A Comparative Study of Xinhua and CNN's Overseas News Bureaus


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A Comparative Study of Xinhua and CNN's Overseas News Bureaus
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1 online resource (76 p.)
Dong, Jingwei
University of Florida
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Master's ( M.A.M.C.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Mass Communication, Journalism and Communications
Committee Chair:
Cleary, Johanna
Committee Members:
Ostroff, David H
Roberts, Churchill L


Subjects / Keywords:
bureaus -- in-depth -- interview -- news -- overseas -- qualitative
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
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With increasing awareness of international journalism, the importance of establishing overseas news bureaus has been realized by worldwide media organizations. Overseas bureaus function differently for countries with different social systems and ideology. For countries utilizing news as a propaganda tool, overseas bureaus are created to air the framed global events to the domestic citizens. Meanwhile, the establishment of overseas bureaus is necessary for news organizations in a free and democratic society, as it facilitates viewers and listeners to understand global affairs, which affect their daily lives.  Accordingly, this research has selected CNN's overseas bureau in Beijing and the Xinhua News Agency's overseas bureau in New York City for a comparative study. Through a series of in-depth interviews with six journalists working in these two distinct overseas bureaus, this research aimed to explore every detail of their news planning, news gathering, and news selecting processes. With the expectations to go beyond their daily workflow, the researcher analyzed the factors influencing their gatekeeping and framing processes from the individual level, to the organizational level to a social and ideological level. From a methodology perspective, this research has strengthened the application of the qualitative approach for assessing international journalism.
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by Jingwei Dong.
Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Adviser: Cleary, Johanna.
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2 2012 Jingwei Dong


3 To my mom and d ad


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis would not have been completed without the help of so many people. I would love to thank my committee members for their mentoring and understanding. I thank my chair Dr. Cleary for inspiring my academic int erest Her continuous encouragement, patience and help made my graduate journey easier. I thank Dr. Ostroff and Dr. Roberts for t heir valuable guidance, comments and opinions I am grateful to Jody Hedge, for all of the help she has provided throughout my graduate career. I thank all the faculty and staff of the College of Journalism and Communications for their hard work for makin g me proud of the education of the University of Florida. I thank my m om and d ad for their love which motivated me to fulfill my goal. I thank my family for their support to make my education in the U.S. financially possible. I thank my friends for taking care of me during the hard time of my graduate program


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 11 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 16 ................................ .............. 16 ................................ ............. 17 ................................ ................ 18 A Brief Introduction to CNN and CNN International ................................ ................ 19 CNN International During Transformation ................................ ............................... 21 Gatekeeping in the News Making Process ................................ ............................. 23 Framing in Mass Communication Studies ................................ ............................... 25 Ideological Influences: Framing in International Communication Studies ............... 27 News Values: Key Factors in the News Making Process ................................ ........ 30 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 3 1 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 35 Qualitative In depth Interview ................................ ................................ ................. 35 Participant Selection ................................ ................................ ............................... 36 Protocol ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 39 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 44 Elements Affecting Individual Gatekeeping: News Values and Newsworthiness .... 44 CNN ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 44 Xinhua ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 45 Similar or Different Media Environments: Perceptions and Interpretations ............. 46 CNN ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 46 Xinhua ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 48 Challenges during Implementations: Social and Ideological Conflicts .................... 49 CNN ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 49 Xinhua ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 52


6 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ........ 54 New Market Orientation of Xinhua ................................ ................................ .......... 54 Capitalizing Operation under Communist Ideology ................................ ................. 56 CNN Confronting Political Challenges ................................ ................................ .... 58 Ideology Conflicts and Localization ................................ ................................ ......... 60 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 62 Limitations of the Study and Suggestions for Future Research .............................. 66 APPENDIX: INTERVIEW GUIDELINES ................................ ................................ ........ 68 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 69 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 76


7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Growth of Xinhua, 1950 2010 ................................ ................................ ............. 33 2 2 Overseas bureaus of the Xinhua News Agency ................................ ................. 33 2 3 CNN then and now ................................ ................................ ............................. 34 2 4 s international bureaus in five regions ................................ ........................ 34 3 1 ................................ ................................ ........ 43


8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Bureau structure of CNN ................................ ................................ .................... 42 3 2 Bureau structure of Xinhua ................................ ................................ ................. 42 3 3 ................................ ................................ ....... 42 3 4 ................................ ............................... 43


9 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 BUREAUS By Jingwei Dong December 2012 Chair: Johanna Cleary Major: Mass Communication With increasing awareness of international journalism, the importance of establishing overseas news bureaus has been re a lized by worldwide media organizations. Overseas bureaus function differently for countries with different social systems and ideology. For countries utilizing news as a propaganda tool, overseas bureaus are created to air the framed global events to the domestic citizens. Meanwhile the establish ment of overseas bureaus is necessary for news organizations in a free and democratic society, as it facilitates viewers and listeners to understand global affairs, which affect their daily lives Accordingly, this research has selected CNN's overseas bureau in Beijing and the Xinhua News Agency's overseas bureau in New York City for a c omparative study. T hrough a series of in depth interviews with six journalists working in these two distinct overseas bureaus, this research aimed to explore every detail of their news planning, news gathering, and news selecting processes. With the expect ations to go beyond their daily workflow, the researcher analyzed the factors influencing their gatekeeping and framing processes from the individual level, to the organizational level to a social


10 and ideological level. From a methodology perspective, this research has strengthened the application of the qualitative approach for assessing international journalism.


11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION As we are moving towards a more diversified world, news organizations of today are much more than simply systems of information delivery (Peck, 2011). The increasing awareness of international affairs, globalization, knowledge of cultural differences, and on site live experiences has been observed as a trend for an increasingly global mass media (Croteau & Hoynes, 2010) Understanding globalization is essential to good reporting (Peck, 2011). Meanwhile, for countries intent on advancing their public diplomacy, international journalism has proven to be the key to further national interests and to wield soft power (Seib, audiences throughout the world with messages that presumably possess added experience and e ffects of distance and time have been transformed by universal networks of synchronically coordinated activities, with a new system of governance rising to the spotlight during this process (Khagram, Riker & Sikkink, 2002). As a result, for a news agency s erving as the propaganda tool of its country, overseas news bureaus have been created to produce foreign news reports that advance the national interest of their governments by disseminating them throughout the space (Seib, 2010), as well as airing the fra Other than propaganda, the establishment of overseas bureaus is also a necessity of news organizations in a liberal and democratic society, as it advances t he informational function of mass media. Ac cordingly, overseas news agencies have been


12 rapidly and broadly established, with the aim of facilitating viewers and listeners to understand international affairs and how their daily lives are thus affected. Therefore, through a series of in depth interv iews, this research project compar e d CNN's overseas bureau in Beijing with the Xinhua News Agency's overseas bureau in New York City. By analyzing the news planning, news selecting and story telling process of journalists from these two distinct news organ izations, the researcher went beyond describing their daily practices, with the attempt to find out the news philosophy behind the scene, as well as to provide more insights to future researchers. Every day, a tremendous flood of information has been crea ted, gathered and distributed globally, being the products of these two overseas bureaus' daily workflow. However, the essence of understanding the dynamics of the reality construction process by the mass media is to seek the answer to these questions: whi ch piece of news will be presented or not, and how to tell the story to the national and worldwide audience. In other words, though innovative digital transmission has enhanced the traditional news making process with greater amount, faster speed, and ther efore more timely access, still, the rationale of the news production is crucial to make the real difference. As researchers have investigated, international news stories account for a significant percentage of broadcast news content (Wanta, Golan & Lee, 2 004). It is the most timeless way to understand what happened in another country of the world particularly, in a country that is worth paying attention to. The United States and China are considered two world powers with two distinctly different political philosophies and which proceed in world affairs on strikingly different courses. The attitude that the


13 Chinese government has towards media has been controversial for a long time. ced its eliminated a staggering two thirds of all prime shows t hat have been canceled. Other programs that have survived have had to towards low taste," as well as to keep China from being westernized and divided by the onal forces", as President Hu Jintao claimed in a party magazine required to air at least two hours of news programming between 06:00 a.m. and midnight. They must each broad cast at least two 30 minute news programs between standing and has not been loosened. On the contrary, the U.S. has been famous for looking upon the media as the Fourth Estate, with the implicit meaning that the press, together with other branches of government, enjoys equality of stature created by the Constitution (U.S. Const., 1789). The media is guaranteed its vital role as guardian of democracy by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 1789, Congress stipulated that freedom of the press would not be abridged by any laws enacted by the government (U. S. Const. 1789). Therefore, it would be fascinating to examine the similarity or difference in coverage, presentatio n styles and news values, between global news organizations


14 espousing different journalistic philosophies and from two countries with different social systems as well as ideologies. As two of the most influential global news media outlets with tremendously different backgrounds, the Xinhua News Agency from China and CNN from the United States carry a number of distinctive characteristics in terms of their natures, missions and national interests (Kung Shankleman, 2000). They also have the resources and the expertise to conduct continuous coverage of global news events. CNN, a privately U.S based corporation, is now a part of the gigantic Time Warner conglomerate and is viewed by more than 1.5 billion people in over 212 countries and territories (Time Warner, 2010). It also has 45 news offices and over 4,500 correspondents across the world (CNN Worldwide Fact Sheet, 2012). Xinhua, a state owned Chinese news agency, also has the resources to compete globally and provides an alternative perspective to mos t western international news media (Moyo, 2010). Xinhua relies heavily on Chinese government subsidies, and is also The researcher conduct ed qualitative in depth intervi ews with one bureau chief or manager and two senior level journalist s from each of these two news agencies. By analyzing the insight and meaningful details from the interviewees, the study examine d the different stan d points of these international journalis ts towards news values, journalism ethics, cultural differences, as well as ideological distinctions from the two news organizations Gatekeeping and framing are employed as the theoretical frameworks of the study By examining how information is selected vetted, gathered, and shared by


15 reporters and news organizations (White, 1950; Shoemaker 1991; Livingston & Bennett, 2003) scholars indicate gatekeeping as a process involved in gathering, filtering, and distributing news content (White, 1950; Berkowitz 1990; Beard & Olsen, 1999; Storm, 2007). The idea of framing has been identified as the methodology for a great number of studies relevant to analysis of news reporting or producing. According to Gitlin (1980), knowledged, organize the world both for (p.14). Conclusively by conducting interviews and analyzing the transcript, this study emphasizes on seeking the ideological influence on the news gathering process, and aims to find out how these journalists gather, filter and distribute the news content, how they frame the story to the domestic and international audience, and what makes the representations of the stories diff erent.


16 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW History of The Xinhua News Agency is the largest state run news agency in China, as well as the largest news agency among all the developing countries (Hong, 2011; Zhao, 2 004) with more than 7,000 employees (Scotton & Hachten, 2010). Domestically, in Beijing, and it has additional news offices in 50 cities among 31 provinces. Internationally, Xinhua has five regional headquarters, as well as news bureaus in more than 100 countries all over the world (Xinhua, 2011). h in The Xinhua News Agency, founded in 1937 after the Communist Party Hachten, 2010, p. 117) during the civil war of China It was developed from the Red China News Agency, the first news service for the Communist Party of China, set up in 1931. Xinhua served as th ideas of the Party, developing sources of information for the Party leaders, as well as broadcasts to the worl d (Pan, 2002). 377). From then on, Xinhua became the national news agency and almost the only official source of information in the nation (Zhao, 2004).


17 gency In 1978, China adopted the market economy and open door policy. Great d ia practices and ecology by economic reform and technological achievements. Plus, the end of the Cold War around the same period of (Hong, 2011). Despite the fact that a lmost all media outlets in China are still owned and operated by the state and the primary function of the media is st tongue Communist P arty and the government ( Hong, 1991 ; Hong, 1998; Zha o, 1998; Tang, 2005; Hong, 2011), Xinhua, the major state run central media, has undergone the most profound changes in economic reform. With a goal to be a leading world news service, Xinhua restructured itself and expanded its activity ( Chu, 1994) In just 6 y ears, from 1976 to 1982, Xinhua established 11 new bureaus abroad. 2005). Guided by su ch a grand goal, Xinhua has been improving its news services both technically and professionally, according to Hong (2011), and Xinhua has achieved remarkable progress especially in three aspects: First, with more than 100 bureaus operating across the glo be, Xinhua has one of collecting networks, one that covers nearly every corner of the globe. This is the primary requirement for a news agency to be considered a global news ag ency (Pan, 2002). in 1995 to 80 million words in 2008, with content not only about China but also about


18 important world events and issues. Third, as early as 1986, Xinhu a had already started distributing news around the clock and adopted a computerized news transmission system that made it more competitive in terms of timeliness (Zheng, 2002). Consequently, twenty years after the reform started, Xinhua proudly claimed th at with stead y development both in China and over the world, Xinhua had reached the recognized world news service (Winfield an d Peng, 2005) in 1998. Ten years later, in 2008, it became one of the largest news agencies in the world, with a total of 33 domestic bureaus and 123 overseas bureaus covering 190 countries and territories and producing 4 million words of news and informat ion, 300 news stories, and 1,500 news photos per day in seven languages i.e. Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabian and Portuguese. (Coonan, 2010; Xinhua, 2010c). T able 2 1 shows the global development and transformation o f Xinhua over the pa st 60 years. In 2012, the overseas news network of Xinhua News Agency consists of six regional bureaus, 162 overseas branches and several news editing desks in different regions based on different spoken la nguages. The six regional bureaus are based respectively in Hong Kong, Cairo, Nairobi, New York City Mexico City, and Brussels. T able 2 2 shows the Xinhua overseas bureaus in diffe rent regions all over the world. the United States in 1971 (Cooke, 2011). In 2011, Xinhua moved its North American headquarters from the New York


19 borough of Queens to Times Square. The moves are part of a broader push by China's government to enhance its "soft power" abroad by countering the dominance of Western news outlets and conveying a Chinese perspective on events (Troianovski, 2011). According to Xin (2009), the structure of Xinhua overseas bureaus is based on a regionalized system of management and control. In order to enhance it s presence abroad, Xinhua plans to open up more bureaus in the next five years. Its ambition is to establish at least one office in each country. outlets in China are still owned a nd operated by the Communist party and government and the primary function of the media is still to be the mouthpiece of the party and the (Hong, 2011, p. 379) Referencing the media system, Chinese leadership favors a hybrid form of governance calle liberalism and political illiberalism (Donald & Keane, 2002, p 5). A Brief Introduction to CNN and CNN International The Cable News Network (CNN), now a division of Turner Broadcasting System, INC, and a Time Warner company, was launched in 1980, as a creation of Ted Turner. 2001), CNN has been well recognized for reporting breaking news and current events ed in just about any place on earth were available for the audience at any and time again and attained critical acclaim for its live coverage of issues of global concern In 2012, the CNN brand comprises 13 international TV networks and services,


20 including CNN Mobile, and nine U.S. based services, and reaches a billion people worldwide (CNN Overview, 2012). Expansions of CNN are listed in Table 2 3 Holding the belief always prime global, by launching a new channel CNN International (CNNI) in 1985. As the world's leading global news network avai lable 24 hours a day, seven days a week with an international orientation, CNN International (CNNI) is continuously updated to bring news, current affairs, politics, opinions and business programming worldwide. According the CNN International news network can be viewed in more than 259 million television households and hotel rooms in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, via a network of 38 satellites (CNN Worldwide Fact Sheet, 2012). o breaking news remains its trademark, CNN Thirty three worldwide overseas bureaus respectively report to London, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi, and staff in these thre e regional production centers coordinate with c olleagues at Atlanta, the world h eadquarters of CNN. Relying on over 4,500 members from different countries with various background, but stick to the consistent editorial judgment, CNN International offers dis tinct broadcast feeds for viewers in five different ve regions are listed in Table 2 4 The schedules of the different regional versions no longer differ significantly from each other, but there are still minor var iations such as weather updates and show times. For example, CNN International Asia Pacific is the Asia Pacific edition of the CNN International cable network and is required extra payment to watch. Hong Kong is the


21 regional headquarters where the feed ori ginates. Transmissions of CNN International Asia Pacific edition began in August 1989, with exclusive programs included for the Asia Pacific region such as Asia This Day, CNN Morning News (Asian edition), News Biz Today, and Asia News. Notably, CNN has rep mainland China includes an arrangement that their signal must pass through a Chinese controlled satellite. In this way, Chinese authorities have been able to black out CNNI CNN Intern ational During Transformation As stated i n the press kits of the Turner Newsroom websites, CNN consistently proves itself as a comprehensive, highly acclaimed news service to its domestic and rom wide coverage including the Gulf W ar, Tiananmen Square, As a world renowned broadcast network, CNN attributes its "leading" position of covering breaking news among the philosophy (CNN Overview, 2012). On July 4, 1997, CNN was awarded the Liberty Medal. Ted Turner accepted the award on behalf of the network, saying: "My idea was, we're just going to d, and show socialism or totalitarianism as bad. If we just showed them both the way they 1997.7.4). Pure objectivity seems to be the first principle the CNN journalist s stick to for news reporting. Meanwhile, CNN has been trying to make the broadcast content less America focused. T he famous tagline CNNl since September 21, 2009, along with a new integrated programming strategy, to


22 combine its several newscasts into a single one entitled World Report Moreover, the ol new ethic to show respect to the journalism professionals who may come from different backg international perspective, in order to target more diverse market by positioning itself more internationally (CNN Observations, 2009). Critics to the global market leader for comme rcial news programming Though carrying different characteristics in terms of nature, commitment, philosophy, Xinhua and CNN no doubt have their own resources and expertise to conduct continuous coverage of global news events. Unlike Xinhua, a state run ne ws med ia entity with about 45% of annual income gained from advertising, and 40% of essential for CNN to make a profit. In this case, it is crucial for CNN to produce newscasts with an apparent market orientation to cater to the audience, so as to guarant ee the sales of the broadcasting program and subscription fee, therefore securing its financial sponsors. coverage of the Anti Japanese Protests in China. As the result, CNN, a typical commercialized news cooperation, was found to carry more emotion ridden stories with higher dramatic potential than BBC, a commercial free public service broadcaster entirely supported by state funding.


2 3 Researc hers have also pointed out that the way t hat news producers integrate information into the story would grant it more dramatic features (Berner, 1988; Grabe, Zhou, & Barnett, 2001; Grabe, Zhou, Lang, & Bolls, 2000), to either highlight or lowlight certain characteristics of an event. Regarding CNN Tiananmen Square, the War of Afghanistan, the Riot of Tibet, there were also some informative dimensions employed to depict the story, in order to attract larger audiences (Eveland, Seo, & Marton, 2002), and the attention ma y be directed to story telling style other than fact based objectivism. This distinctive informative style in which CNN presents news stories is frequently criticized, for it affects the emotions of the viewers (Aviles, 1999). Some researchers question ed CNN, for it has been giving a very narrow American focus to the news (Nobre Correia, 1995). As Tom Johnson, CNN president in 1996 clearly stated, reference to us as America n s programing schedule differs by regions with newsgathering from 33 overseas bureaus, it is not always showing the success in covering the international story from a local angle (Zheng and Zhou, 2009) Gatek eeping in the News Making Process The gatekeeping theory has a long history in mass communication research, and it has been advanced by a series of contributors. Psychologist Kurt Lewin established the concept of gatekeeping in 1947 by a study on the shopping behavior of Iowa housewives changed by the effect of the one way communication. According to his experiment, Lewin realized that message s flow through the gate and that gatekeepers control what makes it through the gate (Lewin, 1947).


24 David Mannin g White (1950) first applied gatekeeping to journalism when he was working on an editorial desk of a newspaper By observing the process of the wire editor, who is indicated as Mr. Gates by White, making the selections of news stories White intended to figure out what criteria would be used by Mr. Gate stories for publication. During the seven days of data collection, White documented the decision making process and subjective. As a result, White concludes that the gatekeeping process reflects the Scholars later expanded White s gatekeeping research and found the gatekeepers play only limited role in the news decision making process, since the gatekeeping activities are always affected by other organizational factors, such as news ints, technologies etc. (Gieber, 1956; Livingston & Bennett, 2003 ; Reese 2007 ). Particularly gatekeepers working for broadcast TV stations are influenced by the rush to meet the deadline and the availability of the footage (Gieber, 1956; Whitney & Becke r, 1982 ; Harmon, 1989 ). A fundamental improvement of the gatekeeping theory is the realization of multiple gatekeepers including not only editors, but also various news practitioners who perform different functions from a potential news story to the final publication (McNelly, 1959; Bass, 1969). Shoemaker (1991) indicated that gatekeeping is the daily process by which the many messages in the world are reduced by news decision makers and shared with the public Based on the previous studies, she developed t he gatekeeping theory and


25 classified the models of activities into five categories: in dividual, routines of work, organizational, social and institutional Specifically, individual level focuses on the extent to which personal gatekeeping are able to influ ence during the news decision making process (Lewin, 1951; White, 1950 ; Gandy, 1982 ). At the routines of work level, journalists employ a set of ( Shoemaker, 1991, p. 48 ; Gieber, 1956), such as the news values including accuracy, fairness, timeliness, etc., to make the gatekeeping judgments. The organizational level concentrates on internal factors of a news organization It views the news outlet as the decision made by the journalists as a group, and the criteria vary by different organization s (Bantz, 1990). The institutional level takes the exogenous characteristics of organizations and their representatives into consideration, including political and economical factors that affect the gatekeeping process (Donohue, Olien, & Tichenor, 1989). Eventually, the social system level explores the distinctions caused by ideological and cultural elements on gatekeeping (Gramsci, 1971). For news networks as comprehensive as CNN and Xinhua, their gatekeeping processes may be affected by various internal and external factors. The news decisions made in both of the networks do not only represent the characteristics of the individual news professionals and of the organizations. As the g overnment news agency and the commercial news leader, the news pass es through the ir gate s may reflect the political and economical aspects, and furthermore, the ideology and culture of the society. The gatekeeping theory provides the frame for the explorat ion. Framing in Mass Communication Studies Tracing back to the earliest framing research, which is usually credited to


26 situation that are built up in accordance with pri ncipals of organization which govern an 10). Accordingly, all types of human activities are subject to framing. Referring to the news making process, how journalism professionals report the current event me ans how they frame the story. T hrough a number of empirical studies and theoretical contributions (Akhavan majid & Ranaprasad, 1998), n umerous researchers have identified the idea of framing as the theoretical framework during news producing, especially ne ws reporting. She first brought up the practice of framing in the news production process in Maki ng News. By conducting her research on construction of reality in news media, she pointed 183)." News workers do not simply mirror society, but help to make news a "shared so Later, the applicability of framing was further developed by Gitlin (1980) as the (Gitlin, 1980, p. 7). In his analysis of the students' movement of the 1960s, Gitlin argued that, media frame is "w hat makes the world beyond direct experience look natural (Gitlin, 1980, p. 7). Ser ving as the working routine, media frames allows the j ournalists to quickly identify and classify information and "to package it for efficient relay to their audiences"( p 7)


27 The concept of framing was lat o frame is to se lect some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communication text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item 2). Entman also brought up four functions of framing as defining the problems, diagnosing the causes, making moral judgments, and suggesting remedies. As he pointed out, bits of information could be made noticeable, meaningful, or memorable to audiences, a s long as highlighted by the subject of communication (Xie, 2007). From their six decades of research in mass communication Shoemaker and (p. 21). As a socially constructed product, news is majid & Ranaprasad, 1998, p. 132). A lthough expressed differently, framing scholars have made similar efforts in identifying the framing studies that focus on certain aspects of the mass communication metaphors, (Entman, 1991, p. 7). Framing constitutes an inevitable step in the process of news production. Ideological Influences: Framing in International Communication Studies Framing has been emp loyed as the theoretical framework for a long time in research of news reportin g and producing, especially intercultural and international


28 related topics. Through suppressing unnecessary details and elaborating elements that can communicate ideas to the re ading public in terms of their own culture, journalists construct news as a narrative within the frame (Xie, 2007). More recently, framing has been defined by McQuail (2005) as primarily about selection and salience transfer in news. In more practical ter ms, framing can be said to Numerous scholars have contributed to the study of international communication and international coverage across media (Schramm, 1959; Schramm & Atwood, 1981; Hachten & Scotton, 2007; Besova & Cooley, 2009). Researchers have tried to figure out the motivat ions that drive the gatekeepers to choose certain news stories of a foreign country over others. For Instance, by conducting the research to identify the predictors of international news coverage have been made, Wu (2000) attributed trade volume and presen ce of international new agencies to the primary predictors of the amount of news coverage. Besides, studies also revealed that politics, economy, and culture is highly relevant to the amount of coverage (Hopkins & Wall erstein, 1996). Especially, countries with more political power accordingly receive more media attention (Besova & Cooley, 2009). Moreover, through examining the concepts of news frame and ideology, researchers have revealed a clear connection betw een them. Norris (1995) defined a rough which each of us sees the world and


29 of framing in news coverage and framing is an important mechanism by which ideology is disseminated through the news (Xie, 2007). majid & Ranaprasad, 1998, p. 134), is expected to exert primary influence on the framing of news (Becker, 1984, p. 73; Shoemaker & Ree se 1996, p. 243). Capitalism and anticommunism are considered as the dominant ideology in the United States, while Communism and its precepts are the pertinent examples of dominant ideology in China. Referring to CNN and Xinhua, what is a good story, and how to make a good story may be defined quite distinctively by these two globally influential news outlets with different social systems and ideology. In the cohort of western industrialized ise rather than a demand with the market as its driving force. While in the Communist Press system, journalism considers mass media and their related products as socia l goods which must be controlled and directed by the state as resources for national development. News becomes a national asset, which serves as a tool for the state to educate the public about the national and international situations and to build a nati onal identity free from the damaging influence of imperialist powers (Tang, 2005). Since the western conception of news is as a commodity and the Communist Press philosophy of news is as a social source for national development, Xinhua and CNN distinctly (Moyo,


30 2010, p. 198) around the world, as well as essentially engage in t he ideological process Apart from this selection process in news production, their news narratives are also inheren tly ideological because they represent certain social, economic and political worldviews as natural and commonsensical (Moyo, 2010). As a result of the discussions above, the researcher would argue that in their international reporting, news agencies provi de the audiences with a framework within which to interpret events, diagnose causes, and seek consequences. News Values: Key Factors in the News Making Process News values are vitally relevant to journalists during their news making process, as the tool for them to fulfill the roles of gatekeepers. Journalists make editorial judges among the countless events which are happening everywhere. As White (1964) stated in his famous study about the selection of news, 165). Galtung and Ruge (1965) also did their research on the news presented i n four different Norwegian newspapers regarding the Congo and Cuba crises of 1960 and the Practically, news values are the understan ding by media professionals about values, far from being universal, are actually different depending on the countries and media organizations considered. Mellor compared t he news making in the Arab world with the Western world, and she found news in the Arab world is more closely


31 (Mellor, 2005, p. 81), while in the West human interest is an increasingly important criterion for selecti ng stories. Archetti also investigated what shaped the media coverage of 9/11 in eight elite newspapers across the U.S., France, Italy and Pakistan (Archetti, 2010). She attributed national interest, journalistic culture, and editorial policy to the three variants that journalists construct the news on. Accordingly, media professionals select the sources that are newsworthy to them, identity (politicians rather than intel lectuals, members of the public, experts or religious originated quite differently, it will be appealing to analyze the news values of journalists from Xinhua and CNN. Re search Questions As a socially constructed product, news represents the social value and dominant ideology. As a consequence, it would be intriguing to compare the gatekeeping and framing processes of journalists who are re porting in the overseas bureau o f a country with different social system. Although numerous studies have been conducted within the field of international journalism researchers rarely employ in depth interview as the methodology to explore the behaviors from the angle of the news making overseas news bureaus, this research intended to examine the following research questions


32 R Q 1: What news values are featured in the news outlets of Xinhua and CNN respectively? What m akes a story newsworthy for these two groups ? What are the factors influencing them from the news selecting until publishing? R Q 2: How do they describe the media environment of the country they are currently working in ? What is the most influential factor of the media industry in this country? Is it similar or different from their native country? How do they interpret the similarity or difference? R Q 3 : What is the biggest challenge for the international journalists of CNN and Xinhua, during the process of blending their news values and ideology into the news products? How do CNN and Xinhua respectively respond to any social and ideological conflicts as well as fulfill their commitment s in practice?


33 Table 2 1 Growth of X inhua, 1950 2010 Year Overseas Bureaus Total Staff Wire Services Major Foreign Clients News Output (in Millions of Words/Year) News Items (Year) News Photos (Year) 1950 28 2000 3 N/A N/A N/A N/A 1996 100 7000 14 56 201 8400 27,000 2005 105 8000 23 113 621 40,000 365,000 2010 123 13000 40+ 200+ 1460 110,000 547,000 Source: Data from Nan (2001), Guo (2001), Yu (2005), Coonan (2010) and Hong (2011). Table 2 2 Overseas b ureaus of the Xinhua News Agency Region Regional Headquarter Regional Bureaus Asian Pacific Hong Kong Macao, Ulaanbaatar, Tokyo, Seoul, Pyongyang, Hanoi, New Delhi, Singapore, Yangon, Kathmandu, Islamabad, Dhaka, Colombo, Bangkok, Manila, Canberra, Wellington, Kabul, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Phnom Pen h Middle East Cairo Ankara, Nicosia, Tehran, Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, Rabat, Sanaa, Khartoum, Amman, Tunis, Algiers, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Jerusalem, Gaza City and Riyadh Africa Nairobi Addis Ababa, Maputo, Dar Es Salaam, Lusaka, Lagos, Harare, Tananarive, Lome, Abidjan, Kinshasa, Brazzaville, Dakar, Libreville, Kampala, Yaounde, Luanda and Johannesburg. North America New York City Washington, Los Angeles and Ottawa Latin America, Mexico City Havana, San Jose, Santiago, Caracas, Panama, Bogota, Managua, Quito, Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Lima and Montevideo Europe Brussels London, Berlin, Geneva, Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna, Rome, Athens, Helsinki, Stockholm, Moscow, Kiev, Almaty, Riga, Sofia, Budapest and Belgrade Sou rce: Data from Xinhua Online (2004) and Xin (2009).


34 Table 2 3 CNN then and now June 1980 June 1990 June 2005 April 2012 Networks and Services 1 3 24 25 U.S. Bureaus 8 9 10 12 International Bureaus 2 14 26 33 Satellite Distribution 1 3 13 16 Number of Staff 225 2,140 4,000+ 4,500+ Household Distribution 1.7 Million Worldwide 58 Million Worldwide 260 Million Worldwide 358 Million Worldwide Languages English English English, German, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese Turkish English, German, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese Turkish Source: 25 years of CNN News Group (2005) and CNN Worldwide Fact Sheet (2012). Table 2 4 international bureaus in five regions Regions Regional Bureaus Europe London, Berlin, Istanbul, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Moscow and Rome Middle East Abu Dhabi, Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Dubai, Jerusalem Latin America Bogot, Buenos Aires, Havana, Mexico City, Santiago Asia Pacific Bangkok, Beijing, Chennai, Hong Kong, Islamabad, Jakarta, New Delhi, Seoul, Tokyo, Africa Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg Source: CNN Overview (2012) and Turner Newsroom: CNN International (2012).


35 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Qualitative In depth Interview This research project is based on qualitative in depth interviews with six news depth interview is often described as a form of conversation (Burgess, 1982a, 1984; Lofland & Lofland, 1984). Sidney and Beatrice We bb further described the in depth interview method as being 75 p. 130), which is to understand the international correspondents from an everyday, social level to a deeper level (Davies& Irying, 2000; Robson, 2002; Ru bin, 1995; Spradley, 1979) of their work in these two different news agencies. This coincides with the unique strength that the interview has, as described by Marshall and Rossman (2010), which is allowing the researcher to especially when combined with observation. According to the studies outlined in the literature review, most of the prior research in the related field has been done quantitatively, which may be not suitable for this study. The qualitative approach has comparative advantages with the quantitative methodology in several aspects. For instances, the survey is a respected method to gather representative data from a large sample on factual questions (Pugh 2010). However, this research is based on the journalists working in overseas bureau. The population size is small, and it is not applicable to generalize. Moreover, the goal of qualitative approach reflects the purpose of this research. Altheide (1996) indicated qualitative study is attempting characteristics, and organizational aspects of the documents as social products, as well


36 Since this study aims to explore the differences in t he news decision making process es of these two groups, the qualitative approach is a more appropriate methodology Additionally, when addressing specific questions that require more details, such as the personalized concept of news values, journalism ethic s, cultural differences, as well as ideological distinctions in this study, in depth interviews would allow more rapport to be built between the interviewer and interviewee and therefore obtain the deeper understanding. Interviews involve direct contact w ith the research participant, and when conducted in comfortable settings, are likely to be more personal as well as productive (Hoyer and MacInnis, 2007). As Kozinets explained, qualitative methods are particularly useful for revealing the rich symbolic wo rld that underlies needs, desires, meanings, and choices (Kozinets, 2002). Therefore, to better grasp the viewpoints of the foreign correspondents working in these two news agencies, qualitative research has been considered to be the most suitable. Partic ularly, the in depth interview is a perfect method when the participants of the research are prominent, and/or well Rossman, 19 99, p. 113). Participant Selection International bureaus play a significant role in the international news coverage and production for both of these two media organizations. As an important branch of CNN International in the Asia Pacific region, the Beijing bureau is responsible for strategic planning of the ne primarily one of


37 the bureau chief's job duties. There are two crews in charge of news selection, reporting and producing. Each crew contains a producer, a reporter and a photographer. Generally, the producer takes t he responsibility of news planning, news selecting and editorial judgment making; the reporter is responsible for interviewing, reporting and script writing; while shooting, editing and digital transitioning will be the work of photographer. Also, CNN hire s some local journalists as news assistant s to help with story idea pitching, transcribing and translating during the interview. The Beijing Bureau reports to CNN s Regional Headquarters in Hong Kong The Hong Kong Regional Center pitches story ideas for t he Bejing Bureau, as well as reports news coverage and programming schedule to the Atlanta World Headquarters. The news planners and futu r ists oversee the Asia Pacific Area through Hong Kong, but for breaking news and current events, they directly contact the Beijing Bureau. The Beijing Bureau of CNN tells stories of China, sometimes including current events in Mongolia and North Korea. As the North America regional headquarter s located in Times Square, the New York bureau of Xinhua News Agency is taking a spectacular spot in this center stage of world class media. Xinhua "actively adapted itself to the changing scenario of global media competition, and has undertaken strategic transformation in a comprehensive manner, in a bid to build itself into a world c lass, all media news corporation" (Xinhua, 2011). It also serves as the production center of the other six Xinhua bureaus in the U.S. The New York Bureau of Xinhua s reporting is based on the area nearby the New York City, and sometimes the reports travel nationwide for significant news.


38 Similar to the Beijing bureau of CNN, the New York bureau chief is in charge of strategic development, advertising and promoting of the Xinhua News Agency in the U.S. However, the function and structure of the reporters an d editors are quite different from CNN. Reporters work as one man band journalists to cover the news story, and their works include interviews, video shooting and script writing. Editors will separately edit the video clips and texts then send the distribu table content back to the world headquarter in Beijing. Xinhua also hired several American natives as copy editor or senior reporter, as Xinhua needs to provide the story script in both Chinese and English. In this study, valuable information could be expe cted from the journalists of the two most influential global news media outlets according to their expertise in relevant realms. For Xinhua, the New York Bureau is the regional headquarter of the North America region. The New York Bureau oversees all of Xi nhua s news offices in the U.S., such as in Washington D.C, Chicago, Los Angeles etc. Generally, the New York Bureau mainly controls its own coverage of the North America, and it is not required to report to the Beijing Headquarters. However, their news p roducts need to be edited and approved by the Beijing Headquarters before publishing, and they are also censored by the Cent ral Department of China. Figure 3 1 and Figure 3 2 are the flow charts explaining the relationships among the bureaus and headquarte rs. Based on the scale of the overseas bureaus and the numbers of employees, six journalists were selected as the participants to be interviewed for this qualitative study. Three participants were from the Beijing Bureau of CNN including two reporters and one producer; the other three were from Xinhua News Agency in New York, including two reporters and one editor. As some of the interview questions were somehow


39 sensitive all of the participants involved in this research were anonymous w ith the intension to minimize risks of disclosure of any potentially harmful information. Therefore the interviewees were named as respondents A through F without a detailed description. Taking the regular rotation and relocation into consideration, emplo yees who have been working in these two oversea news bureau s for over one year were selected as qualified participants for the study Particularly, employees with more than three years experience were considered as senior level. In addition, all of the sel ected staff s of the CNN Beijing Bureau are not Chinese citizens, and all of the selected staff s of the Xinhua News Agency in New York are not U. S. citizens. The manager level participant from CNN has been working in Beijing Bureau for over eight years, an d the selected manager from Xinhua has been working in New York since the bureau officially established in 2008. Both of the managers experienced major turning points of the media industry and covered significant events in the foreign countries. Therefore, they are capable to overview the media environment and foresee the development direction. The other four participants have already been considered as senior level journalists before sending overseas to report internationally. All of the participants own a great amount of knowledge of the country they are currently working in, either from previous work experience or education background. The breakdown of their qualif ic ations is displayed in Table 3 1 Job Flow of ureau ar e respectively listed in Figure 3 3 and Figure 3 4 Protocol Prior to conducting the interviews this research was approved by the University with the explanation of protocol and solutions to


40 minimize the po tential risks At the beginning, participants were contacted by the researcher in person. An invitation explaining the research topic, purpose, and procedures were sent to the potential participants, through their private email addresses. The informed cons ent form and bio of the research er were also attached. After being cleared on the research protocol, the potential participants responded to the researcher by email. Qualified participants were contacted directly by the researcher to schedule the in person interviews. There was no compensation for participating the study. All participants volunteered to be interviewed. All of the interviews were conducted in person The locations were chosen by the interviewees. Interviews with CNN journalists were conduc ted in the break room inside the Beijing Bureau which is located at the Jianguomen Diplomatic Compound in Beijing Interviews with Xinhua journalists were conducted in the conference room inside the building on Times Square in New York. All interviews followed a question guide, which covered various aspects of the news making process in these two bureaus. Appendix A shows the questions that guided the researcher and int erviewees through the interviews. The interviews were recorded digitally into a mobile device. Names and titles of the interviewees were not asked during the interview, so they would not be part of the data files, with the intention to protect the identit ies. The vocal recordings were transcribed by the researcher During transcribing, the researcher double checked if all potential identifiers were removed and erased. The vocal recording files and transcripts were deleted immediately after the data analysis.


41 Each interview took about 6 0 minutes on average The shortest one was 45 minutes and the longest one was 70 minutes.


42 Figure 3 1. Bureau structure of CNN Figure 3 2. Bureau structure of Xinhua Figure 3 Beijing Bureau Hong Kong Regional Headquarters Air on CNNI to Audience Atlanta World Headquarters Air on CNN&CNNI to Audience D.C. Office Chicago Office L.A. Office ... New York Bureau/ North America Headquarter Beijing World Headquarter (Edited & Approved) Audience Beijing Bureau Chief Crew 1 Producer 1 Reporter 1 Photographer 1 Crew 2 Producer 2 Reporter 2 Photographer 2 News Assistant Freelancers


43 Figur e 3 4 Table 3 1 List of participants qualifications Participant Experience Specialization Identification CNN Beijing Bureau Respondent A 8 years Reporter Non Chinese Respondent B 3 years Producer Non Chinese Respondent C 2 years Reporter Non Chinese Xinhua New York Bureau Respondent D 4 years Editor Non American Respondent E 3 years Reporter Non American Respondent F 2 years Reporter Non American New York BureauBureau Chief Manager 1 Manager 2 Manager 3 Reporter 1/ Photographor 1 Editor 1 Freelancers Reporter 2/ Photographor 2 Reporter 3/ Photographor Editor 2 Editor 3


44 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Six in depth interviews were conducted with participants from two CNN and Xinhua s overseas news bureaus. The conversations were based on the interview guideline. Participants ta lked about every aspect of the news making process, and rich details have been revealed to answer the research questions. Three research questions functioned as the preliminary criteria to classify the data into three categories. Findings on the individual and routine levels, including newsworthiness, news value s and personal experience, are under research question one; findings on the organizational and institutional levels, including market driven force, political influence, media environment, are under research question two; finally findings on the social system level, including culture and ideology impact, are under research question three. Elements Affecting Individual Gatekeeping: News Values and Newsworthiness CNN Respondent A described that whatever CNN journalists thought was newsworthy was based on whether it reflects lives of the viewers of CNN. Essentially he made the news decision about news selection according to whether the story actually affected the lives for good or for bad for potential viewers of CNN. As Respondent A stated: So whether it is economic crisis, or war, or rioting, or food shortages, or food safety, or whether it improves GDP growth more revenue collected, improve d exports, all of that. Because all of that, more jobs or less jobs, ar e audiences care about it, and it affects live for good or for ill. That is my interpretation of our new s value. Respondent B held a similar viewpoint but emphasized more on the depth of reporting. Respondent B considered his reporting objective and accurate. Particularly, the interviewee s normally would not be a group of people who were well known for


45 having chang ed society; moreover, they tended to focus on the lives of people with low s ocial status and diverse backgrounds to reveal the great challenges facing China. Similarly, Respondent C share d the news values he stuck I like abou t the media is that we make the uncomfortable comfortable and we comfort the aff abused, have grievances, have pain, and that the media has the duty to comfort them O ne way of achieving that is using the media to shed light on the dark side of the society, w Xinhua Respondent D explained that Xinhua tended to hold the same news values as its competitors to will make profit when the users Asia, they have realized there is stil l a gap between Xinhua and worldwide renowned news agencies, such as AP, Reuters, AFP, etc. Although Xinhua is state run, it is still competing with the other major news agencies on the same level and the same platform. With observing the media moving towards the trend of marketization and ua has put the users on top of its considerations, which is also the same as the other news agencies, and we therefore have the same news values as them, such as accurate, timeless, balanced sa id Respondent D. Respondent E thought that journalists in Xin hua honor ed balanced and accurate reporting, especially when covering a sensitive story with a series of conflicts, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement. He emphasized that they report the story from various angles:


46 We talk to the financial conglomerat ions, the protesters and the federal governors, because we understand that the perspectives towards social issues are always complicated and we never just emphasize one standpoint but omit another one in our reporting. We tend to be honest with what we se e and what we hear, but not to lead or induce our audience. Respondent F also considered fairness as a very important factor in newsworth iness because more users will accept an objective script. He believes that Xinhua would really love to get involved in the global media environment with intensive competition, and they are ready to embr ace this market, not only because marketization is the developing trend, but also for stereotype that the reporting of X inhua equals to the voice of China, which is always positive propaganda B ut that is not completely of political scandals, including corruption and bribery, have been reported by Xinhua and other Chinese media agencies resulting in the deposition of many governors. mean that Chinese me dia does not have this function, h e said. However as he mentioned, the fact that Xinhua i s a state run news agency is not hat is why most of the time Similar or Different Media Environments: Perceptions and Interpretations CNN Regarding the image of Chinese media, all respondents mentioned propaganda as the key word. Respondent A observed that, for many years, the old co ncept of news


47 party, the people and the country he added. Under this circumstance, he found that the government intended to block everything considered bad for the interest of the people and the country through censorsh since the concept did not allow for so Resp ondent C also pointed out that the problem of the Chinese media industry was that it d id Fourth E platform, or as a voice for the people, especially those who have been suffering. However, all of the CNN respondents from the Beijing Bureau perceived that overall, the media industry in China has been developing in a positive trend, comparing with the situation 10 years ago, when the Chinese media was generally still state run and state funded. As Re here are certain stories we cannot do then, but we can do now. It is more of that. The change is, I think, in general, more positive The respondents also indicated the contradiction faced by the Chinese medi a. Since most of the news agencies in China are funded by the government and, therefore are under government control, if they side d with the people with grievances against the government, they offend the government who is giving them money. It is more difficult for Chinese media to stand with these people in such a situa tion. As Respondent A an you be totally free to report, if your boss, if your funding agency is the one a result, t he media is always caught between the government and people. But he suggested that over time Chinese journalists have been using their pen and television to expose the abuses and corruption from big to small. He has seen


48 aybe not as hard hitting, maybe in a more subtle way, but they are using the m edia as the platform to do good and he thought there has been change along that line, then it Respondent B also agreed that the media in China has changed significantly and fundamentally over the years, especially the last ten years, although it was not totally free for imposing control to them said Xinhua Referring to the media environment of the U.S., all o f the respondents considered for being a free market, but not state run with government funding. Respondent D even industry, but the U.S. media constitution Respondent F acclaimed the U.S. media industry as Most of the journa lism practitioners have shown Moreover, journalists are I really feel the equality between governors and reporters, which makes me understand the meaning of Compared to that of the Chinese media, it is definitely a freer environment. However, from their work experiences, all of the respondents felt that there were still


49 some limitations of the U.S. media und er some circumstances, which made them believe there could not be pure objectivity for any of the U.S. media. Respondent E found the media environment not as transparent as he was told after Occupy Wall Street issue as an example. He said he was surprised by the attitude of the U.S. mainstream media, because they did not cover the issue as much as he expected, nor as deep as he thought they would I feel like the coverage is unbalanced and not objective. The protest was even omitted at the beginning phase. I wonder if that is because the Wall Street financial groups are the sponsors of these media organizations, a nd it made me doubt if they are also affected by some other factor, such as financial. Respondent F pointed out that the partisanship was very capacious in the TV e all know that MSNBC speaks for the Democrats and FOX speaks for the Republicans was good to be allowed talking about politics free ly on TV, although the TV news content ha d a very strong partisanship preference which might affect the audiences, es pecially when the Presidential e lection was approaching Challenges during Implementation s : Social and Ideological Conflicts CNN Respondents from CNN consider ed the regulatory restrictions from the Chinese governm ent as the biggest challenge of covering news in China. For a long time, journalist s in the Beijing Bureau have been suffering under the regulation issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, aiming at the reporting and interviewing activities of the international media bureaus and journalists in China. foreign journalists were required to get permission from the local Municipal Foreign Affairs Office; whenever they want ed to


50 make a visit or an interview, the journalists ha d to get permission 10 days in advance. As respondent A argued, this rule urse is ridiculous news 10 days in advance. I t is just meant to be difficult For many years, foreign journalist s in China have been lobby ing to change that rule. In 2007, one year before the Beijing Olympic Games, the Chine se officials change d the rules governing foreign journalists in China T he biggest change in the set of rules was the elimination of s Therefore, the new regulation has Respon dent A a s a big concession, for it means now except for Tibet, international journalist s can go anywhere in China, as long as they are invited by one person there. According to the rule, they are free to travel and interview at any time without getting permission from the local Municipal Foreign Affairs Office. In practice, most of the time the local officials live up to that, but this rule is not always followe r us said Respondent B, especially whenever travelling to sensitive areas, like Tibet, Xinjiang, or Tiananmen Square. we are doing sensitive stories, w e still have local officials, local police, local people who are trying to stop u s, slow us d o u gh any government by local official s and polic e f rom physically getting close to the village where C hen was We were harassed physically. They set up the roadblocks on the road leading to the village where Chen lived. That is one example that the new rules


51 Responde nt C also mentioned there have been some backsliding trends during the implement ation of the new regulation. The government would easily turn the rules hey were very, very nerv ou s for the revoluti on last year when there were the reports of the Arab ic Spring C considered it as a backsliding from the trend of openness and professionalism. He found there ha d been kind of confusion among government official s and foreign journalists, like what is permissible now and what is not, and when they need to get permission. This confusion always get s them into trouble and even danger sometimes. Respondent A said they tr ied not to t hink too much about what w ould happen if they d id that story, and the reason was ou do not want to fall into the trap of self censorship, which is a danger of being in such a situation. You just have to do what they were also aware of the necessity to put personal safety as a priorit e tried to take cautions; we tried not to get into trouble. We also remind people we follow Chinese institution and laws, we do not want to break them, and we certainly do not want to intentionally break getting hurt, threatened, or harassed, no matter physically or emotionally. One more challenge or commitment the CN N respondents mentioned was that they tried to capture slices of li fe from different areas of China, to tell the bigger picture pictures of China, the angry China, the ba ckward China, the poor China, the isolated about a more real China


52 th r ough the process of education and reporting, and to give our audiences a sense of global pictur e, the concept of global image Respondent B also stated that CNN ha d tried to view the news through the presence of international reporter s but not an American channel or American company. Xinhua The challenges that Xinhua journalists are facing could b e classified into two categories: internal and external. Even though Xinhua is the biggest news provider in Asia, it is still a foreign news agency covering American stories in the U.S. So externally, the decreased recognition of the American society becom es the biggest challenge for Xinhua. As Respondent D acknowledged since Xinhua was considered as a well known media authority in China, the Xinhua title carried a lot of weight and helped work things out smoothly. The positions were always guaranteed for Xinhua reporters when covering significant events, such as press conferences or court case s However, working in the U.S., Respondent D realized that, as a foreign news agency, Xinhua was Respondent E found it was hard to set up interview s with U.S. federal sometimes the governors are just so reluctant to talk, because they doubt how much sense it will make to talk about these issues with a Chinese news covering the stories relev ant to China in a negative way. For instance, no one would like to talk about the QE issue with him, since the quantitative easing monetary policy has made a significant impact on developing countries, especially China.


53 Plus, regardin g military related e vents, Xinhua was not allowed to get access to the site the first time it happened. Respondent F took his coverage of the annual fleet week in New York as an example. Xinhua was not allowed to get into the naval vessel at the same time as the local TV stat ions, networks and newspapers Internally, the biggest challenge is the censorship from Chinese government authorities Specifically, Xinhua, as with any other Chinese media, reports to the Central Propaganda Department, which plays a leadership role in m edia control and censorship. According to Respondent D, the Central Propaganda Department does not censor every piece of the news that Xinhua produced, but for the sensitive issues, it sets specific Respondent F explained how they respond: We really hope to let the audiences know the fact s at the first time; however we still report to the Central Propaganda Department. So what we are always trying to do is to act as quickly as we can, to get script published before the Central Propaganda Department taking the action. Once we received the notification we know we are not able to continue our reporting, but anyway the script we have already successfully published cannot be recalled neither. So this is one strategy we normally take when dealing with the sensitive stories of China. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we failed. But overall we are trying to act as a world leading news agency. The news scripts written by the reporters will be sent to the editors for editing. Once the e dited scripts are approved by managers in the New York Bureau, they will be transferred back to the Newsroom of the Beijing Headquarters. Editors in the headquarter will double check the script before sending it to the users. Respondents said most of th e t ime there would only be some minor changes in the final publications, because as experienced international reporters, they have already had a good sense of how to structure their reporting.


54 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The purpose of the study is to explore the news values, journalism ethics, and cultural differences, as well as ideological distinctions of the journalist s from CNN Beijing Bureau and Xinhua New York Bureau This research has gained a large amount of meani ngful details and insights by conducting in depth interviews with news professionals from t wo countries with different social systems and disti n c t ive ideologies The interpretation of news activities from individual, organization and social levels, is of c onsiderable interest to analyze. New Market O rientation of Xinhua During the conversation with the Xinhua journalists, user and profit were mentioned many times as the key words in questions related to news value s It signifies a concept of marketizati on that has been continuously taken into consideration during their news making processes. In other words, practically, Xinhua is on its way of changing into a market orientated n ews agency through it s continued transformation for more than three decades with setbacks along the way. Respondents from Xinhua expressed their strong aspiration of becoming a worldwide leading news agency comparing with other world renowned news agencies such as the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Press. In fact, as the response to China s transition from the state competition ( Winfield and Peng, 2005 ) in the 1980s, Xinhua has been actively exploring diverse sources of funding by getting involved in various sorts of business activities. F or instance, Xinhua has been developing the provider user relationship with media organizations who subscribe to Xinhua and making the profit


55 from subscription since 1995. For over two decades, Xinhua has reduced the funding it rec eived from the government year by year (Xin, 2012). In 2002 Xinhua adopted a comprehensive new system for its business management, centering on the sale of news and information services, with newspapers/magazines and othe r businesses as its affiliates (Hong, 2010). Most significantly, China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC), a TV news network owned by Xinhua News Agency, has become successfully listed in Hong Kong by injecting its assets into a Hong Kong's listing company. CNC is the 24 hour broad cast TV division for news collection and distribution of Xinhua. Its Chinese channel was launched on Jan 1, 2010 with its English channel on July 1. Both channels target audiences from all over the world, broadcasting throu gh satellite, cable television, digital media, Internet and other platforms. As a list ed company, CNC endeavors to enhance its influence in the overseas market s and adopt the strategy of localization, so as to strengthen its information gathering capability (Xinhua, 2011) Being the head quarter s of the North American region, the New York Bureau plays a key role in developing English users of CNC, which s to build itself in accordance to the modern enterprise system into a self financed and world class media (Xinhua, 2011 ) as Wu Jincai, CNC president and Xinhua's deputy editor in chief, stated in a press conference in Hong Kong Meanwhile, he claimed that the operational mode of "capitalization" would help CNC get more support from the international capital market and boo st its reputation as a competitive, influential and world renowned media organization, which is also the commitment that the New York bureau respondents hold and try to fulfill in practice.


56 As a result, objectivity balance accuracy are taken into t he consideration of the journalist who produce news as a commodity on the CNC platform. The similar market orientated news value that Xinhua journalists hold is a proof of the increasing awareness of Western journalism principles among the Chinese news pra ctitioners. Optimistically, even though the media industry in China is still constrained by the complicated political env ironment, there is a hope that it will move towards a change allowing more freedom of speech, which could also be foreseen from the fac t that the new market orientated media outlets are enabled with considerable freedom when reporting some of the social problems. As the respondents stated, a great number of political scandals, including corruption and bribery, had been reported by Xinhua and the other Chinese media, and that resulted in the deposition of many governors. Capitalizing Operation under Communist Ideology However, it should also be kept clearly in mind that the tendency of marketization does not equal the procession of libera l iza tion Overall, the transition of Xinhua from a pure propaganda machine with Communist ideology, to a partially capitalized media group perform ing more informational function is driven by the economic reform of China. It was initiated as the reaction to the market economy and open policy, which were brought up by the government leader Deng Xiaoping strengthened during into the World Trade Organization (WTO ) to face the new challenges and opportunities, and expanded globally by the recently launched Go Abroad project to wield China s soft power In other word s the transition is under the control of the government with the purpose of strengthen ing China s power in the international arena Fundamentally Xinhua is supposed to perform its oppressive propaganda function during China s global development strategy.


57 Accordingly, there are multiple layers of gatekeepers of Xinhua s final news products. As the re spondents stated, Xinhua is still censored by the Central Propaganda Department, a higher gatekeeper, who will make the final decision of what kind of message the audience will rece ive and what it will not. In fact, it is revealed that economic reform has although it has profoundly changed Chi (Hong, 2010). No matter how much China has adopted the capitalist system economically it has been relevant to the political system and the communist ideology. Reflected in the media system, although the media operate s very much commercially, it is still under the tight control of the CPC and the government. In other words, no matter how market oriented their content and practice may b e, propaganda At the organizational level, television news is the result of a combination of decisions by journalists within news organizations and the influences from media owners, editorial policies, budget constraints, and the number of foreign news bureaus (Donohew, 1967; Epstein, 1973; Larson, 1984; Shoemaker & Reese, 1996). s dilemma represents the challenge of the majority of Chinese media under current circumsta nces. The news decision is always a debate between the bottom line and political line. Sometimes, it is even a competition between the news judgment of the journalists and the censorship of the Central Propaganda Department. Similarly, researchers have con ducted relevant studies to examine the impact of marketization on Chinese journalistic practices, such as the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, the nationwide SARS epidemic in 2004, and the food safety scandal in 2010 (Xin,


58 1997; Qin, 2004; Siu, 2010). Accord ing to these studies, the Chinese media has been depicte d as a complicated mixture. Factors influencing their news making involve the payment they will receive for cover ing the story, the news values adopted from the Western news aspiratio ns for greater editorial autonomy ( Xin, 2012 ). Meanwhile, being the media authority in China, Xinhua owns the priority in newsgathering nationwide. As a respondent in the New York Bureau said, interviewees normally would accept the interview invitation from Xinhua, and when covering significant events such as press conferences or court cases, the positions are always guaranteed for X inhua reporters. Therefore, Xinhua journa lists enjoy a certain degree of regulatory protection given their status as the state run media agency. As a result, they felt very weak working in the U.S., although they agreed this is a highly competitive and much freer market. Additionally, the Xinhua journalist s emphasized that they used to frame the story they cover in the U.S. from a balanced angle, especially towards the conflicts between groups with low and high social states. Specifically they tried to obtain different perspectives from various sources, keeping them objective and balanced in their script s It could be seen as a support of their objective news philosophy More sophisticated it is a proof of the a dominant Chinese ideology influencing Xinhua s news making proces s. In this case, the biggest concern for this principle is not to ar ouse similar c onflicts in China, regarding the complicated social contradictions as well as high political tension toward the government. CNN Confronting Political Challenges With the mono poly ruling of the Communist Party, media in China is working under the control of the government and strict news censorship. This is no doubt very


59 challenging for CNN journalist s who are from a liberal and democratic society where media has the obligati on and function to oversea the government as a watchdog As the respondents o f the Beijing Bureau believed, a goal of the media is to comfort the afflicted, so the media has the duty to shed light on the dark side of society and give voice to people. In this case, they frame their story from the angle of those who are abused, who have grievance s and who experience pain. Based on thi s commitment, their reporting on China is focused on corruption abuse of power, misuse of the l aw, etc., which is the same as what they normally do outside the country of China. In the U.S., freedom of the press was included among the basic human rights to insure a healthy and uninhibited flow of information ( U. S. Const., 1789 ). The First Amendmen t of the U.S. Constitution (1791) enshrined the importance of the press in nurturing democratic government. It is believed in the U.S. that a free and independent press provides people with the information they need to play an active role in the government and life of their country, and people must have the freedom to speak their mind and to publish criticism of their government (Cohen Almagor, 2006 ). However, in China, the media is not allowed to play a s imilar role as the Fourth Estate. As a result, the g overnment treats foreign journalists especially as troublemakers, for they are sending messages of bad news. As the CNN respondents pointed out, politi c is the most important influencing factor on the Chinese media environment Regarding the stories CNN no rmally reports, the government considers it negative, which may result in chaos or uncertainty. T he Chinese government would rather tighten control than take the risk to allow a freer media.


60 Accordingly, foreign journalists suffered from the old regulati on issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, which required them to get the permission from the local Municipal Foreign Affairs Office at least ten days before the interview activity. This spon dents, especially when compared to relevant policy in the U.S., where the courts generally have held that the press has a "watchdog" role over government and is not subject to prior restraint or registration. Despite the new Olympic rule that re place d granting foreign journalists with more freedom and rights, there are in reality still setbacks in the implement ation However, the CNN respondents still consider 2007 as a high point of the government loos en ing up control of the media. Also, they believed that in general the media environment in China is moving in a positive direction Moreover, as the CNN journalists observed, harmony and stability are crucial to the Chinese government When facing a number of undecided issues, such as the t ransition of the leadership, domestic economic problems, and the international economic crisis downturn, etc. the government will try to tighten the control of the media to avoid chaos, as they look at the media as an important compon ent of administration, but not a watchdog. Consequently t he government and mass media lose credibility, and the public s interest will be in grave danger. Ideology Conflicts and Localization Although CNN continuously functions as the watchdog and criticiz es the government in China, it has a low popularity and a reputation as unjust, according to the Chinese public, compared to the other international medias companies (Moyo, 2010). Basically, the antipathy was caused by CNN s distorted coverage of the Tibet an protests in 2008. An AntiCNN.com website was even created by Chinese Internet users


61 to s how proof of CNN s distortion including a cropped image in order to remove Tibetan protesters throwing stones at Chinese trucks, footage shot in Nepal but being described as the Tibet riots by the anchor. Therefore, the Chinese Internet users criticized CNN on its fairness and objectivity As the response, CNN refuted all of the allegations relate to the pro Tibetan bias and claimed the picture used wholly appropriately in the specific editorial context (CNN, 2008). The CNN respondents also hold the similar viewpoint as the official statement. They believed their reporting is accurate and imparting and reflected a wide range of opinions and points of view According to the response of CNN journalists regarding newsworthiness they tend to frame the story from the angle of people with low social status and distinct backgrounds to revea l the great challenges facing China Compared to Xinhua, which honors balanced reporting, there are clear ideological differences between these two news organizations. Historically, personal achievement and freedom is highly advocated in the Western cul ture especially in the United States (Gudykunst, Matsumoto, 1996). Hofestede (2001) and Beteille (1977) argued that stronger individualism has led to greater market capitalism, and political democracy. Similarly, Hofestede (2001) indicated that majority o f the Americans consider individualism as the root of a powerful country. He also emphasized According to Kobland, Du, Kwan (1992), Akhavan Majid, and Ramaprasad (1998) the news coverage of Communist countries


62 mainly focuses on and they therefore believed that an anticommunist ideology played a dominant role in the U.S. media. Meanwhile, as the respondents mentioned the a udiences are considered as their boss because most of CNN s revenue comes from subscription s and advertising. As one respondent said: e guard our reputation and our credibility very closely is because that is what keeps our audiences stick ing with us. Without it, they will desert Therefore, it is reasonable to frame some of the stories in China from the anti communist angle, which is considered the dominant ideology of the audience and most of the western countries. Since the CNN respondents expres sed the intention that the y tried to capture slices of lif e to tell the bigger p icture of China and slowly break the stereotype s of China, they probably need to pay more attention on localization to get closer to the real China. According to the interview, only one news assistant out of the eight full time employees is local ly hired, and basically stays in the office researching, t ranscribing, and coordinating, but not going outside to cover the story. More complicated, it is set by the regulation for the reporting and interviewing activities of the international media bureaus and journalists, that no Chinese employee working for th e foreign media organization is allowed to independently cover a story as a reporter, photographer or producer, only to work as an assistant. In this case, the way to show the world a better China has been cut by the government itself. Conclusion Internati onal journalism is the inevitable trend for all news organizations in the increasingly globalized world. This study aimed to explore a commercial company s overseas bureau in the capital city of a Communist country and a state run news


63 agency s bureau in t he global financial center of the Capitalist system, from various aspects. By conducting in depth interviews with three journalists working for the CNN s Beijing Bureau and three for Xinhua s New York Bureau, this research compares the news values honored by these two groups, the media image they perceive from the overseas environment s, and the challeng es they are facing overseas Furthermore, t he research explored the cultural and ideological frames, which is mainly the reason for the differences in practi ces between the Chinese journalists and the American journalists. The findings have revealed a number of things Xinhua, a state run news agency, has been undertakin g the transition towards market orientation and financial independence for over three decad es. CNC, Xinhua s broadcast network as well as the working platform for all of the overseas bureaus, has listed in Hong Kong as a support s long term goal. Meanwhile, Xinhua still speaks for the government as an official news agency. The reason why Xinhua altered from a pure propaganda machine and actively sought new a financial structure is to adapt to the changing circumstances under the economic reform of China. The trans ition was initiated to match economics and serve politics. Although the n ews values that Xinhua journalists honor ed are similar to the Western news professionals such as objectivity and fairness, the values sometimes will not be reflected in their news outlets. Xinhua journalists are wor king against censorship though the Central Propaganda Department of China plays the role of the chief gatekeeper to decide what go es to the audiences. The U.S. media industry is a free, competitive and commercialized marke t. The American news agencies are relatively independen t. T heir news making process will not


64 be affected by the government, although factors like sponsorship, partisanship, and ratings affect their perspectives Originated from a liberal and democratic society, CNN supervises and critiques the government, and its freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution. Working overseas in China, the CNN Beijing Bureau jo urnalists still function as watchdogs and consider negative reporting as their obligation to reveal the real face of China. They tend to frame the story from the angle of people with low social status as their news value is to comfort the afflicted However, media in China is not guaranteed a role as the Fourth E state, and the government has set tight rules for foreign journalists, who are consid ered as trou blemakers for reporting bad news. The political and regulatory control is the biggest challenge for CNN journalists. Meantime, an anti Communist ideology could be seen from CNN s framing of China, which coincides with their bottom line, to attr act the audience to keep the company profit able Although CNN journalists hold the commitment to show the bigger China to the world, it is difficult to achieve with the limited localizing potential. This research ` provides insights, meaningful information and first hand experience from international journalist s doing news in an overseas environment with cultural, political and ideological conflicts. It may also be inspiring for international media organizations planning to open a new office in China. Futur e study may keep exploring the new policy towards media marketization and commercialization of China, which may be influence d by political events, especially the scheduled change of leaders in the upcoming 18 th Party Congress.


65 According to the findings, f ive dimensions of gatekeeping are clearly found during the news gathering process of these two bureaus. On the individual level, journalists select news based on their honored news values and newsworthiness. For example, journalists from CNN tend to report on the people with social status, who are abused in China, and Xinhua emphasizes on balanced reporting and tries to avoid emotionally controversial stories, such as the Rio t in Tibet, reflects the gatekeeping on a routine level. Regarding the organizational and institutional level, journalists from Xinhua are influenced a lot by its internal factors. As a state funded news agency, Xinhua is ought to speak for the party and censored by the Central Department of China. The market force also affects the CNN newsmakers when telling the stories, which is the reason why the journalists top the audience as the priority. Finally, the social level influencing factors are overt to find during the gatekeeping process. reform of China, and it serves as the mouthpiece of the Communist Party. There is an obvious Communist ide ology in Xinhua s news products. One the contrary, CNN, the commercial news leader is originated from a Capitalist society. As a result, there is anti Communist ideology in their news outputs. Conclusively, this study has updated the framing and gatekeepi ng theory under the tendency of globalization. It has also strengthened the implementation of the theories in the international and intercultural fields.


66 Limitations of the Study and Suggestions for Future Research This research has several limitations. First of all, the sample size is small, which is determined by the small scale of these overseas bureaus. Although the saturation point has been reached in this qualitative study due to the similar view of the respond ents from the same group, it will be beneficial if the sample size was bigger. The results of this study are not generalizable to a larger population. Besides, it is very hard to set up interviews with the overseas journalists whose schedule is normally ve ry tight. Take the CNN s Be ijing Bureau as an example. T here are only seven non Chinese fulltime employees, and three of them are always sent outside Beijing to cover a national story as a crew. Moreover, due to concerns over the safely of the participant s it was required by the IRB that the interviews should be conducted in per son, since the research topic was considered sensitive. This requirement made the interviews even harder to set up. Also, the research p articipants were anonymous ; however their r esponses may make more sense when related to their titles. Plus, this research emphasizes on the ideological influence on the news gathering process but not the news producing process, since these two bureaus rarely cover the same stories. The New York Bur eau of Xinhua s reporting is based on the area nearby the New York City, and sometimes the reports travel nationwide for significant news. The Beijing Bureau of CNN tells stories of China, sometimes including current events in Mongolia and North Korea. As a result, this study was not able to look at specific stories due to the different coverage of the two overseas bureaus, which is a limitation for a more completed comparison, as well as a deeper understanding of the theories. Future researchers may compar e news agencies with similar physical


67 coverage, such as Radio Beijing with CNN or Voice of America with Xinhua to compare their reporting on the same issue. To explore the news product would provide a better understanding of the ideological influence dur ing the news producing process. Furthermore, this research revealed multiple layers of gatekeepers during the news gathering process of these two bureaus. For CNN the news planners and futu r ists in the Atlanta World Headquarters oversees the coverage of t he Asia Pacific Area, and the Hong Kong Regional Headquarters pitches story ideas for the Bejing Bureau. For Xinhua, the New York Bureau mainly control their coverage, but their news products need to be edited and approved by the Beijing Headquarters befor e publishing, and they are also censored by the Central Department of China. Future studies may try to interview the gatekeepers on different levels, in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of these two news organizations. Additionally in terms of met hodology this research employs in depth interview s to explore the differences in news framing from the angle of the gatekeepers who apply their news values and dominant ideology to the news making process It would be more comprehensive to also examine how their statements are eventually presented in their news products. Future research might focus on the final products through qualitative content analysis and case study.


68 APPENDIX INTERVIEW GUIDELINES 1. May I have your name and title? 2. Introduce to me your daily workflow. 3. How long have you been working in this overseas bureau of this country? 4. Could you tell me the reason why you have been working in this country? 5. What was the impression of the media in this count ry before you actually came? Tell me about any stereotype that had been turned down? 6. What was the overall media situation of this country in your eye at that time? What was different from the country where you come from? 7. What is the current media image i n your eyes of this country? What is the difference from your country now? 8. Why does the media environment shift in your opinion? 9. What is the most crucial influencing element towards media in this country? Explain why? 10. What is the most crucial influenci ng element towards media in your country? Explain why? 11. What do you need to keep in mind when dealing with some sensitive story in this country? 12. Tell me about your most impressive experience when covering a story in this country? 13. What kinds of news values are honored in this country? How did it differ from your country? 14. How do you view the relationship between media, government and audience? How does innovative technology influence the media industry or environment in this country? How does it alter the relationship? 15. What do you think will be the developing trend of the media industry in this country? Explain Why?


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76 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jingwei Dong was born in China. She attended college in Ball State University in 2007. She majored in telecommunications in the College of Communication, Information and Media. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in te lecommunication in the spring of 2010. gree in the fall of 2010, majoring in m ass c ommunications in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She achieved her Master of Arts degree in mass communication s in 2012. She interned ureau in the summer of 2011, and an internatio eadquarters in Atlanta in the spring of 2012.