide a record

of the day, discuss memories, and communicate feelings or thoughts more often than males.

In regard to gender differences in the inclusion of hyperlinks and multimedia usage,

women are less interested in and have less knowledge about the technical aspects of the Intemet

(Fallows, 2005; Pedersen & Macafee, 2007), which seems likely to affect the use of hyperlinks

and multimedia by female j -bloggers. In fact, Pedersen and Macafee (2007) pointed out that,

compared with female bloggers, male bloggers include more links to interesting external

web sites.

Taking the interactive potential of the Internet and blogs into consideration, Herring (1996)

reported that cyber-participants enact gender and develop communication styles that resemble

offline gender identities. Other studies have noted differences in how men and women use the

Intemet, with women more likely to use it as a communication tool and men as a means of









information seeking (Jackson, Ervin, Gardner, & Schmitt, 2001). Other research has confirmed

that female bloggers exhibited social interaction motivations more often than males (Trammell,

Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006).

Research Questions

This study is aimed at analyzing j -blogs in China, including their topics, formats,

interactivity and use of hyperlinks and multimedia technology, exploring the implications of

such j ournalistic practices for j ournalism in China. Regional differences in China and gender

differences in Internet using and blogging have been well documented. The researcher also

expected to find differences in j-blogs from different geographic regions of China and in j -blogs

written by male and female journalists. Therefore, the following research questions were

proposed:

RQ1:. What are the most common topics and formats of j-blogs in China? Do the topics

vary among the formats?

RQ2: Do topics and formats of j-blogs in China differ by geographic regions or genders?

RQ3: How frequently do readers comment on j -blog posts in China? Does topic, format,

geographic region or gender make a difference?

RQ4: How frequently do j -bloggers respond to reader comments in Chinese j -blog posts?

Do j -blog posts with more reader comments get proportionally more j -blogger responses? Does

topic, format, geographic region or gender make a difference?

RQ5: How many j -blog posts include one or more onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks,

pictures, videos and audio? Does topic, format, geographic region, or gender influence the use of

hyperlinks and multimedia?

RQ6: What are the relationships among frequency of hyperlinks, multimedia, reader

comments, and j -blogger responses?









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

The study was aimed at examining the general development of j-blogs on newspaper

websites in Mainland China by exploring the main characteristics of j-blogs in China, in terms of

topic, format, interactivity (comments from readers and responses from journalists), hyperlinks

and multimedia usage. Geographic region and gender were two factors believed to have a

possible influence on these characteristics. The method for this study was content analysis.

Content analysis is defined as,

a summarizing, quantitative analysis of messages that relies on the scientific method
(including attention to obj ectivity-intersubj activity, a priori design, reliability, validity,
generalizability, replicability, and hypothesis testing) and is not limited to the types of
variables that may be measured or the context in which the messages are created or
presented (Neuendorf, 2002, p.10).

Lomlard, Snyder-Duch and Bracken (2002) stated that content analysis, as a method

specifically for the study of messages, is fundamental to mass communication research. To

examine the general performance of j-blogs in this study, content analysis was appropriate

because it is "particularly well suited to the study of communications and to answer the classic

question of communication research: 'Who says what' ... and 'how'..." (Babbie, 2007, p. 320).

Population

Chinese j -blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China were the subj ect of study. They

were chosen if they were 1) published on a newspaper website; 2) identified as blogs written by

journalists, accompanied by journalist information; 3) started on or before January 1, 2007; 4)

written in Chinese; 5) included no fewer than 30 blog posts from January 1, 2007, to December

31, 2007.

Because there was neither a complete directory of j-blogs or newspaper websites nor a

complete list of newspapers in China that was publicly available, the search for j -blogs that met









the standards above was completed in several ways: First, j -blogs were found through an

examination of links to some well-known online publications such as Xinhua News Agency

(www.xinhuanet.com), which is the state news agency and the largest news and information

gathering and distribution center in Mainland China, as well as the People 's Daily

(www.people.com. cn), which is the most influential and authoritative newspaper in China.

Additionally, qualified j -blogs were found through the Chinese newspapers directory maintained

by the University of Auckland, online media directories provided by the All-China Journalists

Association (www.zgjx.cn), and newspaper websites linked to important regional newspapers,

such as the Saidrl Daily (www.nanfangdaily .com.cn), and the two biggest commercial news

websites in Mainland China, Sohu (news.sohu.com) and Sina (news.sina.com.cn). Then, search

engines Google, Baidul and Yahoo were used to search for j -blogs on newspaper websites in

Mainland China. In this way, the researcher tried to find as many j -blogs as possible on Chinese

newspaper websites. All accessible j -blogs that met the criteria for this study were compiled into

a list as the population for the study.

Sample and Sampling Method

To better represent j -blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China and the differences

between different geographic regions, nonprobability sampling was used.

All the j -blogs in the study population were divided by the geographic regions of the

newspapers hosting the j -blogs. Mainland China' s 3 1 provinces, municipalities and autonomous

regions can be divided into three regions, according to the China Internet Network Information

Center (CNNIC, January 2007). The three regions are the West region, which includes the

provinces of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Tibet, Shaanxi,


SBaidu is a search engine in China, which is as important in China as Google in the U.S. It is quite useful to search
for webpages, news, blogs, images and music in Chinese characters.









Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang; the Middle region, which includes provinces of

Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi; and the East region, which

includes provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang,

Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan. Based on geographic region, the j -blogs were divided into three

categories: j -blogs in the East, j -blogs in the Middle, and j -blogs in the West. For each category,

qualified j -blogs were compiled into an index alphabetically by the names of their authors. Each

j -blog in the list was given an identification number. Then 15 j -blogs were randomly chosen

from each category with the help of a random number generator. Finally, 45 j -blogs in Mainland

China were chosen for the study.

Within those chosen j -blogs, 14 dates were randomly picked from January 1, 2007, to

December 31, 2007, representing two constructed weeks. Following the two-constructed-week

scheme, two Sundays, two Mondays, two Tuesdays, two Wednesdays, two Thursdays, two

Friday and two Saturdays were randomly chosen from all of the Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays,

Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in 2007. This method is effective in helping

researchers to examine representative samples of news content without oversampling (Riffe,

Lacy, & Fico, 2005). Some research has shown that constructed week sampling is far more

efficient than simple random sampling when inferring to a large population (Riffe, Aust, & Lacy,

1993).

Posts on selected j -blogs on those particular dates were the sample for this study. However,

the journalists did not always update their j -blogs on those days. In the absence of a j -blog post

on that particular date, the nearest post after that date was found to fi11 the sample. And if the j -

blogger had two posts on the j -blogs that day, only the first one was used. So, the sample for this










study consisted of 630 j -blog posts on newspaper websites in Mainland China. The unit of

analysis was the individual j -blog post.

Variables

The variables coded for each j -blog post were the newspaper affiliation, URL of the j -blog

post, name or online ID of the j -blogger, geographic region of the newspaper hosting the j-blog,

gender of the j -blogger, general topic addressed in the j -blog post, number of comments from

readers in each j -blog post, number of responses from the j -bloggers for each j -blog post, number

of onsite hyperlinks in each j -blog post, number of offsite hyperlinks in each j -blog post, number

of videos included in each j -blog post, number of audio files included in each j -blog post,

number of pictures included in each j -blog post, and the format of j-blog post. By coding these

variables, j-blogs could be examined in terms of topic, format, interactivity, use of hyperlinks

and multimedia technology. Differences in j -blogs between three geographic regions and

different genders also were examined. Hence, an overview of how j journalists in China are using

the novel online format of j-blogs to publish news and communicate with readers was provided.

The definitions of variables coded in this study were described in the content analysis codebook

(see Appendix A).

Coders and Intercoder Reliability

Coders were two Chinese students at the University of Florida who fully understand

written Chinese and are familiar with the provinces as well as geographic regions in China. They

used the codebook (Appendix A) and coding sheet (Appendix B) to analyze the variables.

Given that a goal of content analysis is to "identify and record relatively obj ective (or at

least intersubj ective) characteristics of messages, reliability is paramount" (Neuendorf, 2002, p.

141), interceder reliability, "the extent to which independent coders evaluate a characteristic of a

message or artifact and reach the same conclusion" (Lombard, Snyder-Duch, & Bracken, 2002,










p. 589) is often perceived as the typical measure of research quality and is at the heart of this

research method. Kolbe and Burnett (1991) said that "high levels of disagreement among judges

suggest weaknesses in research methods, including the possibility of poor operational

definitions, categories, and judge training" (p. 248).

To ensure the quality of this study, coders were trained before official coding for the study

began. Coders tested the initial draft of the codebook by independently coding 70 Chinese j-blog

posts that were not included in the sample, using the codebook developed for this study. Based

on this test, coding problems and disagreements were discussed, and the instrument was revised.

This process was repeated several times until it was believed that the coding instrument for this

study would permit reliable coding by two coders.

Scott' s Pi2 was used to assess interceder reliability in this study. The appropriate minimum

acceptable level of reliability for Scott' s pi is .70 or above. If pi equals .80 or above, the

interceder reliability is "very good, always acceptable;" a pi of .70 might be termed "good,

acceptable in most situations;" .60 "adequate," and .50 or below "poor" (Neuendorf, 2002).

A pilot test was conducted. Coders used the codebook to independently code 65 posts

randomly selected from the sample. For the first time, the reliability level in the pilot test for two

variables was inadequate. So, additional training was conducted. The coding instrument and

procedures were refined. When a second pilot test was conducted, the reliability level was

acceptable.

Proceeding to the full sample, 126 j -blog posts, representing 20% of the full sample, were

randomly selected by the researcher and provided to both coders in order to establish interceder


2 Scott's pi = UProportion of observed agreement Proportion of expected agreement
1 Proportion of expected agreement
Proportion of observed agreement = UNumber of coders Number of same coding madeU
Total number of coding by all coders
Proportion of expected agreement = C Proportion in each category










reliability. Half of the rest of the sample was then randomly assigned to each coder. They coded

independently, following the guidance of the codebook. During the process of coding for the full

sample, tests of interceder reliability were conducted from time to time to keep sufficient

interceder reliability all through the coding process. With the help of PRAM software, the

interceder reliability of all variables in the study was tabulated and found to be reported higher

than 0.853 for each variable.








































3 Reported Intercoder reliability for variables: Pictures = .98, gender = .975, j-blogger responses = .975, onsite
hyperlinks =.949, offsite hyperlinks = .949, reader conunents = .945, format= .932, hyperlinks in reader conunents
=.93, topic = .88. Intercoder reliability for all other variables is 1.

40









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The content analysis data were analyzed using the software Statistical Package for the

Social Sciences (SPSS 15 for Windows) based on the research questions.

Topic and Format

Research Question 1 looked at the topic and format of j-blog posts in China.

A frequency analysis showed that the most frequently addressed topics in Chinese j -blogs

were li fe style and p oliti cs/g overnm ent/mi litary (T ab le 4 1). Ab out 10% of Chi ne se j -blog s were

about crime/accidents/di sasters and another 10% covered business/economic activity.

Celebrity/entertainment and science/technology were the least frequently talked about. Looking

at the formats of Chinese j -blog posts, the most common were the straight opinion column,

rumor-mill blog, and reporter' s notebook of new tidbits and incidentals; readership forums and

question-and-answer formats were the least used (Table 4-2).

Table 4-1. Frequency of j-blog posts across topics and format
Frequency Percent
Lifestyle 321 42.5
Politics, government and military 139 18.4
Crime, accidents, disasters 77 10.2
Topic Business/economic activity 76 10.1
Other 61 8.1
C el ebrity/entertai nment 51 6.7
Science/technology 31 4.1
Straight column of opinion for the Web 226 29.9
Rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record
191 25.3
account
Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 16.0
Copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 8.1
Format
Round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication 57 7.5
Poetry 40 5.3
Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat 28 3.7
Readership forum 26 3.4
Question-and-answer format by editors 6 .8










Because the numerous topics and formats led to too many cells with an expected count less

than 5, only the top five most frequently used formats were examined. A Chi-square analysis of

topics and the top five formats revealed a significant relationship (X2(24, N= 607) = 149. 178, p

S.001). The formats of Chinese j -blog posts varied by topics. Straight opinion column,

reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals and copy of articles were the most often used

formats when talking about politics/government/military, business/economic activity and

science/technology. For crime/accidents/di sasters, nearly 40% of those j -blog posts turned out to

be straight columns of opinion and another 34% were notebooks of news tidbits and incidentals.

Half of j-blog posts about lifestyle were rumor-mill blogs (Table 4-2).

Table 4-2. Crosstabulation of topic and format for j-blog posts
Topic
Politics Business Crime Science Entertainment Lifestyle
Formats Reporter's
23 13 22 7 10 34
notebook of
18.4% 19.4% 34.4% 25.0% 20.4% 12.4%
news tidbits
Straight
61 34 25 7 21 58
column of
48.8% 50.7% 39.1% 25.0% 42.9% 21.2%
opinion
News 15 5 6 2 5 23
summaries 12.0% 7.5% 9.4% 7.1% 10.2% 8.4%
Rumor-mill 10 7 6 5 8 139
blog 8.0% 10.4% 9.4% 17.9% 16.3% 50.7%
Copy of
16 8 5 7 5 20
articles from
12.8% 11.9% 7.8% 25.0% 10.2% 7.3%
others
Total 125 67 64 28 49 274
100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
* X2(24, N= 607) = 149.178, p < .001

Research Question 2 examined the influence of geographic region and gender on topic and

format of j-blog posts. A Chi-square analysis and crosstabulation revealed a significant

difference in topics across geographic regions (X2(12, N= 756) = 40.971, p < .001). At the

beginning of this study, when collecting j -blogs for the study population, the researcher found









that the number of j -blogs in East China far exceeded that in Middle and West China. As shown

in Table 4-3, the topics of j-blog posts differed greatly by geographic regions. Although the most

common topics in all of the three regions were the same lifestyle and politics, some topics

were more popular in a region than in the other two regions. For example, j -blog posts about

lifestyle and crime/accidents/di sasters were more popular in East China; j -blog posts covering

politics and economics were more popular in the West.

Table 4-3. Crosstabulation of j-blog topics by geographic regions
Geographic Region
East Middle West Total
Topic Politics, government, military 33 46 60 139
13.4% 18.2% 23.3% 18.4%
Business/economic activity 28 16 32 76
11.4% 6.3% 12.5% 10.1%
Crime, accidents and disasters 29 23 25 77
11.8% 9.1% 9.7% 10.2%
Science/technology 3 19 9 31
1.2% 7.5% 3.5% 4.1%
C el ebrity/entertai nm ent 10 20 21 51
4.1% 7.9% 8.2% 6.7%
Lifestyle 128 106 87 321
52.0% 41.9% 33.9% 42.5%
Other 15 23 23 61
6.1% 9.1% 8.9% 8.1%
Total 246 253 257 756
100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
* X2(12, N= 756) = 40.971, p < .001

Of all the blog posts in this study, 72% were written by males, and 28% were maintained

by females. Examining the bloggers' genders and the topics, a Chi-square analysis and

crosstabulation revealed a significant difference of topics across genders (X2 (12, N = 740) =

41.004, p < .001). Although lifestyle was the most frequently addressed topic for both genders,

women focused on this topic 52.7% of the time versus 3 8. 1% for men. Females were also more

likely to talk about business and economics. Males were more likely to talk about

politics/government/military and science/technology (Table 4-4).










Table 4-4. Crosstabulation of j-blog topics by gender
Gender
Male Female
Topic Politics, government, military 118 19
22.1% 9.2%
Business/economic activity 47 24
8.8% 11.6%
Crime, accidents and disasters 55 22
10.3% 10.6%
Science/technology 28 3
5.3% 1.4%
C el ebrity/entertai nm ent 36 15
6.8% 7.2%
Lifestyle 203 109
38.1% 52.7%
Others 46 15
8.6% 7.2%
Total 533 207
100.0% 100.0%


* X2(12, N= 740) = 41.004, p < .001

Table 4-5. Crosstabulation of j-blog formats by geographic


Format Reporter's notebook of news tidbits and
inci dental s
Straight column of opinion for the Web

Question-and-answer format by editors

Readership forum

Confessional diary written by the reporter about
his or her beat
Round-up of news summaries

Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-
record account
Copy of articles from others with the source
stated
Poetry


regions
Geographic Region
East Middle West
33 42 46
13.4% 16.6% 17.9%
63 68 95
25.6% 26.9% 37.0%
2 3 1
.8% 1.2% .4%
12 6 8
4.9% 2.4% 3.1%
10 3 15
4.1% 1.2% 5.8%
13 35 9
5.3% 13.8% 3.5%
82 54 55
33.3% 21.3% 21.4%
24 17 20
9.8% 6.7% 7.8%
7 25 8
2.8% 9.9% 3.1%
246 253 257
100.0% 100.0% 100.0%


Total
121
16.0%
226
29.9%
6
.8%
26
3.4%
28
3.7%
57
7.5%
191
25.3%
61
8.1%
40
5.3%
756
100.0%


Total

* x' (16,


N= 756) = 65.771, p < .001










There was also a significant difference between formats by different geographic regions

(X2(16, N= 756) = 65.771, p < .001). Table 4-5 shows that the most frequently used format in

East China was rumor-mill blog (33.3%); the most often used format of j-blogs in Middle and

West China was straight opinion column, followed by rumor-mill blog and news notebook

format. It was also found that j -bloggers in the East used more readership forums and citations of

articles, compared with the Middle and the West; j -bloggers in the Middle were more likely to

summarize news and write poetry in their j -blogs.

A Chi-square analysis of gender and format revealed a significant difference of j-blog

posts' formats across different genders (X2(8, N= 756) = 63.416, p < .001). Table 4-6 shows that

male j -bloggers were more likely to use straight opinion column (34.7%) while female j -bloggers

were more likely to use rumor-mill blogs (40.1%).

Table 4-6. Crosstabulation of i-blon formats by gender


Gender
Male Female
95 25
17.8% 12.1%
185 41
34.7% 19.8%
6 0
1.1% .0%
14 12
2.6% 5.8%
22 6
4.1% 2.9%
32 23
6.0% 11.1%
105 83
19.7% 40.1%
36 16
6.8% 7.7%
38 1
7.1% .5%
533 207
100.0% 100.0%


Format Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals

Straight column of opinion for the Web

Question-and-answer format by editors

Readership forum

Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat

Round-up of news summaries

Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record account

Copy of articles from others with the source stated

Poetry

Total

* X2 (8, N= 756) = 63.416, p < .001











Reader Comments

Research Question 3 looked at the frequency of reader comments on Chinese j -blog posts

as well as the influence of topic, format, geographic region and gender on reader comments.

The frequency analysis of reader comments in j -blog posts in China (Table 4-6) showed

that nearly 40% of all posts had no comment from readers. Almost a third of posts had one or

two comments, and 20.8% had five or more comments. The most comments, 59, appeared in a

blog post with the format of a readership forum, in which the j -blogger invited her readers to

climb mountains together for the weekend.

Table 4-7. Frequency of reader comments in j-blog posts in China
Number of reader comments Frequency Percent
0 283 37.4%
1 138 18.3%
2 83 11.0%
3 55 7.3%
4 39 5.2%
5 26 3.4%
6 18 2.3%
7 17 2.2%
8 14 1.9%
9 11 1.5%
10 9 1.2%
11-59 63 8.3%
Total 756 100.0%

Looking only at the 473 posts that generated reader comments, the relationships of reader

comment frequency with topic, format, geographic region and gender were examined. Because

nearly 40% of j-blog posts studied had no comments, only analyzing the mean number of reader

comments by topics, formats, regions and genders of all posts would make the study moot. To be

more obj ective, proportion tests were conducted, followed by one-way ANOVA analyses.









Table 4-8 shows that j -blog posts about crime/accidents/disasters were the highest in the

proportion of j-blog posts with comments (66.2%) with the j -blog posts about science/technology

the lowest (48.4%).

Table 4-8. Proportion of reader comments for j -blog posts among topics
Number of posts Total number Pooto
Topic with comments of posts
Others 46 61 75.4%
Crime, accidents, disasters 51 77 66.2%
C el ebrity/entertai nment 33 51 64.7%
Lifestyle 199 321 62.0%
Business/economic activity 47 76 61.8%
Politics, government, military 82 139 59.0%
Science/technology 15 31 48.4%
Total 473 756 62.6%

Table 4-9 shows that j -blog posts in the format of confessional diary were the highest in

the proportion of j-blog posts that have comments (78.6%) with the j-blog posts in the format of

news summary the lowest (29.8%). Readership forum and rumor-mill blog had relatively high

proportion of reader comments.

Table 4-9. Proportion of reader comments for j-blog posts among formats
Total
Number of posts
Format .number of Proportion
with comments

Confessional diary written by the reporter about
22 28 78.6%
his or her beat
Readership forum 19 26 73.1%
Rumor-mill blog 131 191 68.6%
Question-and-answer format by editors 4 6 66.7%
Straight column of opinion for the Web 147 226 65.0%
Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and
78 121 64.5%
inci dental s
Poetry 24 40 60.0%
Copy of articles from others with the source stated 31 61 50.8%
Round-up of news summaries 17 57 29.8%
Total 473 756 62.6%

Table 4-10 shows that j-blog posts in the East were the highest in the proportion of j-blog

posts that have comments (69.9%) with the j-blog posts in the Middle the lowest (49.4%).

47










Table 4-10. Proportion of reader comments for j -blog posts among regions

Geographic region Number of posts with comments Total number of posts Proportion
East 172 246 69.9%
West 176 257 65.5%
Middle 125 253 49.4%
Total 473 756 62.6%

Table 4-11 shows that j -blog posts by females were slightly higher than those by males in

the proportion of j-blog posts with reader comments (67.2% versus 62. 1%).

Table 4-11i. Proportion of reader comments for j -blog posts between genders
Gender Number of posts with comments Total number of posts Proportion
Female 139 207 67.2%
Male 331 533 62.1%
Total 470 740 62.2%

A one-way ANOVA analysis of all blog posts revealed a significant main effect with topic

(F(6,755) = 3.297, p < .01) on reader comments. A post-hoc analysis of reader comment and

topic using Bonferroni's test revealed significant differences in reader comments between

celebrity/entertainment (M~= 7.53, SD = 14.936) and science/technology (M~= 1.65, SD = 2.259),

and between celebrity/entertainment and politics/government/military (M~= 2.47, SD = 4.019).

Obviously, j -blog posts with the topic of science/technology and politics/government/military

had the smallest mean number of comments, while celebrity/entertainment posts had the highest

mean number of reader comments (Table 4-12).

Table 4-12. Mean number of reader comments among topics
Topic N Mean Std. Deviation
C el ebrity/entertai nment 51 7.53 14.936
Crime, accidents, disasters 77 4.52 8.042
Lifestyle 321 4.32 8.915
Others 61 3.34 4.509
Business/economic activity 76 3.14 6.026
Politics, government, military 139 2.47 4.019
Science/technology 31 1.65 2.259
Total 756 3.91 8.063
* F(6,755) = 3.297, p <.01









Another one-way ANOVA analysis of all blog posts revealed a significant main effect of

format (F(8,755) = 6.073, p < .001) on reader comments. A post-hoc analysis of reader comment

and format, using Bonferroni's test, revealed a significant difference in reader comments

between readership forum and all other formats except question-and-answer formats and

confessional diary. The highest mean number of comments was for the format of readership

forum (M~= 12. 19, SD = 15.955) while the blog posts in almost all the other formats had

averages of less than 5 comments. The formats of question-and-answer (M~= 12, SD = 15.761)

and confessional diary (M~= 5.50, SD = 7.724) had relatively more comments (Table 4-13).

Table 4-13. Mean number of reader comments among formats
Format N Mean Std. Deviation
Readership forum 26 12.19 15.955
Question-and-answer format by editors 6 12.00 15.761
Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat 28 5.50 7.724
Copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 5.15 12.022
Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record account 191 4.38 8.040
Straight column of opinion for the Web 226 3.12 6.064
Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 3.08 6.795
Poetry 40 1.95 3.693
Round-up of news summaries 57 1.88 5.298
Total 756 3.91 8.063
* F(8,755) = 6.073, p < .001

A one-way ANOVA analysis of all blog posts revealed a significant main effect with

geographic region (F(2,755) = 28.616, p < .001) on reader comments. A post-hoc analysis of

reader comment and geographic region, using Bonferroni's test, revealed a significant difference

in reader comments among the three regions. Table 4-14 shows that j -blog posts in the East had

the highest mean number of comments (M~= 6.78, SD = 11.606), and posts in the Middle had the

lowest mean number of comments (M~= 1.57, SD = 3.902).

Another one-way ANOVA analysis of all blog posts revealed a significant main effect with

gender (F(1,739) = 27.620, p < .001) on reader comments. Table 4-15 shows that reader










comments differed significantly for j -blog posts by men and women. Female j -bloggers had

twice the average number of comments (M~= 6.42, SD = 12.040) as male j -bloggers (M~= 2.99,

SD = 5.635).

Table 4-14. Mean number of reader comments among geographic regions
Geographic region N Mean Std. Deviation
East 246 6.78 11.606
West 257 3.47 5.857
Middle 253 1.57 3.902
Total 756 3.91 8.063
* F(2,755) = 28.616, p < .001

Table 4-15. Mean number of reader comments between genders
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation
Female 207 6.42 12.040
Male 533 2.99 5.635
Total 740 3.95 8.102
* F(1,739) = 27.620, p < .001

J-bloggers' Responses

Research Question 4 examined the frequency of j-bloggers' responses to reader comments

on j-blog posts in China, as well as the influence of topic, format, geographic region, gender, and

reader comments on j -bloggers' responses. Frequency analysis, one-way ANOVA and Chi-

square analyses were applied.

Because responses were provided by j -bloggers to reader comments on their j -blogs, it is

reasonable to analyze the j -bloggers' responses in relationship to reader comments. To measure

the frequency of j-bloggers' responses, Table 4-16 shows that, in the 473 j-blog posts that had

one or more reader comments, 350 posts (74.0%) did not have any response from j -bloggers, 76

j -blog posts (16. 1%) had one j -blogger response, and the remaining 47 j -blog posts (9.9%) had 2-

28 responses.










Also, a Pearson's correlation analysis revealed that the number of reader comments was

positively related with the number of j-bloggers' responses (r(756) = .462, p < .001). The j -blog

posts with more reader comments were more likely to have more j -blogger responses.

Table 4-16. Frequency of j-bloggers' responses in posts with one or more reader comments
Number of j-bloggers' responses Frequency Percent
0 350 74.0
1 76 16.1
2-3 26 5.5
4-5 10 2.2
More than 5 11 2.2
Total 473 100.0

Because j -bloggers were not likely to respond unless readers initiated comments, it is

reasonable to filter out all the blog posts with zero comment when analyzing the influence of

topic, format, geographic region and gender on j-blogger responses.

A one-way ANOVA analysis of only the posts that had at least one reader comment

revealed a significant difference in the mean number of j-bloggers' responses among formats

(F(8,472) = 10.917, p < .001). A post-hoc analysis of j-bloggers' responses and format, using

Bonferroni's test, revealed significant differences between the readership forum and all other

formats. J-blog posts in the format of readership forum had the highest mean number of j-

bloggers' responses (M~= 4.68, SD = 7. 173), while the average number of j-bloggers' responses

in all other formats was less than one (Table 4-17).

Another one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a significant main effect of gender on j -

bloggers' responses (F(1,469) = 6.903, p < .01). Table 4-18 shows that female j-bloggers were

more likely to respond frequently to reader comments.

However, the one-way ANOVA analyses revealed no significant main effects of topic

(F(6,472) = .876, p = .513) or geographic region (F(2,472) = 2.646, p = .072) on j -bloggers's

responses.










Table 4-17. Mean number of j-bloggers' responses among formats
Format N Mean Std. Deviation
Readership forum 19 4.68 7.173
Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat 22 .77 1.510
Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record account 131 .75 2.285
Poetry 24 .54 1.414
Question-and-answer format by editors 4 .50 .577
Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 78 .46 .848
Straight column of opinion for the Web 147 .29 .633
Round-up of news summaries 17 .24 .562
Copy of articles from others with the source stated 31 .16 .374
Total 473 .65 2.142
* F(8,472) = 10.917, p <.001

Table 4-18. Mean number of j-bloggers' responses between genders
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation
Female 139 1.05 3.562
Male 331 .48 1.077
Total 470 .65 2.148
* F(1,469) = 6.903, p < .01

Also, the study found that the number of responses differed significantly depending upon

the individual j -bloggers (F(31,124) = 1.906, p = .01). Seven j -bloggers in 45 (16%) were

responsible for 71.8% of the responses. Contrary to the previous finding that female j -bloggers

were more likely to respond, six of these seven j -bloggers were male, although the only female j -

blogger in the seven responded most frequently. And among the 45 j -bloggers in this study, 12 j-

bloggers (27%) did not respond to any comments, indicating that the personal preferences or

habits of j-bloggers were important.

Hyperlinks and Multimedia

Research Question 5 looked at the use of hyperlinks and multimedia in Chinese j -blog

posts. Frequency analyses of onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, pictures, videos and audio

were applied.










Table 4-19 shows how many j -blog posts had one or more onsite hyperlinks, offsite

hyperlinks, and pictures.

Table 4-19. Frequency of onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks and pictures in j -blog posts
Quantity Frequency Percent
0 678 89.7
1 44 5.8
2 14 1.9
3 6 .8
Onsite hyperlinks 42.
5-15 11 .15
More than 15 1 .1
Total 756 100.0
0 679 89.8
1 48 6.3
2 13 1.7
3 4 .5
Offsite hyperlinks 44.
5 2 .3
More than 5 6 .8
Total 756 100.0
0 600 79.4
1-2 85 11.3
3-4 22 3
5-6 18 2.4
Pictures
7-8 16 2.2
9-15 9 .11
More than 15 6 .7
Total 756 100.0

As shown in the Table 4-19, 89.7% of j-blog posts had no onsite hyperlinks, 8.8% had 1-4

onsite hyperlinks, and the remaining .25% had more than 5 onsite hyperlinks. About 90% of j-

blog posts did not have any offsite hyperlinks, 8% had 1-2 offsite hyperlinks. Onsite hyperlinks

were more frequently used than offsite hyperlinks.

Compared with other multimedia features, pictures were the most frequently used. Nearly

80% of j-blog posts did not include pictures, 11.3% had 1-2 pictures, 5.4% had 3-6 pictures and

the remaining 4% had 7-37 pictures. For the use of video and audio, only three j -blog posts










(0.4%) had one video and five j -blog posts (0.7%) had one audio, which suggested that the

application of videos and audio was quite limited in Chinese j -blogs.

To measure the influence of topic, format, geographic region and gender on use of

hyperlinks and multimedia, one-way ANOVA analysis was used. For topic, only a significant

difference in the use of offsite hyperlinks (F(6,755) = 6.343, p < .001) was found. A post-hoc

analysis of topic and offsite hyperlink, using Bonferroni's test, revealed a significant difference

of offsite hyperlinks between topic politics/govemment/military (M~= .51, SD = 1.224) and

celebrity/entertainment (M~= .04, SD = .196), politics/govemment/military and lifestyle(M~= .06,

SD = .331). Table 4-20 shows that posts about politics/govemment/military included more

offsite hyperlinks on average while topic lifestyle and celebrity/entertainment had the least.

Table 4-20. Mean number of offsite hyperlinks among topics

Topic N Mean Std. Deviation
Offsite hyperlinks Politics, government, military 139 .51 1.224
Crime, accidents, disasters 77 .35 1.156
Science/technology 31 .23 .560
Business/economic activity 76 .21 .549
Others 61 .16 1.157
Lifestyle 321 .06 .331
C el ebrity/entertai nm ent 51 .04 .196
Total 756 .20 .798
* F(6,755) = 6.343, p < .001

A one-way ANOVA analyses revealed a significant main effect with geographic regions

on offsite hyperlink use (F(2, 755) = 3.71, p < .05). A post-hoc analysis of geographic region

and inclusion of offsite hyperlinks, using Bonferroni's test, revealed a significant difference

between the East and the West. The Eastern j -blogs lead in the use of offsite hyperlinks (M~= .31i,

SD = 1.116) while those in the West were the least likely to include them (M~= .14, SD = .463)

(Table 4-21).










Table 4-21. Mean number of offsite hyperlink among geographic regions

Geographic region N Mean Std. Deviation
Offsite hyperlinks East 246 .31 1.116
Middle 253 .15 .679
West 257 .14 .463
Total 756 .20 .798
* F(2, 755) = 3.71, p < .05

Another one-way ANOVA analyses revealed a significant main effect with geographic

regions on use of pictures (F(2,755) = .8.806, p < .001). A post-hoc analysis of geographic

region and use of pictures, using Bonferroni's test, revealed a significant difference between the

West and the other two regions. J-blog posts in the West used pictures more frequently (M~= 1.48,

SD = 3.65) than the East (M~= .3 8, SD = 1.379) and the Middle (M~= .74, SD = 3.405) (Table 4-

22).

Table 4-22. Mean number of picture among geographic regions

Geographic region N Mean Std. Deviation
Pictures West 257 1.48 3.650
East 246 .38 1.379
Middle 253 .74 3.405
Total 756 .88 3.036
* F(2,755) = 8.806, p < .001

However, there were no significant effects of geographic region on use of onsite hyperlinks

(F(2,755) = .1.567, p = .209), video (F(2,755) = .000, p = 1) or audio (F(2,755) = .205, p =.814).

A one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a significant difference in use of onsite hyperlinks

between genders (F(1, 739) = 9.369, p < .01)but no significant gender difference in use of

offsite hyperlinks (F(1, 739) = 3.445, p = .64), video (F(1, 739) = .043, p = .836), audio (F(1,

739) = .361, p = .548) or pictures (F(1, 739) = .014, p = .905) between genders.

Table 4-23 shows that female j -bloggers used more onsite hyperlinks on average (M~= .59,

SD = 2.878) than male j -bloggers (M~= .17, SD = .83 5).










Table 4-23. Mean number of onsite hyperlinks across genders
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation
Onsite hyperlinks Female 207 .59 2.878
Male 533 .17 .835
Total 740 .29 1.687
* F(1, 739) = 9.369, p < .01

A one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a significant difference in inclusion of onsite

hyperlinks (F(8, 755) = 4.326, p < .001) among formats. A post-hoc analysis, using Bonferroni's

test, revealed a significant difference in inclusion of onsite hyperlinks between the news

summary format and all the other formats except the question-and-answer and readership forum

format. Table 4-24 shows that j -blog posts in the news summary format had the highest mean

number of onsite hyperlinks (M~= 1.47, SD = 5.336). The question-and-answer format (M~= .33,

SD = .516) and rumor-mill blogs (M~= .30, SD = .973) also included relatively more onsite

hyperlinks.

Table 4-24. Mean number of onsite hyperlinks across formats
Std.
Format N Mean
Deviation
Onsite Round-up of news summaries 57 1.47 5.336
hyperlinks Question-and-answer format by editors 6 .33 .516
Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the- 11 .0 .7
record account
Readership forum 26 .27 .452
Copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 .20 1.181
Straight column of opinion for the Web 226 .15 .723
Confessional diary written by the reporter about28 .1 46
his or her beat
Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 .10 .455
Poetry 40 .00 .000
Total 756 .28 1.670
* F(8, 755) = 4.326, p < .001

A one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a significant difference in inclusion of offsite

hyperlinks (F(8, 755) = 6.425, p < .001) among formats. A post-hoc analysis, using Bonferroni's

test, revealed a significant difference in the use of offsite hyperlinks between straight opinion










columns (M~= .5, SD = 1.337) and news notebooks (M~= .06, SD = .268), rumor-mill blogs (M\~

=.05, SD = .212) and poetry (M~= .00, SD = .000). The straight opinion column format had the

highest mean number of offsite hyperlinks (Table 4-25).

Table 4-25. Mean number of offsite hyperlinks across formats
Std.
Format N Mean
Deviation
Offsite
A straight column of opinion for the Web 226 .50 1.337
hyperlinks
A question-and-answer format by editors 6 .33 .816
A round-up of news summaries 57 .18 .539
A copy of articles from others with the source
61 .15 .401
stated
A reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and
121 .06 .268
incidentals
A rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-
191 .05 .212
the-record account
A confessional diary written by the reporter about
28 .04 .189
his or her beat
A readership forum 26 .00 .000
Poetry 40 .00 .000
Total 756 .20 .798
* F(8, 755) = 4.326, p < .001

Table 4-26. Mean number of pictures across formats
Std.
Format N Mean
Deviation
Pictures A readership forum 26 2.00 6.765
A reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 1.61 2.724
A round-up of news summaries 57 1.35 3.944
A confessional diary written by the reporter about his or
28 1.00 2.357
her beat
A rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record
191 .95 3.495
account
A question-and-answer format by editors 6 .83 2.041
Poetry 40 .58 3.320
A copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 .38 1.098
A straight column of opinion for the Web 226 .35 1.959
Total 756 .88 3.036
* F(8, 755) = 2.679, p < .01

Another one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a significant difference in use of pictures (F(8,

755) = 2.679, p < .01) among formats. A post-hoc analysis using Bonferroni's test revealed a










significant difference in use of pictures between the news notebook and straight opinion column

formats. Posts in the format of news notebooks (M~= 1.61, SD = 2.724) had more pictures than

straight opinion columns (M~= .35, SD = 1.959) (Table 4-26).

Then because nearly 80% of j-blog posts in this study did not have any pictures, 89.7% had

no onsite hyperlinks and 89.8% had no offsite hyperlinks, when filtering out posts that had zero

onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, videos, audio, or pictures to analyze the influence of topic,

format, geographic region and gender on hyperlink and multimedia by one-way ANOVA

analyses, it was found that format (onsite hyperlink (F(7, 77) = .673, p = .694), offsite hyperlink

(F(6, 76) = 1.925, p = .089), picture (F(8, 155) = 1.584, p = .134)) and gender (onsite hyperlink

(F(1, 77) = 1.468, p = .229), offsite hyperlink (F(1, 76) = .072, p = .789), picture (F(1, 155) =

1.652, p = .201)) did not influence use of any hyperlink or multimedia, although the use of

offsite hyperlinks still differed significantly between topics (F(6, 76) = 2.284, p < .05) and

regions (F(2, 76) = 10.499, p < .001) in the same way; the use of pictures still differed

significant between regions (F(2, 155) = 3.072, p < .05) in the same way.

Research Question 6 examined the interrelationships between frequency of inclusion of

hyperlinks and multimedia with reader comments and j -bloggers' responses. Table 4-27 shows

the correlations among hyperlinks, multimedia, reader comments and j -bloggers' responses using

Pearson's correlation analysis. It was found that the number of reader comments was positively

related to the inclusion of onsite hyperlinks (r(756) = .111, p < .01), videos (r(756) = .160, p

< .001) and pictures (r(756) = .152, p < .001). Use of pictures was positively related with reader

comments (r(756) = 152, p <.001), j -bloggers' responses (r(756) = .094, p =.01), onsite

hyperlinks (r(756) = .203, p < .001), and videos (r(756) = .218, p < .001), which means that the

more pictures in a j -blog post, the more onsite hyperlinks and videos in that j -blog post. Also,










those j -blog posts with a larger number of pictures had more reader comments and more j -


bloggers' responses (Table 4-27).


Table 4-27.


Correlations among hyperlinks, multimedia, reader comments and responses


Journalist
Reader bloggers'
comments responses
1 .462*

.000

756


Onsite
hyperlinks
.111*

.002

756

-.002


Offsite
hyperlinks


Videos Audio Pictures


Reader
comments




Journalist
blogger
reacts


Onsite
hyperlinks


Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-
tailed)
N
Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-
tailed)
N
Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-
tailed)
N
Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-
tailed)
N


-.056 .160* -.027 .152*

.123 .000 .451 .000

756 756 756 756

-.052 .071 -.019 .094*

.155 .052 .595 .010

756 756 756 756

.001 .052 -.014 .203*


.953

756


.986 .150 .707

756 756 756

1 .011 .061


.000

756

-025

.486

756


Offsite
hyperlinks


.772 .092

756 756


Videos Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-
tailed)


1 -.005 .218*


.888

756


.000

756


Audio


Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-
tailed)


1 018


.617

756


Pictures Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2-
tailed)

* Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).









Also, the study found that 27 j -bloggers in 45 (60%) did not use onsite hyperlinks. Five j -

bloggers (1 1%) were responsible for 84% of onsite hyperlinks. Twenty-eight j -bloggers (62%)

did not have offsite hyperlinks in their blog posts. Four j-bloggers (9%) were responsible for

60% of offsite hyperlinks. Eighteen j -bloggers (40%) had no pictures at all. And another 18 j -

bloggers (40%) were responsible for 88.6% of pictures. Only three bloggers used videos, and

only two bloggers used audio.









CHAPTER 5
DISCUS SION

Blogging is a new genre of journalism that emphasizes personalization, reader participation

and story formats that are fragmented and interdependent with other websites (Wall, 2005).

When j ournalists blog, the notions of new media and traditional newspapers combine and evolve,

which would further bring changes to j ournalism and affect how people understand the reality

and truth of our society and ourselves (Robinson, 2006).

The goal of this study was to gain insight into the development of j-blogs on newspaper

websites in China, analyzing their topics, formats, hyperlink and multimedia usage, as well as the

practice of interactivity. Based on the research questions, content analysis was employed to

examine the general performance of j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China and how

the two-way communication between journalists and readers in China is broadened by j -blogs.

Specifically, the research focused on two factors, geographic location of newspapers hosting j -

blogs and gender of j-bloggers, to determine how they influences the characteristics of Chinese j-

blogs.

Topic and Format of Chinese Journalists' Blogs

This study revealed that the most frequently addressed topic in Chinese j-blog posts was

lifestyle (42.5%), within which education, health, family/parenting, pop culture, leisure life and

human interests were covered with a high frequency. In fact, many j -bloggers in China were

interested in talking about their private lives and their families, which had nothing to do with

their work as journalists. For example, many j -bloggers were brand-new mothers who used their

j -blogs to record their babies' growth. Politics/government/military was the second most highly

ranked (18.4%) topic of j-blog posts in China. Business/economic activity (10.3%) and









crime/disasters (10.2%) were frequently written about in j -blogs in China as well. However,

science/technology and celebrity/entertainment were the least common topics.

The study also found that the most often used formats in Chinese j -blog posts were the

straight opinion column (29.9%), the rumor-mill blog (25.3%) and the reporter' s notebook of

news tidbits and incidentals (16%). Compared with the seven categories of j-blogs' formats in

the U. S. (Robinson, 2006), more Chinese j -bloggers preferred to cite articles (8. 1%) and write

poetry (5.3%). About 7.5% of j-blog posts in China were formatted as news summaries.

Interestingly, some Chinese j-bloggers only summarized news from their newspapers or posted

news stories they wrote.

Nevertheless, from the perspective of format, it seems that Chinese j -bloggers put more

emphasis on conveying their own opinion and talking about their own lives, with less intention to

actively engage readers in their j -blogs, because j -blog posts in the question-and-answer and

readership forum formats were lease common. However, there were some j -bloggers inviting

readers for group activities, like climbing mountains or attending lectures, in their j -blogs.

The study found that, for politics/government/military, business/economic and

crime/accidents/disasters issues, Chinese j-bloggers preferred to express their own opinions

rather than citing facts or ideas from others, because 48.8% of j-blog posts about

politics/government/military, 50.7% of j-blog posts about business/economic activities, and

39. 1% of j-blog posts about crime/accidents/disasters took the format of a straight column of

opinion. Journalists expressed original opinions on their j -blogs, providing their own thinking on

some political and social subj ects. It was observed that they were not supportive of the

government or the authority all the time. In fact, many j -blog posts studied were quite critical on

some governmental issues.









It was revealed that half of the lifestyle j -blog posts, which accounted for a big portion

(42.5%) of j-blog posts in China, were rumor-mill blogs maintained as collections of rumors or

records of the reporters' own life that did not necessarily relate to the news and may not even

have any focus. For the format that simply provided copies of articles, the highest percent (25%)

was in the topic of science/technology. The reason lies in the fact that science/technology is the

kind of information that needs very specific knowledge to report. Citing articles, especially from

famous sources, will be an easier and more convenient way for j-bloggers to bring important

news of science and technology to readers.

The study found that geographic region and gender both exerted influences on topic and

format of j-blog posts in China.

Previous studies have demonstrated the influence of China' s geographic regions on

economic status, distribution of newspapers and newspaper websites, as well as the adoption of

the Internet and other new technology (He, & Zhu, 2002; Fram, Lu, & McHardy, 2004; Liu &

Li, 2006). When collecting j -blogs for the study population, the researcher found that the number

of j-blogs in East China far exceeded the number of those in the West and the Middle, which was

consistent with previous research on newspaper and newspaper website distributions in China

(He, & Zhu, 2002).

The study found that, although the most common topics in all of three regions in China

were the same lifestyle and politics, some topics were more popular in a region than in the

other two regions. It was revealed that j -blog posts about lifestyle and crime/accidents/di sasters

were more popular in East China; j -blog posts covering politics and economics were more

popular in the West. This phenomenon could be explained by the different degrees of economic

development in the three regions. East China is the part of the country where economics is highly









developed. It has the most large global cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, and is the frontier of

China's opening to the world (China Knowledge, 2007; Keidel, 2007). Because people in the

East have been more affluent than those in the Middle and the West, journalists in the East

covered more stories about lifestyle and crime to cater to people' s need to enj oy a good life.

Middle and West China are relatively poor parts of the country. The fact that j journalists in these

two regions talked more about politics, economics and science implied that people there were

more attentive to opportunities to improve their economic status.

Regarding the formats, the most frequently used format in East China was rumor-mill blog

(33.3%); the most often used format of j-blogs in Middle and West China was straight opinion

column, followed by rumor-mill blog and news notebook format. It was also found that j -

bloggers in the East used more readership forums and citations of articles, compared with the

Middle and the West. Generally, journalists in East China have adopted the Internet for a longer

time and to a greater extent. They seem more likely to collect information and cite news stories

online. As experience with the Internet has grown, journalists in the East have been able to

develop the j -blogs for two-way communication with readers. In contrast, j-bloggers in the

Middle were more likely to summarize news (13.8%) and write poetry (9.9%) in their j -blogs;

and the straight opinion column was the most frequently used format in Middle (26.9%) and

West China (37%). The cultural factors weigh in on this issue. Because the central and western

part of China are less open to the world, journalists there have been holding more tightly with

traditional values and established news principles. They strictly referred to traditional rules of

news writing and j ournalistic formats even in their j -blogs. To them, the differences between j -

blogs and newspapers seem still not that big.









The influence of gender on traditional j ournalism and new media, as well as the gender

differences in Intemet use and blogging in China have been well documented (CNNIC, July

2007; Lu, 2006). Consistent with previous research on the digital gender gap in the U.S.

(Morahan-Martin, 1998; Harp & Tremayne, 2006; Herring, Kouper, Scheidt, & Wright, 2004),

the researcher found that most j -blogs on Chinese newspaper websites were maintained by males.

There were more male j -bloggers (70.5%) than female j -bloggers (27.4%) in China in this

sample, which was consistent with the fact that male j journalists were still the maj ority in news

rooms, accounting for more than 60% of the j ournalist population in China (Lu, 2006).

The data show that the gender of j-bloggers affected the topic and format. Male j -bloggers

in China were more likely to cover politics/government/military and science/technology. Female

j-bloggers were more likely to talk about lifestyle. These findings demonstrated that male and

female j-bloggers in China have been conforming to the social roles set in gender theory when

practicing journalism.

Gender theory suggested that the behaviors of women in their real life are greatly

influenced by expected gender roles, which hold that males are supposed to be more concerned

with the political realm and external events, while females are largely limited within home,

family and domestic affairs (Donovan, 1994; Harp & Tremayne, 2006). In the era of the Intemet,

real-life gender dynamics are reproduced online (Herring, Scheidt, Bonus, & Wright, 2004).

China is a very traditional society, within which people retain most of these presumptions for

gender roles even in journalistic practices such as j-blogging.

For the format of posts, male j -bloggers were revealed to be more likely to use straight

opinion columns (34.7%) while female j -bloggers were more likely to run rumor-mill blogs

(40. 1%). These findings were quite similar to the results of blog research in the U. S. and Europe,









which has shown that men tended to have a more authoritative manner in their conversation style

and write opinion-focused blogs, while women were more interested in gossip and

communication of feelings or thoughts (Herring, & Paolillo, 2006; Pedersen, & Macafee, 2007;

Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006).

Interactivity and Gatekeeping in Journalists' Blogs in China

Interactivity is an important aspect of the Internet. Studies have revealed that Internet

users' satisfaction with navigation and usability increased when a website offered a greater level

of involvement (Kamali & Loker, 2002). Regarding interactivity, blogs have been said to offer

interactivity at a higher rate than normal Web pages through the higher frequency of hyperlinks

and feedback features (Trammell, 2004). While hyperlinks in the j -blogs can be considered as

user-to-system interactivity, reader comments and j -blogger responses can be taken as user-to-

user interactivity, or more exactly, two-way communication between readers and j journalists.

Interactivity in j -blogs has been marked by the degree to which users control content, have the

opportunity to contribute to a blog, and transcend passive exposure (Peng, Tham, & Xiaoming,

1999). For j -bloggers, it is necessary to consider options for the public to respond, interact or

even customize certain stories (Deuze, 2003).

To study the interactivity between readers and j -bloggers, reader comment and response

from j -bloggers were the main variables examined here. Most j -blogs on newspaper websites in

China, at least all of the j -blog posts in this study, allowed comments, which can be understood

as a signal from traditional Chinese newspapers to welcome open communication with readers,

although whether these reader comments were moderated is not clear.

There were many j -blog posts (37.4%) that had no comments. Nevertheless, because a

great many (62.6%) posts had one or more comments, it appears that j -blog readers in China

have started to comment and let j -bloggers know their views about issues covered.









The study found that reader comment in Chinese j-blog posts differed significantly across

topics, formats, geographic regions and genders. Partly due to the fact that there were more

Internet users in the East and the Internet adoption rate was higher in the East than in the Middle,

j-blog readers in the East commented most frequently, with the highest mean number of reader

comments, while people in the Middle commented least frequently.

Female j -bloggers won over male j -bloggers in the frequency and mean number of reader

comments, which was consistent with previous studies claiming that women had stronger social

interaction motivations online (Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006). However, it

could also be an artifact of topic or format (Herring & Paolillo, 2006), because female j -bloggers

were more likely to talk about certain topics and use certain formats, and these topics or formats

were the ones that most likely to have reader comments.

It was found that 66.2% of j-blog posts about crime/accidents/disasters, 64.7% of

celebrity/entertainment, and 62% of lifestyle and business/economic activity had comments.

However, only 48.4% of the science/technology posts got comments. J-blog posts with higher

mean numbers of reader comments were about celebrity/entertainment, lifestyle and

crime/accident/di sasters. Thi s can be understood to mean that readers were more interested and

more concerned about topics of crime, celebrity and lifestyle. They had more opinions and

feedback on these topics. On the other hand, science and technology was not so popular among

readers and also not that easy for people to talk about because it requires specific knowledge and

deep understanding on the subj ect.

The study found that nearly 79% of the confessional diary blog, 73% of the readership

columns, 69% of the rumor-mill blogs and 67% of the question-and answer format had one or

more reader comments. The most comments, 59, appeared in a blog post with the format of a









readership forum, in which the j -blogger invited her readers to climb mountains together for the

weekend. Surprisingly, j -blog posts in the format of confessional diary were the highest in

frequency of comments. Because these confessional diaries written by j -bloggers were always

about their opinions for their news beats or feelings and experiences of covering some news

stories, it implied that Chinese readers were quite interested in knowing stories behind news.

J-blog posts with a higher mean number of comments included the formats of question-

and-answer and readership forum, which were also high in the frequency of reader comments. In

other words, adopting the question-and-answer and readership forum formats is quite helpful to

encourage readers to comment and communicate with j -bloggers. But, as mentioned before,

these two formats were the least used in Chinese j -blogs. Therefore, if Chinese j -bloggers want

to engage readers in j -blogs and know more about what readers are thinking about, they should

adjust their minds and make good use of formats such as readership forum in the future.

The analysis of the j -bloggers' responses showed that j -bloggers in China have started to

communicate with readers and cared about what they say and feel. The data showed that 26% of

j -blog posts with one or more reader comments had j -bloggers' responses. However, there were

74% of j-blog posts with at least one reader comment and no response from j -bloggers, and only

9.9% of j-blog posts with one or more reader comments had more than one response, which

suggested that still a great many j-bloggers in China have been missing out on opening up a

dialogue with readers. As a matter of fact, the study found that seven j -bloggers in 45 (16%)

were responsible for 71.8% of the responses and the remaining 3 8 j -bloggers were not very

responsive. Among the 45 j -bloggers in this study, 12 j-bloggers (27%) did not respond to any

comments, indicating that the response rate differs significantly depending upon the individual j-

bloggers, and the personal preferences or habits of j-bloggers are important. Some j -bloggers










may intend to communicate more with readers or are more familiar or comfortable with the way

to communicate with readers through j-blogs. In addition, the researcher found, in some cases,

that those who frequently left comments in a j-blog were the co-workers of the j -blogger. In

other words, reader comments are not only left by readers but also by other j journalists.

Accordingly, the development of interactivity among readers and journalists online, as well as

journalists and readers' desire to participate in online journalism in China, may still lie in the

early stage.

It was also revealed that j -blog posts with more reader comments were more likely to have

more j -bloggers' responses. A blog post that inspired many comments might make the j -blogger

feel it was important to respond. It is evident that some j -bloggers in China have begun to deploy

a strategy of interactive dialogue with readers. By adopting j -blogs on their websites, traditional

newspapers in China went beyond providing news and opinion to promote interactivity, in which

the role of gatekeeper is shared by both j oumalists and readers.

Gatekeeping theory proposes that j journalists are the ones who select and deliver

information that flows over the communication channel, shaping what should be finally

presented, hence implicitly defining the limits of discourse on public issues (Shoemaker,

Eichholz, Kim, & Wrigley, 2001; White, 1950; Reese & Ballinger, 2001). In this way, the gate

swings only one way from the j oumalists outward. Only information available to the j ournalist is

allowed out to audiences based on the decisions of j oumalists (Watson, 2003). However, the

existence of reader comments in Chinese j -blogs makes it possible for readers to j oin the game

and publish information on newspaper websites (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2001). As a matter of fact,

62.6% of all posts studied had one or more reader comments. Obviously, getting rid of the

traditional role as passive audience, readers in China intend to further participate in news










productions through ways such as commenting on j -blog posts, which helps their voices to be

heard and their opinions to be noticed by journalists. By blogging and responding to readers,

journalists are able to provide more news and opinions to readers. As a result, Chinese j -blogs

make the gate swing both ways so that information and opinion flow from the j journalists to their

readers as well as from readers back to the j journalists, creating a more open environment.

In fact, it was observed that there were different kinds of comments in Chinese j -blogs,

which can be generally categorized into five types: 1) views toward the content of the j -blog post;

2) adding information to the j -blog post; 3) responses to other readers who had left comments; 4)

providing news tips to j journalists or responding to content from the newspaper that the j -blogger

works for; 5) off-topic content, like advertisements.

The study found that j -bloggers' responses differed greatly according to format or gender.

J-blog posts as readership forums had the highest mean number of responses compared with

other formats. Again, it means that formats such as a readership forum are a good choice to open

the doors for two-way communication, and the use of such format should be highly encouraged

among Chinese j -bloggers. Female j -bloggers were found to respond more frequently to readers.

Although the study also found that six of seven j -bloggers that most frequently responded to

readers were male, which seems contrary to the previous finding, the format may have been a

greater factor on this issue. No j -blog posts by females used the question-and-answer format, but

1.1% of posts by males in this study did, and these six j -bloggers of the seven were revealed to

be mainly responsible for using this format. When male j -bloggers chose to use the question-and-

answer format, they were deliberately responding to readers. It was often the case that female j-

bloggers in China made friends with readers, caring about their happiness and chatting about

daily life with readers through comments and responses. Other researchers have also found that









women were more likely to use blogs as a communication tool for social interactions (Trammell,

Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006).

Hyperlinks and Multimedia in Chinese Journalists' Blogs

J-bloggers as well as many other online j journalists have to decide which media formats,

for example videos, audio or pictures, can best offer information, which is the ideal way to

connect a story to other archives and resources (Deuze, 2003). Research about the role of

hyperlinks and multimedia in blogs has shown that application of hyperlinks and multimedia in

blogs is not only an issue of technology and skills but also an issue of understanding and

developing a different, diverging journalistic news culture (Deuze, 2003).

Chinese j -blogs demonstrated low use of hyperlinks and multimedia: 89.7% of j-blog posts

had no onsite hyperlinks; 89.8% of j-blog posts included zero offsite hyperlinks; 79.4% of j-blog

posts did not have pictures. There were very few j -blog posts containing video and audio; and no

audio and photo slideshows were found in Chinese j -blogs. All these facts revealed that the

application of hyperlinks and multimedia is quite limited in j -blogs in China now, which may

result from Chinese j -bloggers' limited understandings of technologies related with the Internet

and blogs.

The most frequently used feature was photographs. Hyperlinks in Chinese j -blogs are

mainly used as a means to familiarize readers with background information and promote the j-

blogger' s own stance on issues discussed. Onsite hyperlinks (M~= .29) were more frequently

used than offsite hyperlinks (M~= .20), indicating that Chinese j-bloggers relied more on their

own newspapers for linked materials. Interestingly, a maj ority of offsite hyperlinks were directed

to those well-known newspaper or news agency websites in China such as People's Daily

(www.people.com.cn) and Xinhua News Agency (www.xinhuanet.com), or the main news Web

portals, like Sina (news.sina.com.cn) and 163 (news. 163.com), which perhaps are the main









online news resources and most often visited websites by journalists in China. Most hyperlinks

in Chinese j -blogs were to texts rather than multimedia such as video and audio, which again

implied that multimedia remains an untapped resource for j -blogs in China.

The study showed that the number of offsite hyperlinks differed by topic. J-blogs about

politics/government/military and crime/accidents/di sasters had the highest mean number of

offsite hyperlinks, while lifestyle and celebrity/entertainment posts had the lowest means. The

reason may lie in the facts that 1) on the serious issues like politics, j -bloggers wanted readers to

look at the original source; 2) when covering hard news like politics and crime, j -bloggers had to

look up offsite hyperlinks for comprehensive information. In contrast, for the soft news like

lifestyle and entertainment, offsite hyperlinks were not that necessary and important.

Geographic region was revealed to have a significant effect on use of offsite hyperlinks

and use of pictures. The highest mean number of offsite hyperlinks was in the East and the

lowest in the Middle, consistent with the results of previous research showing that the highest

rates of new technology adoption and Intemet usage were in the East (Keidel, 2007).

Surprisingly, the study found that j -blog posts from the West were the highest in mean number of

pictures. Re-examining the population of the study, it was found that three j -bloggers in 15 from

the West were photoj journalists, who were more likely to post pictures, while only one j -blogger

from the Middle and none from the East were photoj oumalists.

Gender also had a significant effect on use of onsite hyperlinks. Female j -bloggers on used

more onsite hyperlinks average than male j -bloggers.

Format was revealed to have a significant effect on use of onsite hyperlinks, offsite

hyperlinks and pictures. J-blog posts in the format of news summaries had the highest mean

number of onsite hyperlinks due to the fact that, when summarizing news, j -bloggers often used









onsite hyperlinks to link to the complete story. The format of straight opinion column had the

highest mean number of offsite hyperlinks, which were used to provide background information

and help readers to understand j -bloggers' opinions; this format had the lowest mean number of

pictures.

Another interesting finding was that when filtering out all the j -blog posts with zero onsite

hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, videos, audio, or pictures to analyze the influence of topic, format,

geographic region and gender on hyperlinks and multimedia, it was found that format and gender

no longer had any significant influence on hyperlinks and multimedia, although the use of offsite

hyperlinks still differed significantly between topics and regions in the same way, and use of

pictures still differed significantly between regions in the same way, compared with the results

without filtering.

The examination of the interrelationships among frequency of hyperlinks, multimedia,

reader comments and j -bloggers' responses revealed that use of pictures is positively related with

use of onsite hyperlinks, videos, reader comments, and j-bloggers' responses, which means that

the more pictures in a j-blog post, the more onsite hyperlinks and videos. Those j -bloggers who

posted more pictures in their j -blogs were more likely to use hyperlinks and other advanced

multimedia technology, like video.

In addition, the study found that reader comments were positively related with j -bloggers'

responses, onsite hyperlinks, videos and pictures. The more pictures, onsite hyperlinks and

videos j -blog posts had, the more reader comments in that j -blog post. There is an implication

that adding hyperlinks and multimedia features such as photos and videos in j -blogs can

encourage readers to comment.









What' s more, the study found that the number of j-blogger responses was positively related

with use of pictures in the j -blog posts. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that the more j -

bloggers engaged in multimedia use, the more attention they paid to their j -blogs, and the more

they would like to communicate with readers. J-bloggers' responding is an obvious way to

enhance communication.

Regarding hyperlinks and multimedia, the study found that 27 j -bloggers (60%) did not use

any onsite hyperlinks. Twenty eight j -bloggers (62%) did not have any offsite hyperlinks in their

blog posts. Twenty j -bloggers (44.4%) used neither onsite hyperlinks nor offsite hyperlinks.

Eighteen j -bloggers (40%) used no pictures at all. Five j -bloggers (1 1%) were responsible for

84% of onsite hyperlinks. Four j -bloggers (9%) were responsible for 60% of offsite hyperlinks.

Eighteen j -bloggers (40%) were responsible for 88.6% of pictures. This suggests that the use of

hyperlinks and multimedia depended heavily upon individual j -bloggers. If a j-blogger

understands blogging, perhaps he or she is more likely to use more pictures, hyperlinks and

multimedia. Chinese j -bloggers' preferences and habits of using hyperlinks and multimedia, as

well as their familiarity with the technology, might influence how they manage their blogs

overall. For example, if they understand blogging better, they may use certain formats such as

question-and answer and readership forum, more frequently, and include more videos and audio

to make their j -blogs more interesting.









CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION

Limitations and Future Research

First, because there was neither a complete directory of j-blogs on Chinese newspaper

websites nor an authoritative list of newspapers in China that was publicly available, although

the researcher tried every possible way to collect j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland

China and compile them together into a complete list, the population of this study still cannot be

demonstrated to be comprehensive and inclusive.

Second, because the sample for this study was the j -blog posts on newspaper websites in

China and not on non-newspaper websites, it is likely that these j -bloggers have some constraints

such as professional reputation, business evaluation, and editorial supervision. This may directly

influence the performance of j ournalists on blogging. Many Chinese j journalists have maintained

blogs on large blog portals such as Hexun (blog.hexun.com) and Sina (blog.sina.com.cn), where

their identity as journalists and the newspapers they work for are not recognized. If all those j-

blogs could be included into the sample, the study would be more comprehensive.

For future research, from the perspective of j-bloggers, their motivation for maintaining j -

blogs, the pressure and barriers faced in the practice, their attitudes toward technology like

multimedia, can be studied through interviews. Those j -blogs with great popularity can be

studied to reveal the basic features of a successful j -blogs. From the perspective of readers, who

these readers are and their characteristics, their motivations for reading and commenting on posts,

their attitudes toward j -blog credibility and their perceptions of j-blog content, are also in need of

analysis. From the perspective of interactivity, continued research on the content of reader

comments, whether j journalists are influenced by reader comments and how, whether readers are

affected by j -blogs and how, can bring in deeper understanding about two-way communication










and gatekeeping in j-blogs. From the perspective of multimedia, it will be interesting to study the

type of pictures, hyperlinks, video and audio that j -blogs use; how j -bloggers differ in using

multimedia; why the influence of format and gender on multimedia and hyperlinks differed when

filtered. Further research examining correlations among hyperlinks, multimedia use and reader

comments can also help us to know more about j -blogs.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Overall, this study of j-blogs on newspaper websites in China was a small attempt to

review the development of these blogs, examining their basic characteristics and analyzing the

influence of geographic region and gender on j-blogs. Theoretically, this study proposed to re-

conceptualize gatekeeping theory in j -blogs in China and apply gender theory on Chinese j -blogs.

It was found that the topic and format of j-blogs differed by geographic regions and genders.

Significant main effects with topic, format, region and gender were found on reader comments.

Gender and format were revealed to influence j -bloggers' responses. Correlations between reader

comments and j -bloggers' responses, onsite hyperlinks, videos and pictures, as well as

correlations between pictures and onsite hyperlinks, videos, reader comments, and j -bloggers'

responses, were revealed.

The Internet has posed big challenges to the traditional journalism in China. At the same

time, it offers j oumalists more opportunities for new j ournalistic practices such as j -blogs. It

seems that j journalists in China have been adapting themselves to the new media environment

and building the authority of traditional news organizations online. They have become j -bloggers,

covering issues like lifestyle, politics/govemment/military, business/economic activity and

crime/accidents/disasters, using the formats of rumor-mill blogs, straight column of j oumalist' s

opinion, and reporter' s news notebook frequently. The format of j-blog posts varied by topics.










Also, j -bloggers have started to use hyperlinks and pictures to convey stories, yet are still in the

infancy stage of video and audio applications.

Realizing that the mechanism of the Internet technically gives equal rights of speech to

users, and that j journalists can no longer be the ones to control the news decisions, Chinese j -

bloggers are gradually adapting their traditional role of gatekeepers to sense-makers who support

the value of information they distribute and are concerned with reader opinion. Thanks to the

participatory nature of the Internet and the increasing amount of information available online,

readers are able to make their own decisions on news and let j journalists know what they think

and what they want directly. By commenting on j -blog posts and using hyperlinks in their

comments, readers open the gate of news decisions and allow the information to flow both ways,

not only from journalists to readers but also from readers back to j journalists. A new relationship

with more interactivity between journalists and a democratized public is coming into being in

China.

Geographic region proved to be influential on Chinese j -blogs. Economic and cultural

differences among the East, Middle and West China affected the topics and formats seen in j-

blogs. Newspapers in East China had overwhelming advantages over other regions in the

development of j-blogs, in both quantity and quality. J-bloggers in East China were more active

in using hyperlinks and interacting with readers.

Differences between male and female j -bloggers were found as well. Generally, there

were more male j -bloggers in China. Male and female j -bloggers differed in choosing topics and

formats for blogs. However, female j -bloggers seemed to be more active in communicating with

readers.










The landscape of journalism in China is changing. At this time, j -blogs are a practice of

traditional Chinese newspapers with new media and online j ournalism. J-blogs in China may

assume the role of educating both journalists and readers for a more open atmosphere of public

discourse, encouraging more communication and interactivity. It is still too early to say whether

the development of j-blogs on newspaper websites in China is a fad or a trend that will develop

into an important part of media. However, j -blogs have been bringing fresh air to the traditional

Chinese newspapers and will exert some influence on the changing journalism landscape in

China.









APPENDIX A
CONTENT ANALYSIS CODEBOOK

Coder name (Coders to write down their name)

Coding date (Coders to write down the date that the coding is taking place)

ID (Coders to write down the identification number assigned to the j -blog post for content

analysis)



Variable list:

1. Newspaper affiliation

2. URL of j-blog post

3. Name or online ID of the j-blogger

4. Gender of j-blogger

5. Geographic region of the newspaper hosting the j-blog

6. Topic of each j -blog post

7. Number of comments from readers in each j -blog post

8. Number of responses from the j -blogger for each j -blog post

9. Number of onsite hyperlinks in each j -blog post

10. Number of offsite hyperlinks in each j -blog post

1 1. Number of video included in each j -blog post

12. Number of audio included in each j -blog post

13. Number of pictures included in each j -blog post

14. Format of j-blog post









Variable definitions:

1. Newspaper affiliation

This variable records the host of the j -blog, the name of the newspaper that the j -blog is

affiliated with.

1 = City Express (Dushikuaibao)

2 = Zhejiang Daily (Zhejiangribao)

3 = Liaoshen Evening News (Liaoshenwanbao)

4 = Xinwen Morning News (Xinwenchenbao)

5 = Xinwen Evening News (Xinwenwanbao)

6 = Qilu Evening News (Qiluwanbao)

7 = Xinmin Evening News (Xinmingwanbao)

8 = Southern Weekend (Nanfangzhoumo)

9 = Yangzhou Evening News (Yangzhouwanbao)

10 = Huasheng News (Huashengbao)

11 = New Culture (Xinwenhuabao)

12 = Hubei Daily (Hubeiribao)

13 = Dahe News (Dahebao)

14 = Nanyang Daily (Nanyangribao)

15 = Wuhu Daily (Wuhuribao)

16 = Chongqing Evening News (Chongqingwanbao)

17 = Ningxia Evening News (Ningxiawanbao)

18 = Ningxia Daily (Ningxiaribao)

19 = Modern Life (Xiandai shenghuobao)










20 = Chongqing Morning News (Chongqingzaobao)

21 = Chongqing Daily (Chongqingribao)

22 = Henan Business News (Henanshangbao)



2. URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of j-blog

This variable records the address of each j -blog post online.



3. Name or online ID of the j-blogger

This variable is the name or the online ID of the j-blogger shown in the j -blog profile.



4. Gender of the j -blogger

This variable is the gender of the j -blogger identified in the j -blog profile.

1 = Male

2 = Female

0 = Unknown



5. Geographic region of the newspaper hosting the j -blog

This variable measures where the newspaper hosting the j -blog located. Coders will

identify the location of the newspaper by its name, or in the introduction of newspaper on its

website, or by the address provided on the newspaper website.

1 = East (including Provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu,

Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan)









2 = Middle (including Provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan,

Anhui and Jiangxi)

3 = West (including Provinces of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou,

Yunnan, Tibet, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang)



6. Topic of each j -blog post

This variable measures what content the j-blog covers. This code will tell us the topic of

each post in the j -blog. Based on Deutschmann' s scheme (1989) and Plopper' s category (1991)

of newspaper content, the following category of possible topics of j-blog post was established:

1. Politics, government and military (including administration, government related

activities, laws, war, and defense);

2. Business/economic activity (including budgets, taxes, finance, money-related items, and

features on businesses or utilities);

3. Crime, accidents, disasters (including alleged crime incidents, accidents, disasters, court

proceedings and decisions, and any investigations involving any of the items in this category);

4. Science/technology (including development of science, medical research, and high

technology);

5. Celebrity/entertainment (including entertainment, celebrity events/figures, and celebrity

scandal s);

6. Lifestyle (including education, religion, art/music, sports/health, travel, cooking/food,

family/parenting, pop culture and human interest);

7. Other (including all the other topics that do not fall into previous categories).

1 = Politics, government and military










2 = Business/economic activity

3= Crime, accidents and disasters

4 = Science/technology

5 = C el ebrity/entertai nm ent

6 = Lifestyle

7 = Other




7. Number of comments from readers in each j -blog post

This variable measures whether readers respond to the post of the j -blog and the number of

comments from readers. Because the ID of each post writer in the j -blogs is identifiable, it is

reasonable to take posts from people with IDs different from the j -blogger as comments from

readers. Coders will identify the comments from readers after each j -blog post and count them.

There are some reasons that readers do not leave any comment at all. So, if coders cannot find

any comment from readers on the j -blog but there is a place for readers to comment, coders will

take that readers are reluctant to comment for the post and put 0. If coders can find no way to

leave comments after j -blog post, coders will call or email the newspaper hosting the j -blog to

find out whether comment is forbidden or there are other reasons for showing no comment on the

j-blog. If comments from readers are forbidden, coders will put -1.

O = Comments allowed but no comment from readers

-1 = Comments are not allowed

Actual number of comments from readers if there is any



8. Number of responses from the j-blogger for each j -blog post









This variable measures whether the j -blogger responds to readers' comments. Coders will

find if there is any post from the j -blogger after reader comments behind each post, which react

to readers' idea. If there is no reaction from the j -bloggers after readers' comments, then coders

put 0. If there is any, coders will count them and write down the number.



9. Number of onsite hyperlinks in each j -blog post

This variable measures whether there are hyperlinks in each j -blog post that links to some

content on the same newspaper website and the number of such hyperlinks included.



10. Number of offsite hyperlinks in each j -blog post

This variable measures whether the content hyperlinked in the j -blog post is on other

websites instead of the newspaper website hosting the j -blog and count the number of such

hyperlinks.



1 1. Number of video included in each j -blog post

This variable measures if there is any video clip included in the posts of the j -blogger and

how many. Coders will count the total number of video embedded in the post of the j -blogger.



12. Number of audio included in each j -blog post

This variable measures if there is any audio included in each post of the j -blogger and how

many. Coders will count the number of audio embedded in each j -blog post.



13. Number of pictures included in each j -blog post









Coders first find out whether there is any news photo, other photo or other image in the

post of the j -blogger and count the number of pictures included in each post.



14. Format of j-blog post

This variable measures what kind of format j -blogs assume. Based on Robinson' s

categorization (2006) of seven j -blog formats and a preliminary review of some j -blogs on

newspaper websites in Mainland China, the format of j-blog can be categorized into nine types.

The first seven types are from Robinson's literature. The last two are added by the researcher as

categories appearing in the j -blogs in China.

1 = Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals (for example, some small news

stories collected or read by the j -blogger)

2 = Straight column of opinion for the Web (for example, expression of personal opinion

for some news or incidentals for the Web)

3 = Question-and-answer format by editors (for example, a list of collected answers for

some questions previously received from readers)

4 = Readership forum (for example, a call for readers' suggestions or news clues to give

people an opportunity to make their concerns known, a place for j ournalists and readers to

communicate with each other)

5 = Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat (for example, an

excerpt from the blog of Global's Mike Edgell "In my career so far, I have met people who have

been victimized in every way possible I think. Sometimes they pop into my head months or even

years later....I think of that woman who was chopped in pieces by her boyfriend and the

interview I did with the killer before he was arrested and how many lives he affected. I think









about an immigrant family in ottawa that lost everything it had built in Canada in a fire with no

insurance. There are so many.")

6 = Round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication (for example, a

summary of important last-season-news from the newspaper where the j -blogger works or a

review of news stories written by the j -blogger for the past half year)

7 = Rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record account (for example,

release of rumors or some information not proved true that are not so appropriate for publication,

like some speculation or conj ecture by the j -blogger; or records of the reporter' s own life)

8 = Copy of articles from others with the source stated (for example, some journalists read

some interesting stories and want to share it in the j -blog with readers. So they copy the article in

the blog with the source stated instead of merely giving a hyperlink)

9 = Poetry (some poems or verses created and posted by the j -blogger)









APPENDIX B
CODING SHEET

Coder name (circle one):

1 = Fangfang Gao

2 = Yan Lin

Coding date: // 2008

ID of the j -blog post:



Please read the entire j-blog post first and code the information below.

1. Newspaper affiliation of j-blog (Circle one):

1 = City Express (Dushikuaibao)

2 = Zhejiang Daily (Zhejiangribao)

3 = Liaoshen Evening News (Liaoshenwanbao)

4 = Xinwen Morning News (Xinwenchenbao)

5 = Xinwen Evening News (Xinwenwanbao)

6 = Qilu Evening News (Qiluwanbao)

7 = Xinmin Evening News (Xinmingwanbao)

8 = Southern Weekend (Nanfangzhoumo)

9 = Yangzhou Evening News (Yangzhouwanbao)

10 = Huasheng News (Huashengbao)

11 = New Culture (Xinwenhuabao)

12 = Hubei Daily (Hubeiribao)

13 = Dahe News (Dahebao)

14 = Nanyang Daily (Nanyangribao)









15 = Wuhu Daily (Wuhuribao)

16 = Chongqing Evening News (Chongqingwanbao)

17 = Ningxia Evening News (Ningxiawanbao)

18 = Ningxia Daily (Ningxiaribao)

19 = Modern Life (Xiandai shenghuobao)

20 = Chongqing Morning News (Chongqingzaobao)

21 = Chongqing Daily (Chongqingribao)

22 = Henan Business News (Henanshangbao)

2. URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of j-blog post:

3. Name or online ID of the j-blogger:

4. Gender of the j -blogger (circle one):

1 = Male 2 = Female 0 = Unknown

5. Geographic region of the newspaper hosting the j-blog (circle one):

1 = East 2 = Middle 3 = West

6. Topic (circle one):

1 = Politics, government and military

2 = Business/economic activity

3= Crime, accidents and disasters

4 = Science/technology

5 = C el ebrity/entertai nm ent

6 = Lifestyle

7 = Other










7. Number of comments from readers (If there is no comment, circle 0 or -1; if there is any

comment, count the number and write it down):

0 = Comments allowed but no comment from readers

-1 = Comments are not allowed

8. Number of j-blogger responses:

9. Number of onsite hyperlinks:

10. Number of offsite hyperlinks:

11i. Number of video included:

12. Number of audio included:

13. Number of pictures included:

14. Format of the j -blog post (circle one):

1 = Reporter' s notebook of news tidbits and incidentals

2 = Straight column of opinion for the Web

3 = Question-and-answer format by editors

4 = Readership forum

5 = Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat

6 = Round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication

7 = Rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record account

8 = Copy of articles from others with the source stated

9 = Poetry









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Fangfang Gao was born in China. She received her B.A. in journalism and communication

as well as a bachelor' s degree in finance, economics, from Zhejiang University, China, in 2005.

During her college time, she was a reporter for the school paper and the city newspaper. Prior to

her graduate study, Gao worked in Chinese government for one year. She graduated from

University of Florida in August 2008 with a M.A.M.C and continues studying at UF for her Ph.D.





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EXAMINING JOURNALISTS BLOGS AND TH EIR IMPLICATIONS FOR JOURNALISM IN MAINLAND CHINA: A CONTENT ANAL YSIS OF JOURNALISTS BLOGS ON CHINESE NEWSPAPER WEBSITES By FANGFANG GAO A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008 1

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2008 Fangfang Gao 2

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3 To my dear parents

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I acknowledge with gratitude the help, suppor t, and patience of Me linda McAdams, my advisor, and Kim Walsh-Childers as well as Renee Martin-Kratzer, my committee members. Over the past two years, my understanding of journalism and thi nking on new media have greatly benefited from the insight and wisdom of my committee members as well as some other professors in the College of Journalism and Communications. Professor Melinda McAdams, my committee chair who opened the door of new media study for me, was such a knowledgeable and dedicated instructor that gave me invaluable help for my thesis and enlightened me on my interest ed academic area. Her endless aspirations toward life and research motivate my fu ture life. Dr. Kim Walsh-Childers was my first mentor who directed and supported my voyage in the realm of journalism study in the U.S. She sincerely understood my struggles as an in ternational student and helped me to overcome barriers in pursuing my graduate study. Dr. Renee Martin-K ratzer generously shared her wealth of knowledge in methodology with me and offered me from time to time great suggestions on the design and analysis of this res earch. She spared no time and effort in leading me through the whole research process. I would like to thank al l of them for the help and guidance in bringing my thesis into being as a ni ce ending of my masters study. My parents, although thousands of miles away, provided me immense support, both spiritually and financially, so that I cannot ev en find proper words to express my appreciation. With their deep faith in thei r only daughter, I would continue challenging myself and live a confident life. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ......................................................................................................... .9 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... .............10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ ..12 2 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................................16 Blogs and Journalism ..............................................................................................................16 Blogs ......................................................................................................................... .......16 Influence of Blogs on Journalism ....................................................................................17 Journalists Blogs ............................................................................................................ 19 Blogs and Journalists Blogs in China ....................................................................................23 Gatekeeping in Journalists Blogs ..........................................................................................26 Gatekeeping Theory ........................................................................................................26 New Gatekeeping in Journalists Blogs ..........................................................................28 Variances of Different Geographic Regions in China ............................................................29 Gender and Journa lists Blogs ................................................................................................3 0 Gender Theory .................................................................................................................30 Influence of Gender on Blogs ..........................................................................................33 Research Questions ............................................................................................................ .....34 3 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................................. 35 Population .................................................................................................................... ...........35 Sample and Sampling Method ................................................................................................36 Variables ..................................................................................................................... ............38 Coders and Intercoder Reliability ...........................................................................................38 4 RESULTS ..................................................................................................................... ..........41 Topic and Format .............................................................................................................. ......41 Reader Comments ...................................................................................................................46 J-bloggers Responses ......................................................................................................... ...50 Hyperlinks and Multimedia ....................................................................................................5 2 5 DISCUSSION .................................................................................................................. .......61 5

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Topic and Format of Chinese Journalists Blogs ....................................................................61 Interactivity and Gatekeeping in Journalists Blogs in China ................................................66 Hyperlinks and Multimedia in Chinese Journalists Blogs ....................................................71 6 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................. .....75 Limitations and Future Research ............................................................................................75 Conclusion and Final Thoughts ..............................................................................................76 APPENDIX A CONTENT ANALYSIS CODEBOOK ..................................................................................79 B CODING SHEET ................................................................................................................ ...87 LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................90 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................98 6

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Frequency of j-blog posts across topics and format ...........................................................41 4-2 Crosstabulation of topic and format for j-blog posts .........................................................42 4-3 Crosstabulation of j-blog topics by geographic regions ....................................................43 4-4 Crosstabulation of jblog topics by gender ........................................................................44 4-5 Crosstabulation of j-blog formats by geographic regions ..................................................44 4-6 Crosstabulation of j-blog formats by gender .....................................................................45 4-7 Frequency of reader comments in j-blog posts in China ...................................................46 4-8 Proportion of reader comments for j-blog posts among topics ..........................................47 4-9 Proportion of reader comments for j-blog posts among formats .......................................47 4-10 Proportion of reader comments for j-blog posts among regions ........................................48 4-11 Proportion of reader comments fo r j-blog posts between genders ....................................48 4-12 Mean number of reader comments among topics ..............................................................48 4-13 Mean number of reader comments among formats ...........................................................49 4-14 Mean number of reader co mments among geographic regions .........................................50 4-15 Mean number of reader comments between genders .........................................................50 4-16 Frequency of j-bloggers responses in posts with one or more reader comments .............51 4-17 Mean number of j-blogger s responses among formats .....................................................52 4-18 Mean number of j-bloggers responses between genders ..................................................52 4-19 Frequency of onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks and pictures in j-blog posts ...............53 4-20 Mean number of offsite hyperlinks among topics .............................................................54 4-21 Mean number of offsite hyperlink among geographic regions ..........................................55 4-22 Mean number of picture among geographic regions .........................................................55 4-23 Mean number of onsite hyperlinks across genders ............................................................56 7

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4-24 Mean number of onsite hyperlinks across formats ............................................................56 4-25 Mean number of offsite hyperlinks across formats ............................................................57 4-26 Mean number of pictures across formats ...........................................................................57 4-27 Correlations among hyperlinks, multimedia, reader comments and responses .................59 8

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS J-blog J-blog is an abbreviation of the journalists blog, which is an online diary or journal maintained by a journa list to post news or commentary on issues that are being reported and to interact with their readers. J-blogger J-blogger is an abbrev iation of journalist blogger, who is a journalist and a blogger at the same time. Briefly sp eaking, journalist bloggers are those journalists maintaining blogs on the Internet. 9

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Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication EXAMINING JOURNALISTS BLOGS AND TH EIR IMPLICATIONS FOR JOURNALISM IN MAINLAND CHINA: A CONTENT A NALYSIS OF JOURNALSTS BLOGS ON CHINESE NEWSPAPER WEBSITES By Fangfang Gao August 2008 Chair: Melinda McAdams Major: Mass Communication Journalists blogs (j-blogs) ar e a novel journalistic format emerging in China. This study examined the content of j-blog posts on Chinese newspaper website s to gain insight into the general development of j-blogs in Mainland China. Topic, format, hyperlinks and multimedia such as video, audio and pictures as well as the interactivity of j-blogs on Chinese newspaper websites were analyzed. The differences in j-bl ogs from three different geographic regions of Mainland China and the differences in j-blogs written by different genders were investigated as well. Content analysis was conducted to study j-bl ogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China and investigate their implications for journalis m in China. Frequency analysis, Chi-square analysis, one-way ANOVA analysis and Pearsons co rrelation analysis were used for the study. The data showed that the most often addressed topics in Chinese j-blogs were lifestyle, politics/government/military, crime/accidents/di sasters, and business/economic activity. The most frequently adopted formats in Chinese j-bl ogs were the straight opinion column, the rumormill blog, and reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals. The format of j-blog posts varied by topic. The topic and format of j-bl ogs differed by geographic regions and genders. 10

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11 Moreover, the study showed that there was intera ctivity between readers and journalists in jblogs in China through reader comments and j-bl oggers responses. Significant main effects of topic, format, region and gender were found on the number of reader comments. J-blog posts with more reader comments also had more jbloggers responses. Gender and format were revealed to influence the frequency of j-bloggers responses. In addition, Chinese j-bloggers have started to use hyperlinks and pictures to convey stories. Yet video and audio remain untapped resource for j-blogs in China. Topic, format, region and gender were found to exert influences on the use of hyperlinks and multimedia features. Correlations among reader comments, j-bloggers responses, onsite hyperlinks, videos, and pictures were found. These findings indicated that journalists blogs, as an alternative media and a new format of j ournalism, have been enhancing the two-way communication flow between reader s and journalists and building an evolving media environment in China, which may fu rther affect the journalism landscape.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Journalism is gradually evolving into a new period as the Internet and related technologies develop. As has been true through hu man history, from the telegraph to television, the advent of new communication technology and its adoption by mass media are bringing significant challenges to prevaili ng journalistic practices. So it doe s today with the spread of the Internet, which is forcing traditional newspapers to rethink how to practice journalism. The Internet has increased the speed and co mprehensiveness of journalism, helping the public to access a wide range of news and info rmation with great convenience and at very low cost (Reese, Rutigliano, Hyun, & Jeong, 2007). The past decade has w itnessed the rise of Internet news, which might directly or indire ctly cut into newspape r use (Kaye & Johnson, 2003). However, the growth of the Internet also prov ides unprecedented opportunities for newspapers to extend their abilities in news gathering, ne ws delivery and bonding with communities. Realizing the trends in the new media age, journalists and newspapers have begun to adapt themselves to the environment and get involv ed in the Internet world. By taking advantage of new media technologies lik e the World Wide Web, podcasti ng and blogs, they are moving away from their traditional models of news reporting and introducing more flexible news products. They have been engaged in online jour nalism, delivering information over the Internet, employing multimedia formats to cover news stories and offering more opportunities for interaction with readers. One in creasingly popular part of online j ournalism today is journalists blogs, or so-called j-blogs. J-blogs are online diaries or journals maintained by j ournalists to post news or commentary on issues they are re porting on and to interact with their readers. J-blogs can be used to disseminate information and host convers ations, which meet the journalists need to 12

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publish news and the demand of readers who are no longer satisfied with solely being informed. Through posting comments on j-blogs, reader s can provide their own knowledge and perspectives on the issues reporte d in the j-blogs. Hence a more comprehensive version of truth is presented, which combines both journalists de finitions of facts and readers understandings of what is going on (Matheson, 2004). Also, the em ployment of multimedia formats, like video, audio and hyperlinks, in j-blogs adds more interest to j-blogs, making them more attractive to readers. Globally, j-blogs are developing rapidly over all the continents from America to Europe, from Australia to Asia. China is involved in this new trend, too. Bl ogging has begun to gain popularity in China since 2002, when blogs were first introduced into China and spread very quickly (CNNIC, 2006). J-blogs repr esent a unique news format compared with traditional news outlets in China, and they have begun to gain po pularity among readers. In fact, as the number of blogs in China has increased exponentially, the past three years have witnessed a rapid growth of j-blogs in Mainland China (CNNIC, 2006). More a nd more, newspapers as well as journalists have been investing their efforts in developing j-blogs. Generally, as is true for any other Chinese news organization, newspapers in China are state-owned. During its initial period (1950s-1970s), the govern ment subsidized all media operations, including newspapers (Akhavan-Majid, 2004). The main tasks for newspapers in China at that time were to propagate the policies of the Communist Party, to educate the masses, to organize the masses, and to mobilize th e masses (Bishop, 1989). Later, during Chinas economic reform in the 1980s, governmental subsidies were cut and mu lti-channel financing was introduced to media. Pushed into the market, newspapers had to participate in competition for readership, advertising, sponsorship, and other forms of financing. In addition, Chinas 13

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Property Rights Reform in the late 1970s separa ted economic rights from legal rights over stateowned property. As a result, the Chinese governme nt prevented a complete privatization of newspapers by maintaining legal ownership, although they granted newspaper managers rights and responsibilities to generate profits by using media resources. Therefore, profit has become a necessity and the bottom line for newspapers to su rvive. The party lines are the prerequisite for the very existence of Chinese newspapers (Yin, 2006, p. 35). As the Internet develops in China, there are more and more Internet users. According to China Internet Network Information Center (C NNIC) estimates, there were 137 million Chinese Internet users at the end of 2006, 165 m illion by mid-2007, and a whopping 210 million by the beginning of 2008 (Fallows, 2008). More than a third (37.8%) of users claimed setting news information as their major goal for accessing the Internet (CNNIC, 2005), which makes the Internet an important frontier in which newspa pers must compete. Many newspapers began to start their own newspaper websites and create many news products online for readers, making every effort to attract onl ine readers. J-blogs are part of that effort. As an innovative news product, j-blogs ha ve extended traditio nal notions of the mainstream newspaper to the online world and cr eated a new sphere of journalism in China, which may exert great influence on the future of the media landscape. The topics, formats, use of hyperlinks, inclusion of multimedia and interactiv ity in j-blogs, as well as their journalism implications in China, are all of great concern to readers, news organizations, journalists and researchers. However, the research in this field is quite limited. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into Chinese j-blogs running on newspaper websites, analyzing their main topics, formats a nd other characteristics in terms of interactivity between readers and journalists, hyperlinks and multimedia usage, examining the differences in 14

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15 j-blogs in association with geographic regions and genders and disc overing the potential implications of j-blogs for journalism in China.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Blogs and Journalism Blogs Weblogs, or blogs, began as often highly pers onal online periodical diaries, posted by individuals in reverse chronologi cal order, telling stories, we lcoming comment and sometimes offering hyperlinks (Deuze, 2003). While the tec hnology behind blogs has been around since the early 1990s, blogs began to gain popularity in the late 1990s (Blood, 2005). Today, blogs have been developed into online columns including text pictures, sound files, video clips, etc. Blogs can be constructed and updated by one or more bloggers on a regular basis and may feature storytelling, commentary, hyperlinks and convers ations (Blood, 2005; Hass, 2005; Hewitt, 2005; Matheson, 2004). According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (2005), more and more American adults are crea ting, reading or posting comment s on blogs. The Pew Internet project began to ask about blog creation in the spring of 2002. In June 2002, they found that 3% of Internet users said they had created a blog. By the beginning of 2004, the figure had grown to 5% of Internet users. Their survey in late November 2004 showed that 7% of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the Internet said they had created a blog, which represents more than 8 million people. In addition, blog readership shot up 58% in 2004. Twenty-seven percent of Internet users said they read blogs. More than one in ten Inte rnet users (12%) said they had posted comments or other materials on others blogs, which represents more than 14 million people, a threefold increase from April 2003, when the Pew Intern et project first estimated the number of those who contribute to others blogs. Blogs have established themselves as an important part of online culture. Th is is true in China, too, becau se there are increasing numbers 16

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of bloggers as well as blogs in China now. By th e end of November 2007, the number of blogs in China has reached 72.82 million with 47 million blogge rs, which was comprised of a quarter of all the Chinese Internet users (CNNIC, December 2007). From the opinionated to the informational, bl ogs cover a wide range of topics and styles, consisting of news that is happening now almost in real time not filtered, edited, or delay delivered, as with traditional media (Wendla nd, 2003, p. 94). It becomes a personal publishing system that allows anyone in minutes to ha ve access to a worldwide audience (Wendland, 2003, p. 94). Anyone can publish at any time and gain readers in relation to their talent, their relevance and, ultimately, their accuracy, rega rdless of their credentials (Weintraub, 2003, p. 58). Individuals play an active role in the proc ess of collecting, reportin g, sorting, analyzing and disseminating news and informationa task once reserved almost exclusively to the news media (Lasica, 2003, p. 71). In this sense, blogs represent a democratization of journalism. Along with the characteristic of open part icipation, two-way communication is another important symbol of the democracy in blogs. Readers, a key component in the blogosphere today, are no longer satisfied with merely being informed by the traditional media. Blogs facilitate a decentralized, bottom-up approach to news reporting by helping readers discard their traditional role as passive consumers of news and become active partners in news production (Gillmor, 2004; Matheson, 2004). And with the opportunity to comment on any individual posting, which is identified by a unique URL (Schmi dt, 2007), readers routinely serve as sources and co-authors of the blogs. Journalism becomes a process in which news stories are crafted through the interactions betw een bloggers and readers. Influence of Blogs on Journalism Blogs, which are evolving as time and broadband capabilities advance, might inherently be a form of journalism (Robinson, 2006). They can be maintained either by ordinary people as 17

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stand-alone blogs or by pr ofessional journalists as journalists blogs. With the increasing status of individual bloggers, who assert that they truly represent the unfiltered voices of audiences who have been disenfranchised by mainstream media and yearn to be heard (Lowrey, 2006), the blogosphere has gained greater power and begun to exert influence on tr aditional mainstream media. For instance, in Rathergate, bloggers pu rsuit of CBSs use of forged documents in its reporting on President Bushs National Guard se rvice led CBS to launch an investigation and apologize in the end (Pein, 2005). Bloggers also played a role in the resignation of Senator Trent Lott, who had made a racist comment publicly that was caught and kept alive by bloggers until professional journalists paid enough a ttention to it (Smolkin, 2004; Haas, 2005). The ascendancy of blogs not only fills the holes in the traditional journalistic gatekeeping process but also engages readers in news pr oduction by giving them more opportunities to distribute information and discu ss their opinion of news with journalists, hence diminishing medias reign of sovereignty (Lowrey, 2006). To so me extent, the superiority of media are ended due to the fact that newsgathering expert system s become available to the general public (Singer, 2003). Blogs, with a diversity of topics and styles have become an important information source for people. Professional journalists are now f aced with a competing form of discourse, the diffuse, erratic, heterogeneous articulation, whic h is so different from journalisms normative foundations (Carlson, 2007, p. 275). Th e authority and objectivity of traditional media such as newspapers are being challenged again and again. As shown in both Rathergate and the Trent Lott example, bloggers are reinforcing professional responsibility on journalists to be accurate and objective through cl ose fact-checking. Some non-journalists blogs th at concentrate on offering news and current affairs have established their credibility and gained popularity among readers. The line between public 18

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journalism and personal information releases is blurred by these news-re lated or public-affairsrelated blogs maintained by nonpr ofessional journalists (Matheson, 2004). As these independent news blogs develop, blogs, which are not necess arily written by journalists, have begun to be identified and accepted as an innovative news format, representing reconstituted journalism with alternative and legitimate news reporting, and becoming part of the fabric sewn by the press (Robinson, 2006, p. 65). To compete with these independent news bl ogs, which are attempting to bypass traditional news (Wall, 2004), mainstream media have begun integrating blogs into their websites, with those blogs as a recognized source of news, co mmentary, entertainment, and advertising today (Kuhn, 2007). Now, blogging is becoming an estab lished trend in trad itional media. An increasing number of mainstream publications, such as some newspapers owned by recognized journalism giant The New York Times Company, have started their ow n j-blogs in an attempt to retain or recapture journalisms authority. Also, there are more and more professional journalists weblogs publishe d by news sites and listed on CyberJournalist.net a journalist blogging website (Robinson, 2006, p. 69). Journalists Blogs Journalists blogs are easy-tocreate web pages that journali sts can use to post news or commentary on issues they are reporting on, with links to longer st ories and background information elsewhere on the Web (Grabowicz, 2003). Many journalists have publicly endorsed the need to add blogging to journalism (Lowrey, 2006). From a business perspective, the blog is an ideal alternative medium for newspapers because it saves operati ng costs, allows for real-time updating and enables interaction with readers, perfectly meeting the goals of the newspaper industry (Lasica, 2003). Many news organizations have grown increa singly interested in blogs and have started to use space on their websites to launch j-blogs. They tend to translate the 19

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traditional methods of journalism to the web, re purposing not only their content, but also their journalistic culture and relations hips with publics by offering j-bl ogs at their websites (Deuze, 2003). For example, some newspapers decide what kinds of j-blog styles their journalists should maintain on the newspaper websites, which topi cs should be emphasized, and whether to allow or moderate comments from readers in j-blogs. Newspapers have taken different approaches to their j-blogs. Some newspapers intend to have their journalists make the j-blogs a portal of news and establish the status of j-blogs as part of professional news media; some put more emph asis on conversation and in teractivity with their communities, hence further developing the bonds with the community through j-blogs. Other newspapers prefer a creative way to launch j-blogs and ask their j ournalists to maintain j-blogs based on their own interests, making the j-blogs of diverse styles as the showcases for different journalists interesting personalities. For the journalists who have started their j-blogs, challenges are unavoidable, although Gillmor (2003), based on his own experiences, has stated that almost any reporter could successfully produce a blog. Unlike traditional newspaper stories, in which journalists stand behind their news stories and em phasize their commitment to fairne ss and objectivity, a j-blog is a place in which personality holds great importan ce. J-blogs are popular because they allow the reader to see the journalist as a human being, connecting with them without the stiff, imperial voice that turns so many young people off (Poh lig, 2003, p. 25). Journalists are not limited to objective news reporting, but let loose in some creative writing. And having a point in the j-blog seems optional (Robinson, 2006, p. 79). Journalists practices in j-blogs differ from one to another. There is a wide range of topics available for j-blogs. Some j-bloggers consider blogging on the newspapers website as part of 20

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their work, staying in their own specified beat ar eas as journalists and pub lishing news stories. Some describe how they gather news stories from sources and their work experiences and invite fact-checking. Some journalists prefer to comment on issues and spark discussions in their jblogs. Some post the complete texts of intervie ws and solicit feedback to develop follow-up stories. Some j-bloggers focus on two-way communi cations with readers on whatever topic they are interested in. Others may take notebooks ev erywhere, chasing down even the smallest leads and sharing everything instan tly with readers in thei r blogs (Heyboer, 2004, p. 10). Due to the journalists different approaches j-blogs assume various formats. Robinson (2006) identified seven different formats of j-blogs: a reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals; a straight column of opinion for the Web; a questionand-answer format by editors; a readership forum; a confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat; a round-up of news summaries that promote the print publicati on; and a rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record account (p.70). Whats more, j-bloggers have been trying to ad just their writing styles for readers online. Studies have shown that j-bloggers attempt to ta rget readers and develop new writing styles that are different from traditional news writing in newspapers. Robinson (2006) claimed that even mainstream newspaper j-blogs tend to be nonlinea r and interactive, with multiple entry points and several endings. Reporters use traditional no -nos: Superlatives, first person, contractions, questions with no answers, answers with no quest ions. Stories and column s that appear in the print publication are rewritten fo r the Web version, incorporating long reader comments and a more conversational approach A story can be never ending online, thanks to hypertext links that instantaneously bring the read er from one author to another, from one angle of a subject to another (Robinson, 2006, p.78). J-blogs have adopted a new form of journalism to meet the 21

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needs of their audience, through which profession al models of traditional news writing are being changed gradually. As with any other kind of blog, j-blogs also thrive on open participa tion and interactivity with readers (Pohlig, 2003). Some research already has pointed out that commentary from readers can reconstruct the professional pr ocess of journalism, strengthen journalists accountability in news gathering and ensure accu racy of information in j-blogs (Robinson, 2006). Journalists always face the limits of time, budget or resources in finishing a news story, which introduces questions from readers about the accu racy and credibility of information. Comments on j-blogs not only react to what has been writte n in the blog, but also repair what has been published (Robinson, 2006, p. 75), which probably co rrects some mistakes in reporting and provides more information as well as diverse perspectives. Allowing comments on j-blogs opens up an important public dialogue, which helps readers to better understand the issues covered and to confirm journalists statements, or sometimes to offer more resources or perspectives for journalists to examine and later perfect the stories. Moreover, the capability of j-blogs to us e hyperlinks and multimedia technology further enhances their interactiv ity. J-bloggers and readers can add pict ures, audio files, video clips and hyperlinks in their posts, which make j-blogs more interesting and the communication more effective. Hyperlinks are referenc es or navigation elements linking to some other internal content within the same domain, or some external cont ent that is located elsewhere on the Internet (Deuze, 2003). It is one of the simplest methods of online interactivity that helps users to surf the Internet by clicking on words or images (Peng et al., 1999). Hyperlinks, which allow bloggers and readers to extend the stories indefinitely, are of unusual signi ficance to j-blogs, because they establish a nonlinear story format and bring in other authors (Landow, 1997). Also, hyperlinks 22

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are able to link conversations and provide background material on the topic discussed in the blog (Blood, 2002). Wall (2005) claimed that bloggers rely on hyperlinks to enhance their own posts. For example, to support their views on some specific news issues, the bloggers may add hyperlinks to the news stories or similar opinion online, briefly summarize the links content, and provide commentary, criticisms or other personal thoughts about the information to which it is linked (Wall, 2005, p. 156). In addition, hyperli nks in j-blogs can also be considered as behavioral indicators of an issues perceived importance (Delwiche, 2005) because those blog posts and information sources for important issues are always the ones most frequently linked. In general, interactivity, defined as twoway communication in which the roles of the message sender and receiver are equal and in terchangeable and the speed of communicating should be close to real-time (Kiousis, 2002). In teractivity, no matter whet her it is enabled by comment, hyperlink or multimedia technology, make s it a good chance for people to contribute to a j-blog and transcend passive exposure (Peng, Tham, & Xiaoming, 1999; Stromer-Galley, 2004). Marked by the degree to which users control content, interactivity is said to be more conversational and promote immediacy, personal presence, and multi-vocality (Endres, Warnick, 2004). Blogs and Journalists Blogs in China Globalization and instant communication make the world a small village, as Marshall McLuhan foresaw in 1962 (McLuhan, 1962). Bloggi ng is quite popular in China, as in many other countries. There are probably several reasons. One is the explosive gr owth of the Internet and the number of Internet user s in China. The second reason is that the blog provides an alternative media platform that allows more freedom of expre ssion, while traditional media in China have been controlled to some extent. Th e third is that blogs are easy to maintain by ordinary citizens without the need for techni cal expertise or their own server spaces. 23

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In January 2007, the China Internet Network Information Center found that China had a total of 137 million Internet users, which ha d increased by 26 million or 23.4% from 2006 (CNNIC, January 2007). Later, by June 2007, they found that the number of Internet users in China had reached 162 million, or 12.2% of th e population of China. And due to technology development and economic growth, the annual growth rate of Internet users in China was 31.7% for 2007, entering a new round of rapid growth (CNNIC, July 2007). However, due to the large population of China, the overall Internet penetr ation in China was still only 12.3% (CNNIC, July 2007). Some researchers have said that an impor tant reason for the fast growth of Internet adoption is that the Chinese government des ires an open, modern and efficient economy, including a state-of-the-art telecommunications and informa tion infrastructure, which can capitalize on the potentia l of a booming information sector an d contribute to Chinas developing knowledge economy ( Lu & Weber, 2006, p. 3). The government has been encouraging the development of the Internet and promoting the uses of the Internet, especially broadband, in the society, helping all houses and offices to be connected (Wu, 2005). One result of Internet development in Ch ina is the popularity of blogs among Chinese Internet users, especi ally young people. The number of blogs, which were first introduced into China in 2002, has been increasing exponentially through the past six years, especially in 2005. By 2006, the number of blogs in China was 30 time s more than that in 2002, when there were few blogs (CNNIC, 2006). According to CNNIC, there were an estimated 17.5 million bloggers in Mainland China by August 2006. Among all the bl oggers, 44% said they frequently updated their blogs (p. 11), which means they update th eir most-often-updated blogs at least once per month. And about 75 million Chinese people, nearly half of the countrys Internet users, said they read blogs regularly (CNNIC, 2006). By th e end of November 2007, the number of blogs 24

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had reached 72.82 million with 47 million bloggers, which accounted for a quarter of all the Internet users in China (CNNIC, December 2007). Th is also means that one of every 30 Chinese write blogs. The blog market has been growi ng rapidly. Within one year from 2006 to 2007, the number of bloggers increased by near ly 30 million (CNNIC, December 2007). As an element of virtual community and on line networking, blogs have become a channel through which people can talk about themselves and communicate with others in China. There are some very famous Web portals hosting blogs: for example, Blogcn ( www.blogcn.com ), BlogChina ( www.bokee.com ), Hexun ( blog.hexun.com ), MSNSpace ( home.services.spaces.live.com ) and Sina ( blog.sina.com.cn ), whose celebrity blogs earn millions of clicks every day. Because China has more than 77 million broadband users, bloggers are not only blogging, or posting comments to blogs, but also uploading video and audio content (Madden, 2006), which makes blogs more attractive. In addition, blogs in China were developed as news and information outlets, together with commercial news websites, like Sohu ( www.sohu.com ) and Sina ( www.sina.com ), to contribute to the rise of online news services. Bloggers he nce have become online journalists (Chan, Lee, & Pan, 2006). And the authority of traditional journa lism has been challenged by the alternative practices of news production and dissemination on the Internet. Li, Qin and Kluver (2003) found that online public op inion had begun to outpace and outsmart the traditional propaganda machines maneuvers in China. Although the trad itional mainstream media always sought to guide public opinion, the Chinese authorities are losi ng the battle to control information and limit individual expression via the Internet (Li, Qin & Kluver, p. 156). The authority of those traditional mainstream news organizations in China has begun to be diminished partly due to the 25

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quick release of accurate information and facts on line, which attracts readers greatly. People also have started to get bored with tr aditional news reporting and turned to the Internet as a result. In response, traditional journalists are expected to reconfirm the authority of existing news institutions and the legitimacy of traditiona l models of journalism (Chan, Lee, & Pan, 2006). And the Chinese government has been trying to set up an online media order through regulations that privilege official media and have the effect of co-opting the new media into the marketized authoritarian media system (Chan & Qiu, 2002). Consequently, newspapers, as part of traditional media in China, have begun to in corporate the Internet a nd other new technologies, like blogs, into their journalism practice. As a matter of fact, the Internet is not only an unprecedented challenge to newspapers in China, but also an important opportunity. They value the development of the World Wide Web greatl y, being excited about th e idea of blogs and developing them in order to provide innovative news products and seize the at tention of readers. Some famous blogs and mainstream media ou tlets have begun to develop a symbiotic relationship, depending on each other to have someth ing to talk about and promote certain issues of significant social concern together. Moreover, realizing blogs potential in interactivity between newspapers and readers, news organiza tions in China have begun to move in the direction of providing j-blogs on their websites as an additional opportunity for readers to interact personally with journalists. Integrating blogs with traditional newspapers gives birth to an innovative news product. The rise of j-blogs also provides an opportunity for newspapers to establish a new relationship with readers in the future. Gatekeeping in Journalists Blogs Gatekeeping Theory Obviously, the journalist is a key factor in the j-blog. Traditiona lly, journalists have assumed the role of gatekeepers, gathering and organizing timely informa tion, filtering the world 26

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through institutional routines, deciding what is worth knowing by the public, and helping to establish a societys values (Si nger, 2006). However, journalists as j-bloggers have to relinquish at least part of their gatekeeping power to readers because of blogs participatory and interactive nature. Studies have indicated th at the journalists self-percepti ons as individuals who decide what people need to know is deeply ingrained (Janowitz, 1975). And how j-bloggers perform the gatekeeping function and transform th eir role from traditional journali sts is a critical issue to the j-blogs. Gatekeeping is defined as the decisionmaking process by which the vast array of potential news messages are winnowed, shaped, and prodded into those few that are actually transmitted by the news media (Shoemaker, Ei chholz, Kim, & Wrigley, 2001, p. 233). It is about opening or closing the channels of communi cation; it is about acce ssing or refusing access (Watson, 2003). Gatekeeping in mass communicati on is the overall pr ocess through which the social reality transmitted by the news media is constructed (Shoemaker, Eichholz, Kim, & Wrigley, 2001, p. 233). Presentation, production, and space constraints contribute to the gatekeeping process, as well as editors opinion about news c ontent (White, 1950; Snider, 1967). The concept gatekeeping was first proposed by psychologist Kurt Lewin (1947) and later applied to the news selection process in journalism by White (1950). Subsequent research has revealed some influential factors for gatekeeping: the personal views, experiences and roles of media workers, media norms and routines, me dia organizations, external pressures, and ideology (Shoemaker & Reese, 1996, pp. 105-119). S hoemaker (1999) identified five levels of gatekeeping: individual, routine, organizational ch aracteristics, extramedia and ideological. Generally speaking, gatekeepers are those who select and deliv er information that flows over the communication channel, sh aping what should be finally pr esented. As a few individuals 27

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determining what stories will and will not be c overed in the mass media, gatekeepers implicitly define the limits of discourse on an issue and help maintain the status quo by their selection of news content, exerting power on th e public agenda and public opinion. Gatekeeping theory provides a helpful fram ework for evaluating the judgments made on whether or not and how information should be included into the limited available space or time on media outlets (Reese & Ballinge r, 2001), including new media such as blogs in which citizen participation counts. New Gatekeeping in Journalists Blogs J-bloggers, from writing for newspapers to ma intaining j-blogs on newspaper websites, are experiencing changes in their roles as gatekeeper s. As traditional journalists for newspapers, jbloggers have exclusive control over what news is published and what information is told to readers in their own posts on jblogs. However, j-bloggers are not able to organize reader comments. Therefore, the process of gatekeeping in j-blogs differs from that in newspapers because the content of j-blogs is not only create d by j-bloggers but also co-produced by readers. J-blog readers can comment on j-blog posts and fu rther utilize hyperlinks to add information. In other words, the responsibility for gatekeeping in j-blogs is shared by readers and j-bloggers. Studies have indicated that j-bloggers gatekeepin g function is evolving and adapting along with the growth of new media. Singer (1997) found that journalists have been modifying definitions of the gatekeeper to encompass a need for interpretation and quality control. The gatekeepers in the new media environment are more concerned with supporting the value and ideas of what they disseminate rather than sele cting stories for distribution. Journalists need a sense of their relationship with a democratized public in their work as gatekeepers (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2001). However, Singer (2005) stated that political j-bloggers are retaining their traditional journalistic gatekeeping role by incorporating limited or no material from users, 28

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despite the inherently conversat ional and participatory nature of the format (Singer, 2005, p.189). These journalists just nor malize the new form, blogs, to fit the old norms of journalism and continue to be gatekeepers as before. Furt her, Singer (2006) argued that in the new media environment, with the participation of j-blogs, journalists become sense-makers, bolstering the value of information they distribute, rather than gatekeepers. In any case, no matter how journalists or j-bloggers are playing their roles as gatekeeper s online, they are putting more efforts into open conversa tions and collaborations. Variances of Different Geographic Regions in China Mainland China is composed of 31 provinces municipalities and autonomous regions, each with its own economy and cult ure. Generally speaking, mainland China is divided into three different geographic regions: East, Middle and West. The Ea st includes Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan. The Middle includes provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi. The West includes Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Tibet, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang (CNNIC, January 2007). East China is more a more developed coasta l region, while West and Middle China are less developed inland regions. The differences among the three regions are reflected in varying economic development, culture, social values and technology adoption (Fram, Lu, & McHardy, 2004; Liu & Li, 2006). For economic development, compared with less developed Middle and West regions, coastal cities in the East China have a longer history of economic reform and more exposure to a market economy (Dou, Wang, & Z hou, 2006). A majority of the special economic zones, open cities, and main industrial and commercial centers are located in East China. For example, Beijing and Shanghai, Chinas political cap ital and commercial ca pital, are located in 29

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the East, contributing a great deal to the countrys overall GDP and pioneering cultural development. In addition, Chinas population is highly concentrated. A vast majority of people live in the plains of the East, whereas the other regions of the country ar e relatively unpopulated. Specifically, the top six provinces and municipals contributed almo st half of the total population whereas the remaining 25 provinces, autonomous re gions and municipals contributed the other half (China Knowledge, 2007). Largely due to the uneven levels of econom ic development and population distribution, media markets in China have been characteri zed as highly heterogeneous (Law, Tse, & Zhou, 2003). East China is the region where a great many newspapers and newspaper websites are produced. He and Zhu (2002) pointed out that the uneven distribution of online newspapers follows the pattern of uneven de velopment, especially the econo mic development, of the three regions in China. The majority of Chinas onlin e newspapers are located in the East, followed by the Middle and the West (He & Zhu, 2002). The re gional distribution of population in China is uneven, with 39.4% of the population in the East 32.5% in the Middle, and 28.1% in the West (Keidel, 2007). Also, regional distribution of Inte rnet users in China is uneven, with 57.9% of Internet users in the East, 22.8% in the Middle, and 19.3% in the West (CNNIC, January 2007). Given all these substantial regional differences among the East, Middle and West China (Child, Stewart, 1997), the degree of development of newspaper websites and j-blogs on the websites varies greatly across the three different regions in China. Gender and Journalists Blogs Gender Theory Gender, on which some social st atus differences are based, is not only a biological concept but also a social construct th at specifies cultural roles for men and women in the society. 30

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Previous research on gender, ma ss media and society has shown how males and females differ in diverse aspects of social life. Many of these differences originate from the gender roles and social norms that indicate what socially appropriate male and female behavior is. An important ideology of gender theory within the context of public discourse, mass media and technology is the patriar chal notion of public/private dichotomy associated with male/female (Harp & Tremayne, 2006, p. 249). It desi gnates that the world of women is largely limited to the private sphere of life, such as home, family, private relations and domestic affairs. In contrast, men are believed to be best suit ed and responsible for th e public sphere, including politics, economics and foreign affairs (Donovan, 1994; Harp & Tremayne, 2006). This dichotomy helps articulate a hegemonic conceptualization of gender politics reinforced in everyday life (Harp & Tremayne, 2006. p. 249). Based on this dichot omy, different social roles are developed for men and wome n, who are expected to conform to these traditional gender norms. In the era of the Internet, real-life gender dynamics are re produced online. Many gender differences found on the Internet are continuations of real-life situations (Herring, Scheidt, Bonus, & Wright, 2004). For example, as in the real world, males are more likely to dominate online conversations (Morahan-Mar tin, 2000). Scholars have pointed out that the perpetuation of gender stereotypes on the Internet is a hazard to feminism (Morahan-Martin, 2000). However, other researchers have claimed that the Intern et allows women to be liberated from the restrictions of gender identity and oppressive soci al structures. As a result, they predicted that women would be empowered in the online world (Morahan-Martin, 2000; Youngs, 2004). Concerning gender and the Intern et, the digital gender gap an d the gendered structure of the Internet were often disc ussed (Morahan-Martin, 1998) in the early days of Internet 31

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development. Social and cultural factors have shaped male-dominated adoption and use of the Internet as well as the deep i nvolvement of men in online participation (Harp & Tremayne, 2006; Herring, Kouper, Scheidt, & Wright, 2004). Some authors have declared that power is not distributed equally onlin e. Women are late adopters of the technology, which may increase the existing social inequities to females and im pinge on womens power and possibilities in the Digital Age (Morahan-Martin, 2000; Youngs, 2004). Other research has s uggested that despite more online participation by both males and fema les over time, gender differences in specific activities have not diminished. Men continue to have more positive attitudes toward the Internet and new technology than women (Sherman, End, Kraan, Cole, Campbell, Birchmeier, & Klausner, 2000). These findings are quite consis tent with the situation in China today. With a total population of 1,329,349,388 in 2007, the ra te of males to females in China is 1.06:1 (National Bureau of Statisti cs of China, 2008). The gender disparity is partially caused by the preference for boys under the o ne-child policy. For the use of the Internet in China, the number of female Internet users was 73 million and males was 89 million, for a ratio of 54.9% male to 45.1% female Internet users (CNNIC, Ju ly 2007). In contrast, among blog writers, men accounted for 43% of bloggers while women represented 57% (CNNIC, December 2007). In the news industry, there has been male dominance. In 1996, women journalists accounted for only one third of the total journa list population. By the end of 2006, although there have been more than 70,000 female journalists re gistered at the State Press and Publication Administration, nearly 40% of the tota l 180,000 journalists in China (Lu, 2006) male journalists are still the majority in news rooms. Therefore, despite th e higher popularity of blogs among female Internet users, there are still more male j-blogge rs than female j-bloggers in China now. 32

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Influence of Gender on Blogs Previous research in America has revealed th at there are more male bloggers than female bloggers (Herring, Kouper, Sche idt, & Wright, 2004; Fallows, 2005). In addition, mass media have paid a greater amount of attention to ma le bloggers (Herring, Kouper, et al., 2004). In analyses of the topic differences in blogs main tained by males versus females, research has shown that men are more interested in blogging about politics, technology and external events. Women bloggers are more likely to prefer personal subject matter (Herring, Kouper, et al., 2004). Some studies have shown that men are more likely to express political opinions and tend to have a more authoritative manner in their conversation style (Fredrick, 1999; Herring, 2006). In regard to the format variances in blogs writ ten by different genders, so me studies in America as well as in Britain have shown that women write more diary-like blogs, while male bloggers write more of the opinion-focused ones (Herri ng, & Paolillo, 2006; Pede rsen, & Macafee, 2007). Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl and Sapp (2006) revealed that female bloggers provide a record of the day, discuss memories, and communicate f eelings or thoughts more often than males. In regard to gender differences in the in clusion of hyperlinks and multimedia usage, women are less interested in and have less knowledge about the technical as pects of the Internet (Fallows, 2005; Pedersen & Macafee, 2007), which seems likely to affect the use of hyperlinks and multimedia by female j-bloggers. In fact, Pedersen and Macafee (2007) pointed out that, compared with female bloggers, male bloggers include more links to interesting external websites. Taking the interactive potential of the Internet an d blogs into consid eration, Herring (1996) reported that cyber-participants enact gender and develop communi cation styles that resemble offline gender identities. Other studies have noted differences in how men and women use the Internet, with women more likely to use it as a communication tool and men as a means of 33

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34 information seeking (Jackson, Ervin, Gardner, & Schmitt, 2001). Other research has confirmed that female bloggers exhibited social interacti on motivations more often than males (Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006). Research Questions This study is aimed at analyzing j-blogs in China, including th eir topics, formats, interactivity and use of hyperli nks and multimedia technology, exploring the implications of such journalistic practices for journalism in China. Regional differences in China and gender differences in Internet using and blogging have been well documented. The researcher also expected to find differences in j-blogs from different geographic regions of China and in j-blogs written by male and female journalists. Theref ore, the following research questions were proposed: RQ1: What are the most common topics and fo rmats of j-blogs in China? Do the topics vary among the formats? RQ2: Do topics and formats of j-blogs in China differ by geographic regions or genders? RQ3: How frequently do readers comment on jblog posts in China? Does topic, format, geographic region or gender make a difference? RQ4: How frequently do j-bloggers respond to reader comments in Chinese j-blog posts? Do j-blog posts with more reader comments get proportionally more j-blogger responses? Does topic, format, geographic region or gender make a difference? RQ5: How many j-blog posts include one or more onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, pictures, videos and audio? Does topic, format, geographic region, or gender influence the use of hyperlinks and multimedia? RQ6: What are the relationships among fr equency of hyperlinks, multimedia, reader comments, and j-blogger responses?

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The study was aimed at examining the general development of j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China by exploring the main ch aracteristics of j-blogs in China, in terms of topic, format, interactivity (comments from read ers and responses from jo urnalists), hyperlinks and multimedia usage. Geographic region and ge nder were two factors believed to have a possible influence on these characteristics. Th e method for this study was content analysis. Content analysis is defined as, a summarizing, quantitative analysis of messa ges that relies on the scientific method (including attention to object ivity-intersubjectivity a priori design, reliability, validity, generalizability, replicab ility, and hypothesis testing) and is not limited to the types of variables that may be measur ed or the context in which the messages are created or presented (Neuendorf, 2002, p.10). Lomlard, Snyder-Duch and Bracken (2002) stat ed that content analysis, as a method specifically for the study of messages, is f undamental to mass communication research. To examine the general performance of j-blogs in this study, content analysis was appropriate because it is particularly well suited to the st udy of communications and to answer the classic question of communication resear ch: Who says what and how (Babbie, 2007, p. 320). Population Chinese j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China were the subject of study. They were chosen if they were 1) published on a news paper website; 2) identifi ed as blogs written by journalists, accompanied by journalis t information; 3) started on or before January 1, 2007; 4) written in Chinese; 5) included no fewer th an 30 blog posts from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2007. Because there was neither a complete direct ory of j-blogs or newspaper websites nor a complete list of newspapers in China that was pub licly available, the search for j-blogs that met 35

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the standards above was completed in severa l ways: First, j-blogs were found through an examination of links to some well-known onlin e publications such as Xinhua News Agency ( www.xinhuanet.com ), which is the state news agency and the largest news and information gathering and distributio n center in Mainland China, as well as the Peoples Daily ( www.people.com.cn ), which is the most influential and authoritative newspaper in China. Additionally, qualified j-blogs were found through the Chines e newspapers directory maintained by the University of Auckland, online media dir ectories provided by the All-China Journalists Association ( www.zgjx.cn), and newspaper websites linked to important regional newspapers, such as the South Daily ( www.nanfangdaily.com.cn ), and the two biggest commercial news websites in Mainland China, Sohu ( news.sohu.com ) and Sina ( news.sina.com.cn ). Then, search engines Google, Baidu1 and Yahoo were used to search fo r j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China. In this way, the researcher trie d to find as many j-blogs as possible on Chinese newspaper websites. All accessible j-blogs that met the criteria for this study were compiled into a list as the populat ion for the study. Sample and Sampling Method To better represent j-blogs on newspaper websit es in Mainland China and the differences between different geographic regions, nonprobability sampling was used. All the j-blogs in the stu dy population were divided by th e geographic regions of the newspapers hosting the j-blogs. Mainland China s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions can be divided into three regions, accord ing to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC, January 2007). The three region s are the West region, which includes the provinces of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, C hongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Tibet, Shaanxi, 1 Baidu is a search engine in China, which is as important in China as Google in the U.S. It is quite useful to search for webpages, news, blogs, images and music in Chinese characters. 36

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Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang; the Mi ddle region, which includes provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi; and the East region, which includes provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, Beiji ng, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan. Based on geographic re gion, the j-blogs were divided into three categories: j-blogs in the East, j-blogs in the Middle, and j-blogs in the West. For each category, qualified j-blogs were compiled into an index alphabetically by the names of their authors. Each j-blog in the list was given an identification num ber. Then 15 j-blogs were randomly chosen from each category with the help of a random nu mber generator. Finally, 45 j-blogs in Mainland China were chosen for the study. Within those chosen j-blogs, 14 dates were randomly picked from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2007, representing two constructed weeks. Following the two-constructed-week scheme, two Sundays, two Mondays, two Tuesdays, two Wednesdays, two Thursdays, two Fridays and two Saturdays were randomly chosen from all of the Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in 2007. This method is effective in helping researchers to examine representative samples of news content without oversampling (Riffe, Lacy, & Fico, 2005). Some research has shown th at constructed week sampling is far more efficient than simple random sampling when infe rring to a large population (Riffe, Aust, & Lacy, 1993). Posts on selected j-blogs on thos e particular dates were the sample for this study. However, the journalists did not always upda te their j-blogs on those days. In the absence of a j-blog post on that particular date, the nearest post after th at date was found to fill the sample. And if the jblogger had two posts on the j-blogs that day, only the first one was used. So, the sample for this 37

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study consisted of 630 j-blog posts on newspaper websites in Mainland China. The unit of analysis was the individual j-blog post. Variables The variables coded for each j-blog post were the newspaper affiliation, URL of the j-blog post, name or online ID of the j-blogger, geographic region of the newspaper hosting the j-blog, gender of the j-blogger, general topic addressed in the j-blog post, number of comments from readers in each j-blog post, number of responses from the j-bloggers for each j-blog post, number of onsite hyperlinks in each j-blog post, number of offsite hyperlinks in each j-blog post, number of videos included in each j-blog post, numbe r of audio files included in each j-blog post, number of pictures included in each j-blog post, and the format of j-blog post. By coding these variables, j-blogs could be exam ined in terms of topic, format interactivity, use of hyperlinks and multimedia technology. Differences in j-bl ogs between three geog raphic regions and different genders also were examined. Hence, an overview of how journalists in China are using the novel online format of j-blogs to publish ne ws and communicate with readers was provided. The definitions of variables coded in this study were described in the content analysis codebook (see Appendix A). Coders and Intercoder Reliability Coders were two Chinese students at the University of Florida who fully understand written Chinese and are familiar with the province s as well as geographic regions in China. They used the codebook (Appendix A) and coding sheet (Appendix B) to analyze the variables. Given that a goal of content anal ysis is to identify and reco rd relatively objective (or at least intersubjective) characte ristics of messages, reliability is paramount (Neuendorf, 2002, p. 141), intercoder reliability, the ex tent to which independent coders evaluate a characteristic of a message or artifact and reach the same conc lusion (Lombard, Snyder-Duch, & Bracken, 2002, 38

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p. 589) is often perceived as the typical measure of research quality and is at the heart of this research method. Kolbe and Burnett (1991) said that high levels of disagreement among judges suggest weaknesses in research methods, in cluding the possibility of poor operational definitions, categories, and judge training (p. 248). To ensure the quality of this study, coders we re trained before official coding for the study began. Coders tested the initia l draft of the codebook by indepe ndently coding 70 Chinese j-blog posts that were not included in the sample, us ing the codebook developed for this study. Based on this test, coding problems and disagreements were discussed, and the instrument was revised. This process was repeated several times until it was believed that the coding instrument for this study would permit reliable coding by two coders. Scotts Pi2 was used to assess intercoder reliability in this study. The appropriate minimum acceptable level of reliability for Scotts pi is .70 or above. If pi equals .80 or above, the intercoder reliability is ver y good, always acceptable; a pi of .70 might be termed good, acceptable in most situations; .60 adequate, and .50 or below poor (Neuendorf, 2002). A pilot test was conducted. Coders used th e codebook to independently code 65 posts randomly selected from the sample. For the first time, the reliability level in the pilot test for two variables was inadequate. So, additional trai ning was conducted. The coding instrument and procedures were refined. When a second pilot test was conducted, the reliability level was acceptable. Proceeding to the full sample, 126 j-blog posts, representing 20% of the full sample, were randomly selected by the researcher and provided to both coders in order to establish intercoder t2 Scotts pi = UProportion of observed agreement Proportion of expected agreemen U 1 Proportion of expected agreement Proportion of observed agreement = UNumber of coders Number of same coding made Total number of coding by all coders Proportion of expected agreement = Proportion in each category 39

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40 reliability. Half of the rest of the sample was then randomly assigned to each coder. They coded independently, following the guidance of the codebook. During the process of coding for the full sample, tests of intercoder reliability were c onducted from time to time to keep sufficient intercoder reliability a ll through the coding process. With the help of PRAM software, the intercoder reliability of all variables in the study was tabul ated and found to be reported higher than 0.853 for each variable. 3 Reported Intercoder reliability for variables: Pictures = .98, gender = .975, j-blogger responses = .975, onsite hyperlinks =.949, offsite hyperlinks = .949, reader comments = .945, format= .932, hyperlinks in reader comments = .93, topic = .88. Intercoder reliability for all other variables is 1.

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The content analysis data were analyzed us ing the software Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 15 for Windows) based on the research questions. Topic and Format Research Question 1 looked at the topic a nd format of j-blog posts in China. A frequency analysis showed that the most frequently addres sed topics in Chinese j-blogs were lifestyle and politics/government/military (Tab le 4-1). About 10% of Chinese j-blogs were about crime/accidents/disasters and anothe r 10% covered business/economic activity. Celebrity/entertainment and scie nce/technology were the least fre quently talked about. Looking at the formats of Chinese j-blog posts, the mo st common were the st raight opinion column, rumor-mill blog, and reporters notebook of new tidbi ts and incidentals; readership forums and question-and-answer formats were the least used (Table 4-2). Table 4-1. Frequency of j-blog posts across topics and format Frequency Percent Topic Lifestyle 321 42.5 Politics, government and military 139 18.4 Crime, accidents, disasters 77 10.2 Business/economic activity 76 10.1 Other 61 8.1 Celebrity/entertainment 51 6.7 Science/technology 31 4.1 Format Straight column of opinion for the Web 226 29.9 Rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record account 191 25.3 Reporters notebook of news ti dbits and incidentals 121 16.0 Copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 8.1 Round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication 57 7.5 Poetry 40 5.3 Confessional diary written by the re porter about his or her beat 28 3.7 Readership forum 26 3.4 Question-and-answer format by editors 6 .8 41

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Because the numerous topics and formats led to too many cells with an expected count less than 5, only the top five most fr equently used formats were exam ined. A Chi-square analysis of topics and the top five formats re vealed a signific ant relationship ( (24, N = 607) = 149.178, p < .001). The formats of Chinese j-blog posts va ried by topics. Straight opinion column, reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals and copy of articles were the most often used formats when talking about politics/govern ment/military, business/economic activity and science/technology. For crime/accidents/disasters, n early 40% of those j-blog posts turned out to be straight columns of opinion and another 34% were notebooks of news tidbits and incidentals. Half of j-blog posts about lifestyle were rumor-mill blogs (Table 4-2). Table 4-2. Crosstabulation of topic and format for j-blog posts Topic Politics Business Crime Science Entertainment Lifestyle Formats Reporters notebook of news tidbits 23 18.4% 13 19.4% 22 34.4% 7 25.0% 10 20.4% 34 12.4% Straight column of opinion 61 48.8% 34 50.7% 25 39.1% 7 25.0% 21 42.9% 58 21.2% News summaries 15 12.0% 5 7.5% 6 9.4% 2 7.1% 5 10.2% 23 8.4% Rumor-mill blog 10 8.0% 7 10.4% 6 9.4% 5 17.9% 8 16.3% 139 50.7% Copy of articles from others 16 12.8% 8 11.9% 5 7.8% 7 25.0% 5 10.2% 20 7.3% Total 125 67 64 28 49 274 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% (24, N = 607) = 149.178, p < .001 Research Question 2 examined the influence of geographic region and gender on topic and format of j-blog posts. A Chi-s quare analysis and crosstabul ation revealed a significant difference in topics acr oss geographic regions ( (12, N = 756) = 40.971, p < .001). At the beginning of this study, when collecting j-blogs for the study population, the researcher found 42

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that the number of j-blogs in East China far ex ceeded that in Middle and West China. As shown in Table 4-3, the topics of j-blog posts differe d greatly by geographic regions. Although the most common topics in all of the three regions were the same lifestyle and politics, some topics were more popular in a region than in the othe r two regions. For example, j-blog posts about lifestyle and crime/accidents/disasters were more popular in East China; j-blog posts covering politics and economics were more popular in the West. Table 4-3. Crosstabulation of jblog topics by geographic regions Geographic Region Total East Middle West Topic Politics, government, military 33 46 60 139 13.4% 18.2% 23.3% 18.4% Business/economic activity 28 16 32 76 11.4% 6.3% 12.5% 10.1% Crime, accidents and disasters 29 23 25 77 11.8% 9.1% 9.7% 10.2% Science/technology 3 19 9 31 1.2% 7.5% 3.5% 4.1% Celebrity/entertainment 10 20 21 51 4.1% 7.9% 8.2% 6.7% Lifestyle 128 106 87 321 52.0% 41.9% 33.9% 42.5% Other 15 23 23 61 6.1% 9.1% 8.9% 8.1% Total 246 253 257 756 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% (12, N = 756) = 40.971, p < .001 Of all the blog posts in this study, 72% were written by males, and 28% were maintained by females. Examining the bloggers genders and the topics, a Chi-s quare analysis and crosstabulation revealed a significant difference of topics across genders ( (12, N = 740) = 41.004, p < .001). Although lifestyle was the most fr equently addressed topic for both genders, women focused on this topic 52.7% of the time versus 38.1% for men. Females were also more likely to talk about business and economics. Males were more likely to talk about politics/government/military and sc ience/technology (Table 4-4). 43

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Table 4-4. Crosstabulation of j-blog topics by gender Gender Male Female Topic Politics, government, military 118 19 22.1% 9.2% Business/economic activity 47 24 8.8% 11.6% Crime, accidents and disasters 55 22 10.3% 10.6% Science/technology 28 3 5.3% 1.4% Celebrity/entertainment 36 15 6.8% 7.2% Lifestyle 203 109 38.1% 52.7% Others 46 15 8.6% 7.2% Total 533 207 100.0% 100.0% (12, N = 740) = 41.004, p < .001 Table 4-5. Crosstabulation of jblog formats by geographic regions Geographic Region Total East Middle West Format Reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 33 13.4% 42 16.6% 46 17.9% 121 16.0% Straight column of opinion for the Web 63 68 95 226 25.6% 26.9% 37.0% 29.9% Question-and-answer format by editors 2 3 1 6 .8% 1.2% .4% .8% Readership forum 12 6 8 26 4.9% 2.4% 3.1% 3.4% Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat 10 4.1% 3 1.2% 15 5.8% 28 3.7% Round-up of news summaries 13 35 9 57 5.3% 13.8% 3.5% 7.5% Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-therecord account 82 33.3% 54 21.3% 55 21.4% 191 25.3% Copy of articles from others with the source stated 24 9.8% 17 6.7% 20 7.8% 61 8.1% Poetry 7 25 8 40 2.8% 9.9% 3.1% 5.3% Total 246 253 257 756 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% (16, N = 756) = 65.771, p < .001 44

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There was also a significant difference betw een formats by different geographic regions ( (16, N = 756) = 65.771, p < .001). Table 4-5 shows that the mo st frequently used format in East China was rumor-mill blog (33.3%); the most often used format of j-blogs in Middle and West China was straight opinion column, followed by rumor-mill blog and news notebook format. It was also found that j-bl oggers in the East used more r eadership forums and citations of articles, compared with the Middle and the West; j-bloggers in the Middle were more likely to summarize news and write poetry in their j-blogs. A Chi-square analysis of gender and format revealed a significant difference of j-blog posts formats across different genders ( (8, N = 756) = 63.416, p < .001). Table 4-6 shows that male j-bloggers were more likely to use straig ht opinion column (34.7%) while female j-bloggers were more likely to use rumor-mill blogs (40.1%). Table 4-6. Crosstabulation of j-blog formats by gender Gender Male Female Format Reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 95 25 17.8% 12.1% Straight column of opinion for the Web 185 41 34.7% 19.8% Question-and-answer format by editors 6 0 1.1% .0% Readership forum 14 12 2.6% 5.8% Confessional diary written by the reporter about hi s or her beat 22 6 4.1% 2.9% Round-up of news summaries 32 23 6.0% 11.1% Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record account 105 83 19.7% 40.1% Copy of articles from others with the source stated 36 16 6.8% 7.7% Poetry 38 1 7.1% .5% Total 533 207 100.0% 100.0% (8, N = 756) = 63.416, p < .001 45

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Reader Comments Research Question 3 looked at the frequency of reader comments on Chinese j-blog posts as well as the influence of topic, format, geographic region and gende r on reader comments. The frequency analysis of reader comments in j-blog posts in China (Table 4-6) showed that nearly 40% of all posts had no comment from readers. Almost a third of posts had one or two comments, and 20.8% had five or more comm ents. The most comments, 59, appeared in a blog post with the format of a readership forum, in which the j-blogger invited her readers to climb mountains together for the weekend. Table 4-7. Frequency of reader comments in j-blog posts in China Number of reader comme nts Frequency Percent 0 283 37.4% 1 138 18.3% 2 83 11.0% 3 55 7.3% 4 39 5.2% 5 26 3.4% 6 18 2.3% 7 17 2.2% 8 14 1.9% 9 11 1.5% 10 9 1.2% 11-59 63 8.3% Total 756 100.0% Looking only at the 473 posts that generated read er comments, the relationships of reader comment frequency with topic, format, geograp hic region and gender were examined. Because nearly 40% of j-blog posts stud ied had no comments, only analyzi ng the mean number of reader comments by topics, formats, regions and genders of all posts would make the study moot. To be more objective, proportion tests were conduc ted, followed by one-way ANOVA analyses. 46

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Table 4-8 shows that j-blog posts about crime/ accidents/disasters were the highest in the proportion of j-blog posts with comments (66.2%) with the j-blog posts a bout science/technology the lowest (48.4%). Table 4-8. Proportion of reader co mments for j-blog posts among topics Topic Number of posts with comments Total number of posts Proportion Others 46 61 75.4% Crime, accidents, disasters 51 77 66.2% Celebrity/entertainment 33 51 64.7% Lifestyle 199 321 62.0% Business/economic activity 47 76 61.8% Politics, government, military 82 139 59.0% Science/technology 15 31 48.4% Total 473 756 62.6% Table 4-9 shows that j-blog posts in the format of confessional diary were the highest in the proportion of j-blog posts that have comments (78.6%) with the j-blog posts in the format of news summary the lowest (29.8%). Readership forum and rumor-mill blog had relatively high proportion of reader comments. Table 4-9. Proportion of reader co mments for j-blog posts among formats Format Number of posts with comments Total number of posts Proportion Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat 22 28 78.6% Readership forum 19 26 73.1% Rumor-mill blog 131 191 68.6% Question-and-answer format by editors 4 6 66.7% Straight column of opinion for the Web 147 226 65.0% Reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 78 121 64.5% Poetry 24 40 60.0% Copy of articles from others with the source stated 31 61 50.8% Round-up of news summaries 17 57 29.8% Total 473 756 62.6% Table 4-10 shows that j-blog posts in the East were the highest in the proportion of j-blog posts that have comments (69.9%) with the j-bl og posts in the Middle the lowest (49.4%). 47

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Table 4-10. Proportion of reader co mments for j-blog posts among regions Geographic region Number of posts with comments Total number of posts Proportion East 172 246 69.9% West 176 257 65.5% Middle 125 253 49.4% Total 473 756 62.6% Table 4-11 shows that j-blog posts by females were slightly higher than those by males in the proportion of j-blog posts with re ader comments (67.2% versus 62.1%). Table 4-11. Proportion of reader comme nts for j-blog posts between genders Gender Number of posts with comments Total number of posts Proportion Female 139 207 67.2% Male 331 533 62.1% Total 470 740 62.2% A one-way ANOVA analysis of all blog posts revealed a signifi cant main effect with topic ( F (6,755) = 3.297, p < .01) on reader comments. A post-hoc analysis of reader comment and topic using Bonferronis test revealed significant differences in reader comments between celebrity/entertainment ( M = 7.53, SD = 14.936) and science/technology (M = 1.65, SD = 2.259), and between celebrity/entertainment and politics/government/military ( M = 2.47, SD = 4.019). Obviously, j-blog posts with the topic of sc ience/technology and politics/government/military had the smallest mean number of comments, while celebrity/entertainment posts had the highest mean number of reader comments (Table 4-12). Table 4-12. Mean number of reader comments among topics Topic N Mean Std. Deviation Celebrity/entertainment 51 7.53 14.936 Crime, accidents, disasters 77 4.52 8.042 Lifestyle 321 4.32 8.915 Others 61 3.34 4.509 Business/economic activity 76 3.14 6.026 Politics, government, military 139 2.47 4.019 Science/technology 31 1.65 2.259 Total 756 3.91 8.063 F (6,755) = 3.297, p < .01 48

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Another one-way ANOVA analysis of all blog posts revealed a significant main effect of format (F (8,755) = 6.073, p < .001) on reader comments. A post-hoc analysis of reader comment and format, using Bonferronis test, revealed a significant difference in reader comments between readership forum and all other form ats except question-and-answer formats and confessional diary. The highest mean number of comments was for the format of readership forum ( M = 12.19, SD = 15.955) while the blog posts in almost all the other formats had averages of less than 5 comments. The formats of question-and-answer ( M = 12, SD = 15.761) and confessional diary ( M = 5.50, SD = 7.724) had relatively more comments (Table 4-13). Table 4-13. Mean number of reader comments among formats Format N Mean Std. Deviation Readership forum 26 12.19 15.955 Question-and-answer format by editors 6 12.00 15.761 Confessional diary written by the reporter about hi s or her beat 28 5.50 7.724 Copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 5.15 12.022 Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record account 191 4.38 8.040 Straight column of opinion for the Web 226 3.12 6.064 Reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 3.08 6.795 Poetry 40 1.95 3.693 Round-up of news summaries 57 1.88 5.298 Total 756 3.91 8.063 F (8,755) = 6.073, p < .001 A one-way ANOVA analysis of a ll blog posts revealed a significant main effect with geographic region ( F (2,755) = 28.616, p < .001) on reader comments. A post-hoc analysis of reader comment and geographic region, using Bonfe rronis test, revealed a significant difference in reader comments among the thre e regions. Table 4-14 shows that j-blog posts in the East had the highest mean nu mber of comments ( M = 6.78, SD = 11.606), and posts in the Middle had the lowest mean number of comments ( M = 1.57, SD = 3.902). Another one-way ANOVA analysis of all blog posts revealed a significant main effect with gender (F (1,739) = 27.620, p < .001) on reader comments. Table 4-15 shows that reader 49

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comments differed significantly for j-blog posts by men and women. Female j-bloggers had twice the average number of comments ( M = 6.42, SD = 12.040) as male j-bloggers ( M = 2.99, SD = 5.635). Table 4-14. Mean number of reader comments among geographic regions Geographic region N Mean Std. Deviation East 246 6.78 11.606 West 257 3.47 5.857 Middle 253 1.57 3.902 Total 756 3.91 8.063 F (2,755) = 28.616, p < .001 Table 4-15. Mean number of r eader comments between genders Gender N Mean Std. Deviation Female 207 6.42 12.040 Male 533 2.99 5.635 Total 740 3.95 8.102 F (1,739) = 27.620, p < .001 J-bloggers Responses Research Question 4 examined the frequency of j-bloggers responses to reader comments on j-blog posts in China, as well as the influence of topic, form at, geographic region, gender, and reader comments on j-bloggers responses. Frequency analysis, one-way ANOVA and Chisquare analyses were applied. Because responses were provided by j-bloggers to reader comments on their j-blogs, it is reasonable to analyze the j-blogge rs responses in relationship to reader comments. To measure the frequency of j-bloggers re sponses, Table 4-16 shows that, in the 473 j-blog posts that had one or more reader comments, 350 posts (74.0%) did not have any response from j-bloggers, 76 j-blog posts (16.1%) had one j-bl ogger response, and the remain ing 47 j-blog posts (9.9%) had 228 responses. 50

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Also, a Pearsons correlation analysis reveal ed that the number of reader comments was positively related with the numbe r of j-bloggers responses ( r (756) = .462, p < .001). The j-blog posts with more reader comments were more likely to have more j-blogger responses. Table 4-16. Frequency of j-blogge rs responses in posts with one or more reader comments Number of j-bloggers responses Frequency Percent 0 350 74.0 1 76 16.1 2-3 26 5.5 4-5 10 2.2 More than 5 11 2.2 Total 473 100.0 Because j-bloggers were not likely to res pond unless readers initiated comments, it is reasonable to filter out all the blog posts with zero comment when analyzing the influence of topic, format, geographic region and gender on j-blogger responses. A one-way ANOVA analysis of only the posts that had at least one reader comment revealed a significant difference in the mean number of j-bloggers responses among formats ( F (8,472) = 10.917, p < .001). A post-hoc analysis of j-bl oggers responses and format, using Bonferronis test, revealed si gnificant differences between the readership forum and all other formats. J-blog posts in the format of read ership forum had the highest mean number of jbloggers responses ( M = 4.68, SD = 7.173), while the average numbe r of j-bloggers responses in all other formats was less than one (Table 4-17). Another one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a significant main effect of gender on jbloggers responses ( F (1,469) = 6.903, p < .01). Table 4-18 shows that female j-bloggers were more likely to respond frequently to reader comments. However, the one-way ANOVA analyses reveal ed no significant main effects of topic ( F (6,472) = .876, p = .513) or geographic region ( F (2,472) = 2.646, p = .072) on j-bloggerss responses. 51

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Table 4-17. Mean number of j-bl oggers responses among formats Format N Mean Std. Deviation Readership forum 19 4.68 7.173 Confessional diary written by the reporter about hi s or her beat 22 .77 1.510 Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record account 131 .75 2.285 Poetry 24 .54 1.414 Question-and-answer format by editors 4 .50 .577 Reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 78 .46 .848 Straight column of opinion for the Web 147 .29 .633 Round-up of news summaries 17 .24 .562 Copy of articles from others with the source stated 31 .16 .374 Total 473 .65 2.142 F (8,472) = 10.917, p < .001 Table 4-18. Mean number of j-blogg ers responses between genders Gender N Mean Std. Deviation Female 139 1.05 3.562 Male 331 .48 1.077 Total 470 .65 2.148 F (1,469) = 6.903, p < .01 Also, the study found that the number of re sponses differed significantly depending upon the individual j-bloggers ( F (31,124) = 1.906, p = .01). Seven j-bloggers in 45 (16%) were responsible for 71.8% of the respon ses. Contrary to the previous finding that female j-bloggers were more likely to respond, six of these seven j-bloggers were male, although the only female jblogger in the seven responded most frequently. And among the 45 j-bloggers in this study, 12 jbloggers (27%) did not respond to any comments, indicating that the pers onal preferences or habits of j-bloggers were important. Hyperlinks and Multimedia Research Question 5 looked at the use of hyperlinks and multimedia in Chinese j-blog posts. Frequency analyses of onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, pictures, videos and audio were applied. 52

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Table 4-19 shows how many j-blog posts had one or more onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, and pictures. Table 4-19. Frequency of onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks and pictures in j-blog posts Quantity Frequency Percent Onsite hyperlinks 0 678 89.7 1 44 5.8 2 14 1.9 3 6 .8 4 2 .3 5-15 11 .15 More than 15 1 .1 Total 756 100.0 Offsite hyperlinks 0 679 89.8 1 48 6.3 2 13 1.7 3 4 .5 4 4 .5 5 2 .3 More than 5 6 .8 Total 756 100.0 Pictures 0 600 79.4 1-2 85 11.3 3-4 22 3 5-6 18 2.4 7-8 16 2.2 9-15 9 .11 More than 15 6 .7 Total 756 100.0 As shown in the Table 4-19, 89.7% of j-blog posts had no onsite hyperlinks, 8.8% had 1-4 onsite hyperlinks, and the remaining .25% had more than 5 onsite hyperlinks. About 90% of jblog posts did not have any offsite hyperlinks, 8% had 1-2 offsite hyperlinks. Onsite hyperlinks were more frequently used than offsite hyperlinks. Compared with other multimedia features, pictures were the most frequently used. Nearly 80% of j-blog posts did not include pictures, 11.3% had 1-2 pictures, 5.4 % had 3-6 pictures and the remaining 4% had 7-37 pictures. For the us e of video and audio, only three j-blog posts 53

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(0.4%) had one video and five j-blog posts (0.7%) had one audio, which suggested that the application of videos and audio wa s quite limited in Chinese j-blogs. To measure the influence of topic, form at, geographic region and gender on use of hyperlinks and multimedia, one-way ANOVA analysis was used. For topic, only a significant difference in the use of offsite hyperlinks ( F (6,755) = 6.343, p < .001) was found. A post-hoc analysis of topic and offsite hyp erlink, using Bonferronis test, revealed a significant difference of offsite hyperlinks between topic politics/government/military ( M = .51, SD = 1.224) and celebrity/entertainment ( M = .04, SD = .196), politics/government/military and lifestyle ( M = .06, SD = .331). Table 4-20 shows that posts about politics/government/military included more offsite hyperlinks on average while topic lifestyl e and celebrity/entertain ment had the least. Table 4-20. Mean number of offsite hyperlinks among topics Topic N Mean Std. Deviation Offsite hyperlinks Politics, government, military 139 .51 1.224 Crime, accidents, disasters 77 .35 1.156 Science/technology 31 .23 .560 Business/economic activity 76 .21 .549 Others 61 .16 1.157 Lifestyle 321 .06 .331 Celebrity/entertainment 51 .04 .196 Total 756 .20 .798 F (6,755) = 6.343, p < .001 A one-way ANOVA analyses reve aled a significant main eff ect with geographic regions on offsite hyperlink use ( F (2, 755) = 3.71, p < .05). A post-hoc analysis of geographic region and inclusion of offsite hyperli nks, using Bonferronis test, re vealed a significant difference between the East and the West. The Eastern j-blogs lead in th e use of offsite hyperlinks ( M = .31, SD = 1.116) while those in the West were the least likely to include them (M = .14, SD = .463) (Table 4-21). 54

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Table 4-21. Mean number of offsite hyperlink among geographic regions Geographic region N Mean Std. Deviation Offsite hyperlinks East 246 .31 1.116 Middle 253 .15 .679 West 257 .14 .463 Total 756 .20 .798 F (2, 755) = 3.71, p < .05 Another one-way ANOVA analyses revealed a significant main effect with geographic regions on use of pictures ( F (2,755) = .8.806, p < .001). A post-hoc analysis of geographic region and use of pictures, using Bonferronis test, revealed a significant difference between the West and the other two regions. J-blog posts in the West used pictures more frequently ( M = 1.48, SD = 3.65) than the East ( M = .38, SD = 1.379) and the Middle ( M = .74, SD = 3.405) (Table 422). Table 4-22. Mean number of pi cture among geographic regions Geographic region N Mean Std. Deviation Pictures West 257 1.48 3.650 East 246 .38 1.379 Middle 253 .74 3.405 Total 756 .88 3.036 F (2,755) = 8.806, p < .001 However, there were no significant effects of geographic region on us e of onsite hyperlinks ( F (2,755) = .1.567, p = .209), video ( F (2,755) = .000, p = 1) or audio ( F (2,755) = .205, p =.814). A one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a signific ant difference in use of onsite hyperlinks between genders (F (1, 739) = 9.369, p < .01) but no significant gender difference in use of offsite hyperlinks ( F (1, 739) = 3.445, p = .64), video ( F (1, 739) = .043, p = .836), audio ( F (1, 739) = .361, p = .548) or pictures ( F (1, 739) = .014, p = .905) between genders. Table 4-23 shows that female j-bloggers used more onsite hyperlinks on average (M = .59, SD = 2.878) than male j-bloggers ( M = .17, SD = .835). 55

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Table 4-23. Mean number of ons ite hyperlinks across genders Gender N Mean Std. Deviation Onsite hyperlinks Female 207 .59 2.878 Male 533 .17 .835 Total 740 .29 1.687 F (1, 739) = 9.369, p < .01 A one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a signif icant difference in inclusion of onsite hyperlinks ( F (8, 755) = 4.326, p < .001) among formats. A post-hoc an alysis, using Bonferronis test, revealed a significant diffe rence in inclusion of onsite hyperlinks between the news summary format and all the other formats except the question-and-answer and readership forum format. Table 4-24 shows that jblog posts in the news summary format had the highest mean number of onsite hyperlinks ( M = 1.47, SD = 5.336). The question-and-answer format ( M = .33, SD = .516) and rumor-mill blogs ( M = .30, SD = .973) also included relatively more onsite hyperlinks. Table 4-24. Mean number of onsite hyperlinks across formats Format N Mean Std. Deviation Onsite hyperlinks Round-up of news summaries 57 1.47 5.336 Question-and-answer format by editors 6 .33 .516 Rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-therecord account 191 .30 .973 Readership forum 26 .27 .452 Copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 .20 1.181 Straight column of opinion for the Web 226 .15 .723 Confessional diary writte n by the reporter about his or her beat 28 .11 .416 Reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 .10 .455 Poetry 40 .00 .000 Total 756 .28 1.670 F (8, 755) = 4.326, p < .001 A one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a signif icant difference in inclusion of offsite hyperlinks ( F (8, 755) = 6.425, p < .001) among formats. A post-hoc an alysis, using Bonferronis test, revealed a significant diffe rence in the use of offsite hyperlinks between straight opinion 56

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columns ( M = .5, SD = 1.337) and news notebooks ( M = .06, SD = .268), rumor-mill blogs (M = .05, SD = .212) and poetry ( M = .00, SD = .000). The straight opinion column format had the highest mean number of offs ite hyperlinks (Table 4-25). Table 4-25. Mean number of offsite hyperlinks across formats Format N Mean Std. Deviation Offsite hyperlinks A straight column of opinion for the Web 226 .50 1.337 A question-and-answer format by editors 6 .33 .816 A round-up of news summaries 57 .18 .539 A copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 .15 .401 A reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 .06 .268 A rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an offthe-record account 191 .05 .212 A confessional diary wri tten by the reporter about his or her beat 28 .04 .189 A readership forum 26 .00 .000 Poetry 40 .00 .000 Total 756 .20 .798 F (8, 755) = 4.326, p < .001 Table 4-26. Mean number of pictures across formats Format N Mean Std. Deviation Pictures A readership forum 26 2.00 6.765 A reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 121 1.61 2.724 A round-up of news summaries 57 1.35 3.944 A confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat 28 1.00 2.357 A rumor-mill blog that reporter uses as an off-the-record account 191 .95 3.495 A question-and-answer format by editors 6 .83 2.041 Poetry 40 .58 3.320 A copy of articles from others with the source stated 61 .38 1.098 A straight column of opinion for the Web 226 .35 1.959 Total 756 .88 3.036 F (8, 755) = 2.679, p < .01 Another one-way ANOVA analysis revealed a si gnificant difference in use of pictures ( F (8, 755) = 2.679, p < .01) among formats. A post-hoc analysis using Bonferronis test revealed a 57

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significant difference in use of pictures between the news notebook and straight opinion column formats. Posts in the format of news notebooks (M = 1.61, SD = 2.724) had more pictures than straight opinion columns ( M = .35, SD = 1.959) (Table 4-26). Then because nearly 80% of j-blog posts in this study did not have any pictures, 89.7% had no onsite hyperlinks and 89.8% had no offsite hyperl inks, when filtering out posts that had zero onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, videos, audio, or pictures to an alyze the influence of topic, format, geographic region and gender on hyperlink and multimedia by one-way ANOVA analyses, it was found that format (onsite hyperlink (F (7, 77) = .673, p = .694), offsite hyperlink ( F (6, 76) = 1.925, p = .089), picture (F (8, 155) = 1.584, p = .134)) and gender (onsite hyperlink ( F (1, 77) = 1.468, p = .229), offsite hyperlink (F (1, 76) = .072, p = .789), picture ( F (1, 155) = 1.652, p = .201)) did not influence use of any hype rlink or multimedia, although the use of offsite hyperlinks still differed significantly between topics ( F (6, 76) = 2.284, p < .05) and regions ( F (2, 76) = 10.499, p < .001) in the same way; the use of pictures still differed significant between regions ( F (2, 155) = 3.072, p < .05) in the same way. Research Question 6 examined the interrelati onships between frequency of inclusion of hyperlinks and multimedia with reader comments and j-bloggers responses. Table 4-27 shows the correlations among hyperlinks, multimedia, read er comments and j-bloggers responses using Pearsons correlation analysis. It was found that the number of reader comments was positively related to the inclusi on of onsite hyperlinks (r (756) = .111, p < .01), videos ( r (756) = .160, p < .001) and pictures ( r (756) = .152, p < .001). Use of pictures was pos itively related with reader comments (r (756) = .152, p < .001), j-bloggers responses ( r (756) = .094, p = .01), onsite hyperlinks ( r (756) = .203, p < .001), and videos ( r (756) = .218, p < .001), which means that the more pictures in a j-blog post, the more onsite hy perlinks and videos in that j-blog post. Also, 58

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those j-blog posts with a larger number of pictures had more reader comments and more jbloggers responses (Table 4-27). Table 4-27. Correlations among hyperlinks, mu ltimedia, reader comments and responses Reader comments Journalist bloggers responses Onsite hyperlinks Offsite hyperlinks Videos Audio Pictures Reader comments Pearson Correlation 1 .462* .111* -.056 .160* -.027 .152* Sig. (2tailed) .000 .002 .123 .000 .451 .000 N 756 756 756 756 756 756 Journalist blogger reacts Pearson Correlation 1 -.002 -.052 .071 -.019 .094* Sig. (2tailed) .953 .155 .052 .595 .010 N 756 756 756 756 756 Onsite hyperlinks Pearson Correlation 1 .001 .052 -.014 .203* Sig. (2tailed) .986 .150 .707 .000 N 756 756 756 756 Offsite hyperlinks Pearson Correlation 1 .011 .061 -.025 Sig. (2tailed) .772 .092 .486 N 756 756 756 Videos Pearson Correlation 1 -.005 .218* Sig. (2tailed) .888 .000 N 756 756 Audio Pearson Correlation 1 -.018 Sig. (2tailed) .617 N 756 Pictures Pearson Correlation 1 Sig. (2tailed) N Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). 59

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60 Also, the study found that 27 j-bloggers in 45 (60%) did not use onsit e hyperlinks. Five jbloggers (11%) were responsible for 84% of onsite hyperlinks. Twenty-eight j-bloggers (62%) did not have offsite hyperlinks in their blog pos ts. Four j-bloggers (9%) were responsible for 60% of offsite hyperlinks. Eighteen j-bloggers (4 0%) had no pictures at all. And another 18 jbloggers (40%) were responsible for 88.6% of pictures. Only th ree bloggers used videos, and only two bloggers used audio.

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Blogging is a new genre of journa lism that emphasizes persona lization, reader participation and story formats that are fragmented and in terdependent with other websites (Wall, 2005). When journalists blog, the notions of new media and traditional newspapers combine and evolve, which would further bring changes to journalis m and affect how people understand the reality and truth of our society and ourselves (Robinson, 2006). The goal of this study was to gain insight into the development of j-blogs on newspaper websites in China, analyzing their topics, format s, hyperlink and multimedia usage, as well as the practice of interactivity. Based on the research questions, content analysis was employed to examine the general performance of j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China and how the two-way communication between journalists and readers in Ch ina is broadened by j-blogs. Specifically, the research focused on two factors, geographic location of newspapers hosting jblogs and gender of j-bloggers, to determine how they influences the characteristics of Chinese jblogs. Topic and Format of Chinese Journalists Blogs This study revealed that the most frequently addressed topic in Chinese j-blog posts was lifestyle (42.5%), with in which education, health, family/p arenting, pop culture, leisure life and human interests were covered w ith a high frequency. In fact, many j-bloggers in China were interested in talking about their private lives and their families, which had nothing to do with their work as journalists. For example, many jbloggers were brand-new mothers who used their j-blogs to record their babies growth. Politics/government/military was the second most highly ranked (18.4%) topic of j-blog posts in Chin a. Business/economic activity (10.3%) and 61

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crime/disasters (10.2%) were fre quently written about in j-blogs in China as well. However, science/technology and celebr ity/entertainment were the least common topics. The study also found that the most often used formats in Chinese j-blog posts were the straight opinion column (29.9%), the rumormill blog (25.3%) and the reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals (16%). Compared wi th the seven categories of j-blogs formats in the U.S. (Robinson, 2006), more Chinese j-bloggers preferred to cite arti cles (8.1%) and write poetry (5.3%). About 7.5% of j-blog posts in China were formatted as news summaries. Interestingly, some Chinese j-bloggers only summa rized news from their newspapers or posted news stories they wrote. Nevertheless, from the perspective of format it seems that Chinese j-bloggers put more emphasis on conveying their own opinion and talking a bout their own lives, with less intention to actively engage readers in their j-blogs, becau se j-blog posts in the question-and-answer and readership forum formats were lease common. Ho wever, there were some j-bloggers inviting readers for group activities, like climbing mountai ns or attending lectures, in their j-blogs. The study found that, for politics/gover nment/military, business/economic and crime/accidents/disasters issues, Chinese j-blogge rs preferred to express their own opinions rather than citing facts or ideas from others, because 48.8% of j-blog posts about politics/government/military, 50.7% of j-blog posts about business/economic activities, and 39.1% of j-blog posts about crime/accidents/disaster s took the format of a straight column of opinion. Journalists expressed or iginal opinions on their j-blogs providing their own thinking on some political and social subjects. It was observed that they were not supportive of the government or the authority all th e time. In fact, many j-blog posts studied were quite critical on some governmental issues. 62

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It was revealed that half of the lifestyle j-blog posts, wh ich accounted for a big portion (42.5%) of j-blog posts in China, were rumor-mill blogs maintained as collections of rumors or records of the reporters own life that did not necessarily relate to the news and may not even have any focus. For the format that simply provi ded copies of articles, the highest percent (25%) was in the topic of scie nce/technology. The reason lies in the fact that science/ technology is the kind of information that needs very specific knowle dge to report. Citing arti cles, especially from famous sources, will be an easier and more c onvenient way for j-bloggers to bring important news of science and technology to readers. The study found that geographic region and ge nder both exerted influences on topic and format of j-blog posts in China. Previous studies have dem onstrated the influence of Chinas geographic regions on economic status, distribution of newspapers and newspaper websites, as well as the adoption of the Internet and other new technology (He, & Zhu, 2002; Fram, Lu, & McHardy, 2004; Liu & Li, 2006). When collecting j-blogs for the study population, the re searcher found that the number of j-blogs in East China far exceeded the number of those in the West and the Middle, which was consistent with previous research on newspape r and newspaper website distributions in China (He, & Zhu, 2002). The study found that, although the most common topics in all of three regions in China were the same lifestyle and politics, some t opics were more popular in a region than in the other two regions. It was revealed that j-blog posts about lifestyle and crime/accidents/disasters were more popular in East Ch ina; j-blog posts covering poli tics and economics were more popular in the West. This phenomenon could be explained by the different degrees of economic development in the three regions. East China is th e part of the country where economics is highly 63

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developed. It has the most large global cities, like Beijing and Sh anghai, and is the frontier of Chinas opening to the world (China Knowledge 2007; Keidel, 2007). Because people in the East have been more affluent than those in the Middle and the West, j ournalists in the East covered more stories about lifestyle and crime to cater to peoples need to enjoy a good life. Middle and West China are relativel y poor parts of the country. The f act that journalists in these two regions talked more about politics, economic s and science implied that people there were more attentive to opportunities to improve their economic status. Regarding the formats, the most frequently us ed format in East China was rumor-mill blog (33.3%); the most often used fo rmat of j-blogs in Middle and West China was straight opinion column, followed by rumor-mill blog and news notebook format. It was also found that jbloggers in the East used more readership forums and citations of article s, compared with the Middle and the West. Generally, journalists in East China have adopted th e Internet for a longer time and to a greater extent. They seem more likel y to collect information and cite news stories online. As experience with the Internet has grow n, journalists in the East have been able to develop the j-blogs for two-way communication with readers. In contrast, j-bloggers in the Middle were more likely to summarize news ( 13.8%) and write poetry ( 9.9%) in their j-blogs; and the straight opinion column was the most frequently used format in Middle (26.9%) and West China (37%). The cultural factors weigh in on this issue. Because the central and western part of China are less open to the world, journalists there have been holding more tightly with traditional values and established news principles They strictly referred to traditional rules of news writing and journalistic formats even in th eir j-blogs. To them, the differences between jblogs and newspapers seem still not that big. 64

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The influence of gender on traditional journalism and new media, as well as the gender differences in Internet use and blogging in Ch ina have been well documented (CNNIC, July 2007; Lu, 2006). Consistent with previous res earch on the digital gender gap in the U.S. (Morahan-Martin, 1998; Harp & Tremayne, 2006; Herring, Kouper, Scheidt, & Wright, 2004), the researcher found that most j-blogs on Chines e newspaper websites were maintained by males. There were more male j-bloggers (70.5%) than female j-bloggers (27.4 %) in China in this sample, which was consistent with the fact that male journalists were still the majority in news rooms, accounting for more than 60% of th e journalist population in China (Lu, 2006). The data show that the gender of j-bloggers a ffected the topic and fo rmat. Male j-bloggers in China were more likely to cover politics/government/military and science/technology. Female j-bloggers were more likely to ta lk about lifestyle. These findings demonstrated that male and female j-bloggers in China have been conforming to the social roles set in gender theory when practicing journalism. Gender theory suggested that the behaviors of women in their r eal life are greatly influenced by expected gender roles, which hold that males are supposed to be more concerned with the political realm and external events, while females are largely limited within home, family and domestic affairs (Donovan, 1994; Harp & Tremayne, 2006). In the era of the Internet, real-life gender dynamics are reproduced on line (Herring, Scheidt, Bonus, & Wright, 2004). China is a very traditional society, within whic h people retain most of these presumptions for gender roles even in journalistic practices such as j-blogging. For the format of posts, male j-bloggers were revealed to be more likely to use straight opinion columns (34.7%) while female j-bloggers were more likely to run rumor-mill blogs (40.1%). These findings were quite similar to the re sults of blog research in the U.S. and Europe, 65

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which has shown that men tended to have a more authoritative manner in their conversation style and write opinion-focused blogs, while wome n were more interested in gossip and communication of feelings or thoughts (Herring, & Paolillo, 2006; Pedersen, & Macafee, 2007; Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006). Interactivity and Gatekeeping in Journalists Blogs in China Interactivity is an important aspect of the In ternet. Studies have re vealed that Internet users satisfaction with navigati on and usability increased when a website offered a greater level of involvement (Kamali & Loker, 2002). Regarding interactivity, blogs have been said to offer interactivity at a higher rate than normal Web pages through th e higher frequency of hyperlinks and feedback features (Trammell, 2004). While hype rlinks in the j-blogs can be considered as user-to-system interactivity, r eader comments and j-blogger responses can be taken as user-touser interactivity, or more exactly, two-way communication between readers and journalists. Interactivity in j-blogs has been marked by the degree to which users cont rol content, have the opportunity to contribute to a blog, and transcend passive exposure (Peng, Tham, & Xiaoming, 1999). For j-bloggers, it is necessary to consider options for the public to respond, interact or even customize certain stories (Deuze, 2003). To study the interactivity between readers and j-bloggers, reader comment and response from j-bloggers were the main variables examin ed here. Most j-blogs on newspaper websites in China, at least all of the j-blog posts in this study, allowed comments, which can be understood as a signal from traditional Chinese newspapers to welcome open communication with readers, although whether these reader comments were moderated is not clear. There were many j-blog posts (37.4%) that had no comments. Nevertheless, because a great many (62.6%) posts had one or more comments it appears that j-blog readers in China have started to comment and let j-bloggers know their views about issues covered. 66

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The study found that reader comment in Chines e j-blog posts differed significantly across topics, formats, geographic regions and genders. Pa rtly due to the fact that there were more Internet users in the East and the Internet adoption rate was high er in the East than in the Middle, j-blog readers in the East commented most frequently, with the highest mean number of reader comments, while people in the Midd le commented least frequently. Female j-bloggers won over male j-bloggers in the frequency and mean number of reader comments, which was consistent with previous st udies claiming that women had stronger social interaction motivations online (Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006). However, it could also be an artifact of topic or format (Herring & Paolillo, 2006), because female j-bloggers were more likely to talk about ce rtain topics and use certain format s, and these topics or formats were the ones that most likely to have reader comments. It was found that 66.2% of j-blog posts a bout crime/accidents/di sasters, 64.7% of celebrity/entertainment, and 62% of lifestyle and business/economic activity had comments. However, only 48.4% of the science/technology posts got comments. J-blog posts with higher mean numbers of reader comments were about celebrity/entertainment, lifestyle and crime/accident/disasters. This can be understood to mean that readers were more interested and more concerned about topics of crime, celebri ty and lifestyle. They had more opinions and feedback on these topics. On the other hand, science and technology was not so popular among readers and also not that easy fo r people to talk about because it requires specific knowledge and deep understanding on the subject. The study found that nearly 79% of the confe ssional diary blog, 73% of the readership columns, 69% of the rumor-mill blogs and 67% of the question-and answer format had one or more reader comments. The most comments, 59, appeared in a blog post with the format of a 67

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readership forum, in which the j-blogger invited her readers to climb mountains together for the weekend. Surprisingly, j-blog posts in the format of confessional diary were the highest in frequency of comments. Because these confession al diaries written by jbloggers were always about their opinions for their news beats or fe elings and experiences of covering some news stories, it implied that Chinese readers were qu ite interested in knowing stories behind news. J-blog posts with a higher mean number of comments included the formats of questionand-answer and readership forum, which were also high in the frequency of reader comments. In other words, adopting the questionand-answer and readership forum formats is quite helpful to encourage readers to comment and communicate w ith j-bloggers. But, as mentioned before, these two formats were the least used in Chines e j-blogs. Therefore, if Chinese j-bloggers want to engage readers in j-blogs and know more a bout what readers are th inking about, they should adjust their minds and make good use of formats such as readership forum in the future. The analysis of the j-bloggers responses showed that j-blogg ers in China have started to communicate with readers and cared about what they say and feel. The data showed that 26% of j-blog posts with one or more reader comments had j-bloggers re sponses. However, there were 74% of j-blog posts with at least one reader comment and no response from j-bloggers, and only 9.9% of j-blog posts with one or more reader comments had more than one response, which suggested that still a great many j-bloggers in China have been missing out on opening up a dialogue with readers. As a matter of fact, th e study found that seven j-bloggers in 45 (16%) were responsible for 71.8% of the responses and the remaining 38 j-bl oggers were not very responsive. Among the 45 j-bloggers in this stud y, 12 j-bloggers (27%) did not respond to any comments, indicating that the response rate di ffers significantly depending upon the individual jbloggers, and the personal prefer ences or habits of j-bloggers are important. Some j-bloggers 68

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may intend to communicate more with readers or are more familiar or comfortable with the way to communicate with readers through j-blogs. In addition, the researcher found, in some cases, that those who frequently left comments in a j-blog were the co-w orkers of the j-blogger. In other words, reader comments are not only le ft by readers but also by other journalists. Accordingly, the development of interactivity among readers and journalists online, as well as journalists and readers desire to participate in online journalism in China, may still lie in the early stage. It was also revealed that j-bl og posts with more reader commen ts were more likely to have more j-bloggers responses. A blog post that inspired many comments might make the j-blogger feel it was important to respond. It is evident that some j-bloggers in China have begun to deploy a strategy of interactive dialogue with readers. By adopting j-blogs on thei r websites, traditional newspapers in China went beyond providing news a nd opinion to promote interactivity, in which the role of gatekeeper is shared by both journalists and readers. Gatekeeping theory proposes that journa lists are the ones who select and deliver information that flows over the communicati on channel, shaping what should be finally presented, hence implicitly defining the limits of discourse on public issues (Shoemaker, Eichholz, Kim, & Wrigley, 2001; White, 1950; Rees e & Ballinger, 2001). In this way, the gate swings only one way from the jour nalists outward. Only information available to the journalist is allowed out to audiences based on the decisions of journalists (Watson, 2003). However, the existence of reader comments in Chinese j-blogs makes it possible for readers to join the game and publish information on newspaper websites (Kov ach & Rosenstiel, 2001). As a matter of fact, 62.6% of all posts studied had one or more r eader comments. Obviously, getting rid of the traditional role as passive audience, readers in China intend to further participate in news 69

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productions through ways such as commenting on j-blog posts, which helps their voices to be heard and their opinions to be noticed by journalists. By bl ogging and responding to readers, journalists are able to provide more news and opi nions to readers. As a result, Chinese j-blogs make the gate swing both ways so that informati on and opinion flow from the journalists to their readers as well as from readers back to the journalists, creating a mo re open environment. In fact, it was observed that there were different kinds of comments in Chinese j-blogs, which can be generally categorized into five types: 1) views toward the content of the j-blog post; 2) adding information to the j-blog post; 3) responses to other r eaders who had left comments; 4) providing news tips to journalists or responding to content from th e newspaper that the j-blogger works for; 5) off-topic content, like advertisements. The study found that j-bloggers responses differed greatly according to format or gender. J-blog posts as readership foru ms had the highest mean number of responses compared with other formats. Again, it means that formats such as a readership forum are a good choice to open the doors for two-way communication, and the use of such format should be highly encouraged among Chinese j-bloggers. Female j-bloggers were found to respond more frequently to readers. Although the study also found that si x of seven j-bloggers that mo st frequently responded to readers were male, which seems co ntrary to the previous findi ng, the format may have been a greater factor on this issue. No j-blog posts by females used the question-and-answer format, but 1.1% of posts by males in this study did, and these six j-bloggers of the se ven were revealed to be mainly responsible for using this format. When male j-bloggers chose to use the question-andanswer format, they were deliberately responding to readers. It was often the case that female jbloggers in China made friends with readers, caring about their happiness and chatting about daily life with readers through comments and responses. Other researchers have also found that 70

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women were more likely to use blogs as a communi cation tool for social interactions (Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006). Hyperlinks and Multimedia in Chinese Journalists Blogs J-bloggers as well as many other online journalis ts have to decide which media formats, for example videos, audio or pictures, can best offer information, which is the ideal way to connect a story to other archives and resour ces (Deuze, 2003). Research about the role of hyperlinks and multimedia in blogs has shown that application of hyperlinks and multimedia in blogs is not only an issue of technology and skills but also an issue of understanding and developing a different, dive rging journalistic news culture (Deuze, 2003). Chinese j-blogs demonstrated low use of hype rlinks and multimedia: 89.7% of j-blog posts had no onsite hyperlinks; 89.8% of j-blog posts included zero offs ite hyperlinks; 79.4% of j-blog posts did not have pictures. There were very fe w j-blog posts containing video and audio; and no audio and photo slideshows were found in Chines e j-blogs. All these fact s revealed that the application of hyperlinks and multimedia is quite limited in j-blogs in China now, which may result from Chinese j-bloggers limited understandings of technologies related with the Internet and blogs. The most frequently used feature was photogr aphs. Hyperlinks in Chinese j-blogs are mainly used as a means to familiarize readers with background information and promote the jbloggers own stance on issues discussed. Onsite hyperlinks ( M = .29) were more frequently used than offsite hyperlinks ( M = .20), indicating that Chinese j-bloggers relied more on their own newspapers for linked materials. Interestingly, a majority of offsite hyperlinks were directed to those well-known newspaper or news agency websites in China such as Peoples Daily ( www.people.com.cn ) and Xinhua News Agency ( www.xinhuanet.com ), or the main news Web portals, like Sina (news.sina.com.cn ) and 163 ( news.163.com ), which perhaps are the main 71

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online news resources and most often visited websites by journalists in China. Most hyperlinks in Chinese j-blogs were to texts rather than multimedia such as video and audio, which again implied that multimedia remains an untapped resource for j-blogs in China. The study showed that the numbe r of offsite hyperlinks diffe red by topic. J-blogs about politics/government/military and crime/accidents/ disasters had the highest mean number of offsite hyperlinks, while lifestyle and celebrity/entertainment posts had the lowest means. The reason may lie in the facts that 1) on the serious issues like politics, j-blogg ers wanted readers to look at the original source; 2) wh en covering hard news like politic s and crime, j-bloggers had to look up offsite hyperlinks for comprehensive info rmation. In contrast, for the soft news like lifestyle and entertainment, offsite hyperli nks were not that nece ssary and important. Geographic region was revealed to have a significant effect on use of offsite hyperlinks and use of pictures. The highest mean number of offsite hyperlinks was in the East and the lowest in the Middle, consistent with the result s of previous research showing that the highest rates of new technology adoption and Internet usage were in the East (Keidel, 2007). Surprisingly, the study found that jblog posts from the West were th e highest in mean number of pictures. Re-examining the population of the stud y, it was found that three j-bloggers in 15 from the West were photojournalists, who were more lik ely to post pictures, wh ile only one j-blogger from the Middle and none from th e East were photojournalists. Gender also had a significant effect on use of onsite hyperlinks. Female j-bloggers on used more onsite hyperlinks averag e than male j-bloggers. Format was revealed to have a significant effect on use of onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks and pictures. J-blog pos ts in the format of news su mmaries had the highest mean number of onsite hyperlinks due to the fact th at, when summarizing news j-bloggers often used 72

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onsite hyperlinks to link to the complete story. The format of straight opinion column had the highest mean number of offsite hyperlinks, whic h were used to provide background information and help readers to understand j-bl oggers opinions; this format had the lowest mean number of pictures. Another interesting finding was that when filte ring out all the j-blog posts with zero onsite hyperlinks, offsite hyperlinks, videos audio, or pictures to analyze the influence of topic, format, geographic region and gender on hyperlinks and mu ltimedia, it was found that format and gender no longer had any significant influence on hyperlinks and multimedia, although the use of offsite hyperlinks still differed significan tly between topics and regions in the same way, and use of pictures still differed significantly between regions in the same way, compared with the results without filtering. The examination of the interrelationships among frequency of hyperlinks, multimedia, reader comments and j-bloggers responses revealed that use of pictures is positively related with use of onsite hyperlinks, videos, reader comments, and j-bloggers responses, which means that the more pictures in a j-blog post, the more ons ite hyperlinks and videos Those j-bloggers who posted more pictures in their jblogs were more likely to use hyperlinks and other advanced multimedia technology, like video. In addition, the study found that reader comments were positively related with j-bloggers responses, onsite hyperlinks, videos and pictures. The more pictures, onsite hyperlinks and videos j-blog posts had, the more reader comments in that j-blog post. There is an implication that adding hyperlinks and multimedia features such as photos and videos in j-blogs can encourage readers to comment. 73

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74 Whats more, the study found that the number of j-blogger responses was positively related with use of pictures in the j-blog posts. Therefor e, it is reasonable to suggest that the more jbloggers engaged in multimedia use, the more atte ntion they paid to their j-blogs, and the more they would like to communicate with reader s. J-bloggers responding is an obvious way to enhance communication. Regarding hyperlinks and multimedia, the study found that 27 j-bloggers (60%) did not use any onsite hyperlinks. Twenty eight j-bloggers (62%) did not have any offsite hyperlinks in their blog posts. Twenty j-bloggers ( 44.4%) used neither onsite hyperlinks nor offsite hyperlinks. Eighteen j-bloggers (40%) used no pi ctures at all. Five j-blogge rs (11%) were responsible for 84% of onsite hyperlinks. Four jbloggers (9%) were responsible for 60% of offsite hyperlinks. Eighteen j-bloggers (40%) were re sponsible for 88.6% of pictures. This suggests that the use of hyperlinks and multimedia depended heavily upon individual j-bl oggers. If a j-blogger understands blogging, perhaps he or she is more likely to use more pictures, hyperlinks and multimedia. Chinese j-bloggers preferences and ha bits of using hyperlinks and multimedia, as well as their familiarity with the technology, might influence how they manage their blogs overall. For example, if they understand blogging be tter, they may use certain formats such as question-and answer and readership forum, more frequently, and include more videos and audio to make their j-blogs more interesting.

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CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION Limitations and Future Research First, because there was neither a complete directory of j-blogs on Chinese newspaper websites nor an authorita tive list of newspapers in China th at was publicly available, although the researcher tried every possible way to coll ect j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China and compile them together into a complete list, the population of th is study still cannot be demonstrated to be comprehensive and inclusive. Second, because the sample for this study was the j-blog posts on newspaper websites in China and not on non-newspaper websites, it is likel y that these j-bloggers have some constraints such as professional reputation, business evaluation, and editorial supervision. This may directly influence the performance of journalists on blogg ing. Many Chinese journalists have maintained blogs on large blog portals such as Hexun (blog.hexun.com) and Sina (blog.sina.com.cn), where their identity as journalists and the newspapers they work for ar e not recognized. If all those jblogs could be included into the sample, the study would be more comprehensive. For future research, from the perspective of j-bloggers, their motivation for maintaining jblogs, the pressure and barriers faced in the practice, their attitudes toward technology like multimedia, can be studied through interviews. Those j-blogs with gr eat popularity can be studied to reveal the basic features of a successf ul j-blogs. From the pers pective of readers, who these readers are and their characteristics, thei r motivations for reading and commenting on posts, their attitudes toward j-blog credibil ity and their perceptions of j-blog content, are also in need of analysis. From the perspective of interactivit y, continued research on the content of reader comments, whether journalists are influenced by reader comments and how, whether readers are affected by j-blogs and how, can bring in d eeper understanding about two-way communication 75

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and gatekeeping in j-blogs. From the perspective of multimedia, it will be interesting to study the type of pictures, hyperlinks, video and audio th at j-blogs use; how jbloggers differ in using multimedia; why the influence of format and ge nder on multimedia and hyperlinks differed when filtered. Further research examining correlati ons among hyperlinks, multimedia use and reader comments can also help us to know more about j-blogs. Conclusion and Final Thoughts Overall, this study of j-blogs on newspaper websites in China was a small attempt to review the development of these blogs, examining their basic characteristics and analyzing the influence of geographic region and gender on j-bl ogs. Theoretically, this study proposed to reconceptualize gatekeeping theory in j-blogs in China and apply gender theory on Chinese j-blogs. It was found that the topic and format of j-blogs differed by geographic regions and genders. Significant main effects with topic, format, re gion and gender were found on reader comments. Gender and format were revealed to influence j-bloggers respons es. Correlations between reader comments and j-bloggers responses, onsite hyp erlinks, videos and pictures, as well as correlations between pictures and onsite hyperlinks, videos, reader comments, and j-bloggers responses, were revealed. The Internet has posed big chal lenges to the traditional journalism in China. At the same time, it offers journalists more opportunities for ne w journalistic practices such as j-blogs. It seems that journalists in China have been adap ting themselves to the new media environment and building the authority of traditional news or ganizations online. They have become j-bloggers, covering issues like lifestyle, politics/govern ment/military, business/economic activity and crime/accidents/disasters, using the formats of rumor-mill blogs, straight column of journalists opinion, and reporters news noteboo k frequently. The format of j-blog posts varied by topics. 76

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Also, j-bloggers have started to use hyperlinks and pictures to conve y stories, yet are still in the infancy stage of video and audio applications. Realizing that the mechanism of the Internet technically gives equal rights of speech to users, and that journalists can no longer be th e ones to control the news decisions, Chinese jbloggers are gradually adapting their traditional ro le of gatekeepers to sense-makers who support the value of information they distribute and are concerned with reader opinion. Thanks to the participatory nature of the Inte rnet and the increasing amount of information available online, readers are able to make their own decisions on news and let journalists know what they think and what they want directly. By commenting on j-blog posts and using hyperlinks in their comments, readers open the gate of news decisi ons and allow the information to flow both ways, not only from journalists to reader s but also from readers back to journalists. A new relationship with more interactivity between journalists and a democratized public is coming into being in China. Geographic region proved to be influentia l on Chinese j-blogs. Economic and cultural differences among the East, Middle and West China affected the topics and formats seen in jblogs. Newspapers in East China had overwhe lming advantages over other regions in the development of j-blogs, in both quantity and qual ity. J-bloggers in East China were more active in using hyperlinks and in teracting with readers. Differences between male and female j-bl oggers were found as well. Generally, there were more male j-bloggers in China. Male and female j-bloggers differed in choosing topics and formats for blogs. However, female j-bloggers se emed to be more active in communicating with readers. 77

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78 The landscape of journalism in China is chan ging. At this time, jblogs are a practice of traditional Chinese newspapers with new media and online journalism. J-blogs in China may assume the role of educating both journalists a nd readers for a more open atmosphere of public discourse, encouraging more communication and interactivity. It is still too early to say whether the development of j-blogs on newspaper websites in China is a fad or a trend that will develop into an important part of media. However, j-blogs have been bringing fresh air to the traditional Chinese newspapers and will exert some influence on the changing journalism landscape in China.

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APPENDIX A CONTENT ANALYSIS CODEBOOK Coder name (Coders to write down their name) Coding date (Coders to write down the date that the coding is taking place) ID (Coders to write down the identification number assigned to the j-blog post for content analysis) Variable list: 1. Newspaper affiliation 2. URL of j-blog post 3. Name or online ID of the j-blogger 4. Gender of j-blogger 5. Geographic region of the ne wspaper hosting the j-blog 6. Topic of each j-blog post 7. Number of comments from readers in each j-blog post 8. Number of responses from the j-blogger for each j-blog post 9. Number of onsite hyperlinks in each j-blog post 10. Number of offsite hyperlinks in each j-blog post 11. Number of video included in each j-blog post 12. Number of audio included in each j-blog post 13. Number of pictures incl uded in each j-blog post 14. Format of j-blog post 79

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Variable definitions: 1. Newspaper affiliation This variable records the host of the j-blog, th e name of the newspaper that the j-blog is affiliated with. 1 = City Express (Dushikuaibao) 2 = Zhejiang Daily (Zhejiangribao) 3 = Liaoshen Evening News (Liaoshenwanbao) 4 = Xinwen Morning News (Xinwenchenbao) 5 = Xinwen Evening News (Xinwenwanbao) 6 = Qilu Evening News (Qiluwanbao) 7 = Xinmin Evening News (Xinmingwanbao) 8 = Southern Weekend (Nanfangzhoumo) 9 = Yangzhou Evening News (Yangzhouwanbao) 10 = Huasheng News (Huashengbao) 11 = New Culture (Xinwenhuabao) 12 = Hubei Daily (Hubeiribao) 13 = Dahe News (Dahebao) 14 = Nanyang Daily (Nanyangribao) 15 = Wuhu Daily (Wuhuribao) 16 = Chongqing Evening News (Chongqingwanbao) 17 = Ningxia Evening News (Ningxiawanbao) 18 = Ningxia Daily (Ningxiaribao) 19 = Modern Life (Xiandaishenghuobao) 80

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20 = Chongqing Morning News (Chongqingzaobao) 21 = Chongqing Daily (Chongqingribao) 22 = Henan Business News (Henanshangbao) 2. URL (Uniform Resour ce Locator) of j-blog This variable records the addre ss of each j-blog post online. 3. Name or online ID of the j-blogger This variable is the name or the online ID of the j-blogger show n in the j-blog profile. 4. Gender of the j-blogger This variable is the gender of the j-blogger identified in the j-blog profile. 1 = Male 2 = Female 0 = Unknown 5. Geographic region of the ne wspaper hosting the j-blog This variable measures where the newspaper hosting the j-blog located. Coders will identify the location of the newspaper by its na me, or in the introduction of newspaper on its website, or by the address provi ded on the newspaper website. 1 = East (including Provinces of Liaoni ng, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan) 81

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2 = Middle (including Provinces of Heilong jiang, Jilin, Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi) 3 = West (including Provinces of Inne r Mongolia, Guangxi, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Tibet, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang) 6. Topic of each j-blog post This variable measures what content the j-blog covers. This code will tell us the topic of each post in the j-blog. Based on Deutschmanns scheme (1989) and Ploppers category (1991) of newspaper content, the followi ng category of possible topics of j-blog post was established: 1. Politics, government and military (inc luding administration, government related activities, laws, war, and defense); 2. Business/economic activity (including budgets, taxes, finance, money-related items, and features on businesses or utilities); 3. Crime, accidents, disasters (i ncluding alleged crime incidents, accidents, disasters, court proceedings and decisions, and any investigations involving any of the items in this category); 4. Science/technology (including development of science, medical research, and high technology); 5. Celebrity/entertainment (including entertainm ent, celebrity events/figures, and celebrity scandals); 6. Lifestyle (including educa tion, religion, art/music, sports /health, travel, cooking/food, family/parenting, pop cultur e and human interest); 7. Other (including all the other topics that do not fall into prev ious categories). 1 = Politics, government and military 82

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2 = Business/economic activity 3= Crime, accidents and disasters 4 = Science/technology 5 = Celebrity/entertainment 6 = Lifestyle 7 = Other 7. Number of comments from readers in each j-blog post This variable measures whether readers respond to the post of the j-bl og and the number of comments from readers. Because th e ID of each post writ er in the j-blogs is identifiable, it is reasonable to take posts from people with IDs different from the j-blogger as comments from readers. Coders will identify the comments from readers after each j-blog post and count them. There are some reasons that readers do not leave any comment at all. So, if coders cannot find any comment from readers on the j-blog but there is a place for readers to comment, coders will take that readers are reluctant to comment for the post and put 0. If coders can find no way to leave comments after j-blog post, coders will ca ll or email the newspaper hosting the j-blog to find out whether comment is forbidden or there are other reasons for showing no comment on the j-blog. If comments from readers are forbidden, coders will put -1. 0 = Comments allowed but no comment from readers -1 = Comments are not allowed Actual number of comments from readers if there is any 8. Number of responses from the j-blogger for each j-blog post 83

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This variable measures whether the j-blogger responds to readers comments. Coders will find if there is any post from the j-blogger afte r reader comments behind each post, which react to readers idea. If there is no reaction from th e j-bloggers after readers comments, then coders put 0. If there is any, coders will count them and write down the number. 9. Number of onsite hyperlinks in each j-blog post This variable measures whether there are hyper links in each j-blog post that links to some content on the same newspaper website and the number of such hyperlinks included. 10. Number of offsite hyperlinks in each j-blog post This variable measures whether the conten t hyperlinked in the j-blog post is on other websites instead of the newspaper website hosti ng the j-blog and count the number of such hyperlinks. 11. Number of video included in each j-blog post This variable measures if there is any video clip included in the posts of the j-blogger and how many. Coders will count the total number of video embedded in the post of the j-blogger. 12. Number of audio included in each j-blog post This variable measures if there is any audi o included in each post of the j-blogger and how many. Coders will count the number of a udio embedded in each j-blog post. 13. Number of pictures incl uded in each j-blog post 84

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Coders first find out whether there is any news photo, other photo or other image in the post of the j-blogger and count the number of pictures included in each post. 14. Format of j-blog post This variable measures what kind of fo rmat j-blogs assume. Based on Robinsons categorization (2006) of seven j-blog formats and a preliminary review of some j-blogs on newspaper websites in Mainland China, the format of j-blog can be categorized into nine types. The first seven types are from Robinsons literatu re. The last two are added by the researcher as categories appearing in the j-blogs in China. 1 = Reporters notebook of news tidbits and in cidentals (for example, some small news stories collected or r ead by the j-blogger) 2 = Straight column of opinion for the Web (for example, expression of personal opinion for some news or inci dentals for the Web) 3 = Question-and-answer format by editors (for example, a list of collected answers for some questions previously received from readers) 4 = Readership forum (for example, a call for readers suggestions or news clues to give people an opportunity to make their concerns known, a place for journalists and readers to communicate with each other) 5 = Confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat (for example, an excerpt from the blog of Globals Mike Edgell In my career so far, I have met people who have been victimized in every way possible I think. Sometimes they pop into my head months or even years later.I think of that woman who wa s chopped in pieces by her boyfriend and the interview I did with the killer before he was arrested and how many lives he affected. I think 85

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86 about an immigrant family in ottawa that lost everything it had built in Ca nada in a fire with no insurance. There are so many.) 6 = Round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication (for example, a summary of important last-season-news from the newspaper where the j-blogger works or a review of news stories written by th e j-blogger for the past half year) 7 = Rumor-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record account (for example, release of rumors or some information not proved true that are not so a ppropriate for publication, like some speculation or conjecture by the j-bl ogger; or record s of the reporters own life) 8 = Copy of articles from others with the source stated (for example, some journalists read some interesting stories and want to share it in th e j-blog with readers. So they copy the article in the blog with the source stated in stead of merely giving a hyperlink) 9 = Poetry (some poems or verses created and posted by the j-blogger)

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APPENDIX B CODING SHEET Coder name (circle one): 1 = Fangfang Gao 2 = Yan Lin Coding date: / / 2008 ID of the j-blog post: Please read the entire j-blog post first and code the information below. 1. Newspaper affiliation of j-blog (Circle one): 1 = City Express (Dushikuaibao) 2 = Zhejiang Daily (Zhejiangribao) 3 = Liaoshen Evening News (Liaoshenwanbao) 4 = Xinwen Morning News (Xinwenchenbao) 5 = Xinwen Evening News (Xinwenwanbao) 6 = Qilu Evening News (Qiluwanbao) 7 = Xinmin Evening News (Xinmingwanbao) 8 = Southern Weekend (Nanfangzhoumo) 9 = Yangzhou Evening News (Yangzhouwanbao) 10 = Huasheng News (Huashengbao) 11 = New Culture (Xinwenhuabao) 12 = Hubei Daily (Hubeiribao) 13 = Dahe News (Dahebao) 14 = Nanyang Daily (Nanyangribao) 87

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15 = Wuhu Daily (Wuhuribao) 16 = Chongqing Evening News (Chongqingwanbao) 17 = Ningxia Evening News (Ningxiawanbao) 18 = Ningxia Daily (Ningxiaribao) 19 = Modern Life (Xiandaishenghuobao) 20 = Chongqing Morning News (Chongqingzaobao) 21 = Chongqing Daily (Chongqingribao) 22 = Henan Business News (Henanshangbao) 2. URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of j-blog post: 3. Name or online ID of the j-blogger: 4. Gender of the j-blogger (circle one): 1 = Male 2 = Female 0 = Unknown 5. Geographic region of the newspape r hosting the j-blog (circle one): 1 = East 2 = Middle 3 = West 6. Topic (circle one): 1 = Politics, government and military 2 = Business/economic activity 3= Crime, accidents and disasters 4 = Science/technology 5 = Celebrity/entertainment 6 = Lifestyle 7 = Other 88

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89 7. Number of comments from readers (If there is no comment, circle 0 or -1; if there is any comment, count the number and write it down): 0 = Comments allowed but no comment from readers -1 = Comments are not allowed 8. Number of j-blogger responses: 9. Number of onsite hyperlinks: 10. Number of offsite hyperlinks: 11. Number of video included: 12. Number of audio included: 13. Number of pictures included: 14. Format of the j-bl og post (circle one): 1 = Reporters notebook of news tidbits and incidentals 2 = Straight column of opinion for the Web 3 = Question-and-answer format by editors 4 = Readership forum 5 = Confessional diary written by th e reporter about his or her beat 6 = Round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication 7 = Rumor-mill blog that the reporter us es as an off-the-record account 8 = Copy of articles from othe rs with the source stated 9 = Poetry

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Fangfang Gao was born in China. She received her B.A. in journalism and communication as well as a bachelors degree in finance, economics, from Zhejiang University, China, in 2005. During her college time, she was a reporter for the school paper and the city newspaper. Prior to her graduate study, Gao worked in Chinese government for one year. She graduated from University of Florida in Augus t 2008 with a M.A.M.C and continues studying at UF for her Ph.D. 98