Framing public health disaster : Chinese newspaper coverage of the contaminated milk powder affair
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This study explores how the news environment might affect the news framing of public health disasters. Specifically, it examines the coverage of the 2008 Chinese milk disaster in four different types of Chinese newspapers. The four newspapers are selected according to their different news environment, which is measured by the level of government control over them. The study finds that the news environment is exhibited through their choices of framing. The higher the level of government control is over a newspaper, the more likely the newspaper will define a public health disaster as an accident, attribute responsibility to individuals and diminish conflicts. This rule is well reflected by the full government controlled newspaper, People's Daily, and the liberal newspaper, Southern Weekend, but the effect of news environment is not significant on the semi-government-controlled newspaper, China Youth Daily, and the market-oriented newspaper, West China City Daily. The market-oriented newspaper is not necessary more outspoken than the semi-government-controlled newspaper, though the level of government control over the latter is considered to be lower than the former. The frame building and selection of these two newspapers are probably determined by their newsroom traditions and economic considerations.
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