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China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US Perceptions of News Value: A Comparative Research between China and the United States Qin Guo Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia Abstract: This article presented the resull of a comparative research on the Top-ten Intemational News Reports voted in China and the United States between 2006 and 2010. The research was aimed at exploring the convergences and divergences of Chinese and Western news value perceptions. [tis primarily concemed with two questions: What are the factors determining news worthiness in China and the United States? What are the similarities and differences between Chinese and Western journalism theories and practices? Chinese and Western news value theories were reviewed to establish the theoretical framework for content analysis and discussion of the analysis resull. The research found that despite ideological and cultural distinctions, there were considerable similarities between Chinese and Western news value theories. However, significant disparities were found in practices of news selection and construction in China and the United States. The research results demonstrated the dual aspects of the lobalising media system: the inereasing interconnection and homogenisation between national media systems, and the reinforced segmentation and localities of the world information communication, [China Media Research. 2012; 8(2): 26-35] Key Words: Journalism, News Value, News Selection, Chinese Perspective [News value is one of the concepts that spark heated Reports to illustrate the universality and locality of news debates in journalism research. Although the determinant value perceptions in the global media system. role of news value in making news bas been generally agreed on, theories about its definition and measurement 1. The Western Perspective of News Value are discrepant, The process of globalisation adds even There have been many researchers attempting t0 ‘more compleities tothe conception of news value, Mass define what news is. Johan Galtung and Mari Ruge’s media system in the context of globalisation is research on “The Structure of Foreign News” was homogenous aswell ag —_heterogenous. The regarded as one of the most influential studies about the inteconnectedness and interdependence of nations making of news (Harcup and O'Neil, 2001). Galtung and create the wholeness ofthe globe, Mass media no longer Ruge’s study was concermed with’ how world events cporate as separated systems within nations. Their become news (Galtung and Ruge, 1965). Using a ‘operations and influences transcend national boundaries metaphor of broadcasting station, Galtung and Ruge and merge into ONE global media system. There is proposed eight “culture-iee™ factors and four Notth- hardly news without international implications. In this Westen “culture-bound” factors of news value sense, all media are international media, and all news Accordingly it was suggested that news selection was {international news. On the other hand, awareness of and affected by twelve factors (Ibid): frequency, ampli, contrast between civilisations underline the diversity of unambiguousness, mcaningfulncss, consonance, the world. The “global media arena” is one “consists of unexpectedness, continuity, composition, elite-nation interconnected localities” (Reese, 2008), The world concentration, elt-people concentration, personification, information communication order demanded under the and negativity contemporary circumstances is one capable of Useful though mapping these factars might be to responing to the universality and locality of the global predict the Tikeliness of an event’s becoming news, media system. It is, therefore, indispensable to there are afew caveats that need to be considered when understand news value at both global as well as local applying them in the contemporary media and levels communication contexts. Fist, according «© Galtung This article explores the convergences and and Ruge, the first eight factors are culture-fee. It is divergences of perceptions of news value between arguable that these factors are eulture-free only in the China and the United States via qualitative content sense thot these factors role as determinants in news analysis of international news reports in the two — selection is relevant to most societies in the world. The countries. Western and Chinese discourses of news perceived value of an event against each of these value are reviewed to establish the theoretical factors; however, is not culture-ree. This is particularly framework for the analysis This is followed by true regarding factors of meaningfulness, significance presentation and discussion of the content analysis (amplitude), consonance, and unexpectedness, of which fesult ofthe two counties’ Top Ten International News the values are subjected to perceptions and Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 26 China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US interpretations of the observer. Humans see, perceive and interpret the world based on their personal knowledge, experience, and politcal and cultural stands. An event that is considered meaningful and significant 10 one group of people migit be deemed ‘meaningless and trivial toa different group. Similarly, something considered consonant in a society might be considered contradictory in. another. The subjectivity and culture-bound nature of news selection determines the disparities ofits practices in the word Second, the twelve factors of news value should be considered with an integrative approach. News valued is tof all these factors. Infact, Galtung and Ruge have demonstrated the interelation between some of the factors in ther original work. For example, the factors of culturally meaningful and consonant, and tunexpectedness are related as “it is the unexpected within the meaningful and the consonant that is brought to one’s attention” (Galtung and Ruge, 1965) Third, Galtung and Ruge’s research was focused at presentation of foreign news in four Norwegian newspapers in the 1960s. It should be cautious to reneralise the research results to the contemporary global media contexts. For example, nowadays the Iajority of mass media tend to use multiple media technologies to report news. Most newspapers simultaneously publish their daily print versions and host their websites. Technically, the online version could be refreshed as often as desired, The assuraption that each medium has one publishing frequency is no longer valid in the moder time. Therefore, the Inluence of frequency will not be as significant as it was before the age of World Wide Web. The single cultural seope of their research might also limit Galtung, and Ruge’s theory's applicability in wider societal circumstances. Fourth, there has litle recognition of journalists subjective ‘influences on news. selection shown in Galtung and Ruge’s theory. Apparently, the twelve factors were proposed in a rather aormative fashion, ‘whereby the “news editor” was imaged to be an ethical, faithful, and rational man, He was concerned about his audience's interests and intended “to present a “palanced’ whole”. In reality, the perceptions, preferences, and intentions of the news reporters and editors are much more complicated. They donot necessarily act ethically, honestly, or rationally, either consciously or subconsciously. Moreover, they influence the making of news by determining not only €on what isto be included and excluded, but also on how to present the ones selected. Or in other words, the ‘making of news is a problem involving not only news selection but also new framing. For example, the sinking of Cheonan, a South Korean corvette, was described by the New York Times as one of the instances of North Korea's “bad behaviour” in 2010 and Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 7 framed as a “military” issue of North Korea, The same fact, however, was reported by Chinese Online Media as fan incident causing tensions between the South and North Koreas, and framed as an issue of “conflict” between the two countries. Framing isa useful technique ‘of organising and presenting information to serve a designated purpose, Frames function as “principles of | ‘organisation in the processes of ruling in or out certain ‘ype of events as newsworthy (Allan, 2004) Unlike Galtung and Ruge, some people prefer to simplify the conceptualisation of the complicate subject ‘of news value by highlighting its essential elements, Charles Dana, a newspaper editor of the nineteenth ‘century focused on the reaction of the intended audience to the news, He was cited to have said that * News is anything which interests @ large part of the community ‘and which has never been brought to their attention” (McKane, 2006). Walter Lippmann, who was regarded as the founding father of the sociology of news, fgeusing on the process of news gathering, stressed the clarity of news. Lippmann suggested in early iwenty ‘century thatthe process of news gathering was “a search for the objective clear signal which signifies an event” (MeQuail, 2003). News, in this sense, does not mechanically mirror reality. News reports an aspect of the event that has obiruded itself (Ibid). Some researchers opt to focus on the essential properties of news reports. For example, Murray Masterton argued that “three essential elements which allow information to become news” were interest, timeliness, and clarity (Lamble, 2011). Another slightly different theory of news essential clements was offered by journalism researcher and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jack Fuller in 1996, one year after Masterton’s. According to Fuller, the essential elements of news are timeliness, significance and interest for a given community. Fuller ‘contended that these elements “look beyond the Journalists’ personal preferences outward to phenomena in the world that can be discussed, if not measured” (Ibid). Despite the variations in their specific linguistic ‘expressions, four agreed bases distinguishing news from ‘other forms of report can be identified from the above mentioned definitions. The four agreed distinguishing elements of news are timeliness, community interest, significance, and clarity. These elements underline the influences of audience community on the making of news, News is not made in an isolate newsroom solely by the joumalists; rather itis the result of the dynamic negotiations between the news organisation and its societal environment. ‘The element of timeliness suggests that news is supposed to be new. The concept of newness here is not necessarily regarding the time when the event happens. It regards also the newness of the event as perceived by the community. Therefore, both a recent event and a recently discovered fact could become news. The China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US clement of interesting takes account of “the pull of basic hhuman curiosity” (Fuller, 1996). Significance is usually evaluated on the basis of the “foreseeable consequences” of the event (Ibid). Both of the elements Of interesting and significance are subjected to the perceptions, and thus bias, of the audiences. Clarity denotes the requirement for news to be comprehensible, This is apparent given that “the central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society” (Potter, 2006). 2. The Chinese Perspeetive of News Value Tt has been well established that media organisations operate in a field of social forces, where they interact and negotiate with sectors and members of the wider societal environment, MeQuail argued that “the influence of society is ubiquitous and continuous and arises in vietually all of the extemal relationships that media have” (MeQuail, 2003). China has a political system and a whole set of cultural values that are different from those of most Western societies. It is therefore essential to explore the impacts of these political and cultural differences on news selection at conceptual level before engaging in the analysis at practical level. Journalism has long been regarded as an important ideological, cultural and opinion front in China. Idcologically, Marxism has been regarded as China's ‘guiding principle since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, However, most ‘contemporary Chinese journalism researchers contend that Chinese perspective of journalism is not the repetition of Marxist journalism. Marxist journalist perspective is regarded as a “dynamic and open system which is expected to constantly develop along with the world’s political and economic developments (Liu, 2010). In the development process of Marxist journalism, the emergence of new questions and new ‘concepts are expected (Ibid). China's joumalism theory is the “extension, development, and re-innovation” of the Marxist joumalism perspective in Chinese contexts (He, Xu et a., 2009), ‘One of the signatures of Marxist journalism theory is its perception of news media as political weapons, which is also perceived by many Western scholars as ‘one of the most controversial aspects of the theory, The political weapon perception is adopted and reflected in the Chinese socialist perception of joumalism’s societal role, Chinese socialist journalism theory is closely associated with the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) thoughts of journalism, which started to emerge an develop from the Party's inception (Wu, Yang et al 2009). The backbone of Chinese socialist journalism theory includes the following ten aspects (He, Xu et al. 2008). Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 28 1) The press is the mouthpiece of the Party, government, and people. This is justified practically as well as theoretically. On the one hand the enormous power of the press in influencing public thinking and behaviour has been demonstrated in China's history. Before 1949, the CCP used newspaper and radio effectively to support its political struggle ayainst the ‘Kuomintang, the former ruling party. After coming to power, the CCP has been successfully employing mass media t© propagandise Chinese socialism, promote political agenda, and facilitate economic construction. ‘On the other hand according to Marxist journalism theory, journalist ought to engage in political struggles (Liu 2010). This forms the core of the Chinese socialist Journalism theory. Apparently, this principle of being a mouthpiece is in contrary 10 the traditional Western principle of journalism objectivity and detachment 2) The Party’s press control must be upheld. This principle can be considered as a supplementary note to the fitst principle, China makes no attempt to hide its intention to centrally control the press. As the press possesses vast influencing power, it is vital to ensure that it is safeguarded. The principle of party control includes three components: upholding the ideological principles of Marxism, maintaining alignment with CP's politics, and keeping the leadership of the press in the hands of people who are loyal to Marxism, the Party, and People. 3) The press must serve the public, serve socialism, and serve the interest of the whole nation and the CCP. This is another elaboration of the first principle. Together the first, second and third principles illustrate a hybrid system of authoritarian and public service joumalism—one controlled by the government ‘and entiusted with the responsibilty fo serve the nation ‘and people. 4) ‘The press must maintain close relation with practice, people's life, and community. This principle Suggests that on the one hand media contents must be responsive to the reality of the society and the needs of the public. On the other hand, the press has. the responsibility to educate, mobilise and inform the public. 5) Truthfulness is the lifeline of journalism and ‘maintenance of truthfulness ig joumalisis’ Toy responsibility and obligation. 6) Guiding public opinion to create an active, healthy, and inspiring atmosphere is the soul of the press 7) Constantly improve the press’s capability to ‘guide public opinion, This includes application of ‘various media target techniques; balancing the needs to propagandise party policy and t© voiee the public’s pinion; and respect the public's right to know, to participate, to express, andl to monitor. 8) Accomplishment of social benefits is the first priority of the press. It is recognised that under the China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US socialist market economic situation, media products possess both ideological and commercial values. Media ‘organisations must priritise social benefit and seek the balance betiveen social and economic interests. 9) Journalism must respond to national and international dynamics. 10) Journalist professional development is the key to the development of journalism, ‘News definition forms an important part of the Chinese journalism theory. newspaper editor, proposed in report on recently happened fact” (He, Xu et al. 2009), ‘This definition is regarded as the “classic definition of news” by Chinese joumalism scholars (Tong, Lin et a 2010). The definition stresses three critical elements of news: report, recently happened, and fact, First, news is a report of fact. Tt is not a tecord of fact, Therefore, news intrinsically is subjected to selection, filtering, and framing. Second, News is about something that recently happened, Timeliness is crucial to news reporting. Third, the source of news is fact. News is not fictional story. Factuality is a fundamental facet that distinguishes news from other stories. Lu’s definition is ‘a comerstone of the Chinese socialist journalism theory. Its also used as the guiding principle for news value research in China, News value was regarded as a concept of bourgeoisie journalism and rejected by Chinese socialist joumalism researchers during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. It was not until late 1970s that research on news valle was resumed in China (Tong, Lin et al. 2010). What is news value? According to a Chinese Touralism Dictionary, “News value is the essential telements that make fact news, These elements are also used as criteria in news selection” (Luo 2004), Chinese journalism scholars have offered many definitions to deseribe news value from various angles, Some defined the concept in terms of the property of news and suggested that news value was the ageregation of all the properties of a fact that qualify it as news. Others perceived from the view point of journalists and defined news value as the criteria used by journalists and journalism organisations to assess nevis. Still others depart fiom the perspective of the societal functions of news and defined news value as the expected social effect of news. A relatively comprehensive definition was given by a group of contemporary Chinese socialist journalism researchers, suggesting that news value was the aggregation of elements possessed by a fact that can satisfy the society and the public's needs for news (He, Xu et al. 2009). This definition highlighted two vital aspects of news, Fist is its funetion to meet the needs of the society. This perception is established on the Marxist perspective of value, which suggests that value is produced in the process of satisfying human needs. It is produced in the relation between human and the Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 29 ‘external world that satisfies human's needs (Ibid). Therefore, news value is produced to satisfy of the needs of the society and the public. The second aspect underlined in this definition is the factuality of news. This lgns with the Chinese socialist normative view of news, ‘which emphasizes that the source of news should be fact, “There are two major theories of news values in CChina: the fiv-cloment theory and the three-lement theory (Dong 2008). According to the five-clement theory, news value includes elements of newness, importance, proximity, significance, and intersting (ibid), The meaning of newness is twofold. On the one hand, iis related withthe time when the fact happened On the other hand, it refers to the newness of news contents as perceived by the audiences. This is in alignment withthe above discussed Chinese definition ‘of news eis also similar vo the eoneept of timeliness of the Westem news value theory. “The clement of importance refers to the degree of impact ofthe fact. To become news, the fact must have extensive and substantial consequences. Facts that have substantial impact on the natral environment and human life, and are closely related to the interest of the public are considered important (He, Xu etal. 2008), The element ‘of proximity includes geographical and psychological ‘components, People are more concerned with things that happened close to them or to people whom they care for. On the other hand, similarity between the protagonist and the audience (e.g similar age, social Satis, religion, gender, interest, ete.) can stimulate appreciation of psychological proximity and artract tention, Significance means the extent of atfention to ‘which the fact can attract. A fact’s significance is closely telated to the notability of the protagonist involved, Famous public figures such as politicians, sport and entertainment stars, and successfil business people are considered to be of significance. Involvement ‘of famous building, location, historical event could also increase the significance ofa fact, Finally, a fact must be interesting in order to become news. This includes being rare, unexpected, and enteraining. Most Chinese socialist journalism scholars agree that of the five cements newness is essential in determining whether a report could be regarded as news (He, Xu et al. 2009). The three-lement theory is proposed on the basis that importance is the core of news. value, while proximity and significance are supplementary to the element of importance. It is argued that proximity and significance are reflected in the elements of importance and interesting, Therefore, the essential elements of news value are newness, importance and intersting (ong 2008). Something is perceived a6 important right be because of its proximity to or significant impact on the audience. An event is interesting, perhaps because of is cultural proximity, or the involvement of a famows person China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US ‘The above discussion showed that despite ideological and cultural differences of the two societies, Chinese and Westem perspectives of news value coincide with each other in a number of aspects. Both Chinese and Westem perspectives of news value recognise newness as the fundamental element of news value. The dual aspects of newness are explicitly stressed in both Chinese and Wester theories. News is supposed to be new in terms of the time when the event took place, or in terms of the content as perceived by the audience. Both Chinese and Wester perspectives suggest that news should be interesting. It has been demonstrated that things might interest people include conflict, celebrities, relevance to the audience, dramatic tragedies or rare things, quirks, and science discoveries (McKane, 2006). Both Chinese and Western perspectives of news value appreciate the significance of the news candidate's expected consequence; however, they interpret it in different terms. The clement concemed with the potential consequence of an event is referred to as “importance” in China, and “significance” in the West. Proximity is another element that is acknowledged in both Chinese and Westem perspectives, ‘The similarity of identified news value elements in Chinese and Wester perspectives may be attributed fo the similarity of their theoretical approach, Both Chinese and Westem perspectives emphasize the audience oriented approach. “Events which conform to the ‘maps of meaning’ shared by newsworker and news audience have a greater likelihood of being selected” (Allan 2004), The value of news is materialised only when the news is read. News selection could not be done without bearing in mind the proposed audience. In the Western commercialised media system, audience approval rate directly affects the economic profits of news organisations, and might become an issue of life and death of the organisation, In China, to the government owned or supported news organisations ‘economic profit might not be as erucial; however social profit is another lever affecting news selection, News ‘organisations, no matfer whether they're socialist or commercialist, have 10 attract audiences. In the information age, news audience communities are no longer constrained within geographical boundaries. Audience community could be identified in various terms, including location, culture, age, gender, education, occupation, specific interests etc. Fuller argued that in order to survive, every news organisation “must share with its readers a sensibility and a set of interests, tastes, and values” (Fuller 1996), Clarity is not identified explicitly as an element of news value in Chinese perspective as it isin the Western perspective. However, itis underlined in Lu’s definition of news, which stated news as “report of fact”, instead of “record of fact”, It is also suggested in the Chinese Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 30 socialist journalism theoretical principles, which emphasize the role of news in guiding and creating public consensus. It appears that the Chinese and Wester perspectives agree on the point that news is a report of fact, which has been constructed and produced by the news reporter. “News is itself responsible for ‘reating over time the ‘consensus’ knowledge by which newsworthiness is revounised by newspeople and accepted as such by the public” (McQuail, 2003), Therefore, news is virtually subjective and plays the role to create some kind of consensus. This role may be ‘expressly declared as a normative, as it is in the Chinese Journalism theory. Or, it may be implied under the name ‘oF ‘clarity’; however, is executed with no Tess effort It is not surprising to find that there are many cconvergences between perspectives of China and the West, The Chinese conceptualisation of journalism theory as a dynamic thinking process enables Chinese Journalism researchers to tap some of the Western thoughts, and incorporate them in Chinese theory. The contemporary socialist journalism theory isa complicated intellectual system, which boasts not only Chinese, Marxist and Leninist thinking, but also theories and concepts of the modem West. It is established on a set of principles in alignment with the wider theoretical framework of Chinese socialism. When China resumed research on news value in the 1970s, Western concepts of news value were embraced, together with many other Western “capitalist” theories. After a decade's isolation from the West, Chinese scholars were amazed by the alternative perceptions of the West, From late 1970 to mid 1980, Chinese joumalism scholars broke the ideological constraint that renounced news value theory due 10 its “bourgeois” orientation, They started fo reassess and rethink news value based on existing Westem theories and proposed a range of research questions (Tong, Lin et al. 2010). In this way, the Chinese perspective of news value is one that originated from the West and has been revised to fit nto the Chinese societal contexts 3. Comparison of Top-Ten News in China and the United States It is the aim of this study to explore convergences ‘and divergences between the Chinese and Western perceptions of news value, by comparing contents of Top-Ten News voted in China and the United States. ‘Top-ten International News Reports of Chinese Online Media and New York Times were selected to earry out the content analysis. The ranking of Chinese Online Media Top-ten Intemational News is the most influential one of its kind in China, which has been ‘conducted annually since 2004, It is a collaborative effort of more than 40 Chinese online news ‘organisations (Zhang 2011). Most of the participating news organisations simultancously own multiple news China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US media (e.g, newspaper, television or radio). New York Times was selected because of ils tradition of being ‘more concemed with intemational affairs than many other newspapers in the United States (Fuller 1996). ‘The ranking of Top-ten International News is part of Times’ annual ranking of “Top-ten Everything”. The analysis covered a period of five years, ranging from 2006 to 2010. There are thousands of millions of events happened each year in the world. The events reported by news organisations and voted by the public as top-ten news are expected to possess qualities representing its society's consensus of newsworthiness, Comparison study on the top-ten news reports in China and in the United States thus promises insightful understanding of news value perceptions of the two distinct societies This is a qualitative semantic research with selective analysis coding, The analysis unit is the number of news reports, Top-ten news reports voted annually in the past 5 years (2006-2010) in China and in the United States were examined and compared from three aspects: frame, valuation, and protagonist Frames are the principles of selection, emphasis, and presentation about what exists, what happens, and what matters (Allan, 2004). Framing is an important technique used by journalists to craft news story and construct newsworthiness, which wishiully will be appreciated by potential readers. The analysis framework applied in this study incorporates previous research results on news value in Western contexts (Galtung and Ruge, 1965; Wanta and Hu, 1993; Harcup and O'Neil, 2001; MeKane, 2006) and concepts of the Chinese perspective. The initial analysis framework consisted of nine categories: accident/disaster, conflict, crime (including international drug trafficking), human interest, military (including issues of nuclear arms), polities, terrorism, and trade and economy. Three ‘additional categories were added to accommodate new factons identified during the research process. The final analysis framework used in this research includes cleven categories: AccidentDisaster Conflict Crime Environment/Resource Human Interest Military Polities Science/Technology Sport and Culture Terrorism Trade and Economy ‘Valuation is another means of construction in news reporting. Although objectivity is stressed in both Chinese and Westem joumalism theories, mixing Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 31 personal valuation with news report is not rare at all, Valuation can be identified over the spectrum from ‘overt to covert valuations. Some researchers suggest using the following six values to distinguish various ‘degrees of valuations (Loffelholz and Weaver, 2008) Neutral @) Positive (1) Quite positive (2) Ambivalent (3) Quite negative (4) Negative (5) This six-valued scale offers possibitity to measure valuations in more detail, It might be proven to be useful in certain contexts and for certain kinds of studies, However, it could be problematic as well. On the one hand, valuation intrinsically is a quality with continuing value. It is impossible to measure with Timited separate values, For instance, it might not be always so easy 10 distinguish “positive” from “quite positive”, of “negative” from “quite negative”. On the ‘other hand, ike many other aspects of semantic analysis, assessment of valuation is rather subjective and fuzzy. A seemly detailed measurement scale might induce false perception of accuracy and lead to neglect ‘of valuation’s subjective and blurring nature. Therefore, this study inclined to use a sketchy scale distinguishing, valuations of news reports with three values: positive, neutral, and negative. The study focused on analysing valuations oF individual and organisational protagonists Valuations of the reported facts or events were not assessed due to reliability concems of such assessment without contextual reference. “A big part of happenings in the real world cannot be evaluated without reference to basic values that cannot be imposed on the media analysts by the codebook ina sulficient way" (Loffelholz and Weaver, 2008), ‘The protagonist is considered to have an impact on the perception of importance, interesting or signifieance ‘of a news story. It has been evidenced that many news stories were reported simply because of the name of the person(s) involved (McKane 2006). This study was focused on news reports with own-country and developing countries (regions) as protagonists. Framing and valuation of the news reports about own country and developing countries in Chinese Online Media and New York Times' Top-ten news were analysed and ‘compared to identify similarities and disparities between the two media, 4. Finding and Discussion Frame analysis of the top-ten international news reports between 2006 and 2010 found disparities of ‘coverage between Chinese Online Media (referred to as COM here after) and New York Times (referred to as China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US NYT here after). Top-ten infemational news reports of NYT mainly covered cight frames: accident/disaster, conflict, crime, human interest, military, polities, terrorism, and trade and economy. This result coincides with most previous studies and theories of the Western societies. News reporting in Westem democracies generally enjoys greater freedom. Economie profit isthe ‘main string controlling news selection. Therefore, news reports are constructed mainly for the purpose of attention and satisfaction of proposed audiences. War, conflict, terrorism and disasters are considered significant in the United States, partly because these issues inherently possess vast foreseeable consequences. Its also because the United States has been involved actively in intemational military and aid activities, which is usually closely associated with these tragie issues. Analysis result of the Chinese top-ten international news reports showed some interesting differences compared with that of NYT. Apart from the eight frames that were also observed in NYT, another three fiames were identified in COM’ top-ten international news reports. The three additional frames found in COM’S top-ten interational news reports, which did not appear as separate frames inmost ‘Westen studies, ate envitonment and resource, science and technology, and sport and culture. Another distinguishing point found in COM is the overwhelming tendency (17 out of 50) of political framing. The inclusion of environment, technology and culture as frames and the significant endeney of political framing in China's op-en inlemational news reports align perfectly with Marxist and Chinese socialist journalism perspectives. As it was declared by Mao Zedong, the late leader of China and Chinese Communist Party. that the press must unreservedly popularise the Party's agenda and policy (He, Xu et al, 2000), While importance is considered as a major factor of news value in both Chinese and Westem perspectives, perceptions of the connotation ofthis factor varied. The Wester perception is more audience consumption oriented, while the Chinese perception is more national ‘agenda oriented, Like other newly emerging powers in the world, China is faced with a range of concerns and criticisms in the international community. These include concems about its development's environmental cost and potential threat to the world. Chinese government thas committed itself to demonstrate a responsible and peaceful image of China to the world. These include inivating a variety of national environmental projects participating in intemational efforts concerned. with environment and climote change; and engaging culture and sport activities as soft power. Furthermore, the press is perceived as a means of politcal struggle in China. It is regarded as the normative role for the press to elucate the public and create a social environment supporting socialist construction. Therefore, journalism is always linked with polities in China, Tabie (1) sows the results of frame analysis. Table (1) Frame Analysis Results Number of Reports in Times Top | Number of Reports in Chinese Femes 10 International News. Online Media Top 10 International (2006 ~ 2010) News (2006-2010) ‘Accident and Disaster 6 3 Conflict 7 T Crime 3 T Environment and Resource 0 a FHuman Tnterest 7 2 Miltary 6 3 Polities 6 7 Science and Technology T 3 Sport and Culture T a Terrorism 6 z Trade and Economy 7 g In 1980, the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, based on 100. working reports, argued that the existing international communication system had reinforced inequality and suggested there was a need for a New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) (Thussu 2006). Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net Whether and how developing countries are represented in the dominating Wester media has been one of the major concerns. Being one of the major newspapers in the United States, New York Times ean be regarded as a symbol of the dominating Wester media. Studying the representation of developing countries in NYT and COM editor@chinamediaresearch.net China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US will provide updated information for the discourse of the NWICO. Two major findings were obtained in this regard. First, it was showed that NYT and COM had similar perezntage of reports on developing countries. However, valuations towards developing countries varied considerably. NYT showed a significant tendency (20 out (of 28) to give negative valuation on developing countries, while COM gave mostly (18 out of 21) neuiral valuation, Second, distributions of news reports about developing countries were similar in NYT and COM. However, ‘Table (2) Protagonists Anal is Results: Developin, framing of these reports were different between the to. Jn bol NYT and COM, framing of news reports on developing countries covered most of the analysing factors, except for factors of environmenttesource, ‘human interest, and scienccitechnology. In NYT, most of | the developing countries related reports were ffamed as “bad news”, such as disaster, conflict and terrorism, COM demonstrated considerable weight on. political framing. Table (2) outlines analysis results of reports on developing countries, intries/Regions Analysis Items ‘Number of Reporis in Times Top 10 Intemational News (2006, ‘Number of Reparis in Chinese Online Media Top 10 Intemational News 2010) (2006 2010) Toial Number Countries/Regions ‘oF Reporis on Developing 28 21 ‘Negative 0 Valuations [Neutral Positive ‘Aceident/Disasier ‘Conilict ‘Crime Environment/Resouree Human Interest Frames Military Politics ‘Scionce/Technology Sport and Culture “Terrorism, “Trade and Beonomy Proximity is considered as an important influential factor of news values in both of the Chinese and ‘Western perspectives. It is not surprising that some researchers claimed that “all intemational crises are ‘Americanised” in the media in United States (Lamble 2011). Proximity can be constructed by reporting the fact with one's own country, or person(s) of own country as protagonist. It can also be established by linking the fact (or the consequence of the fact) with one’s own country. For example, in NYT's news report of “The End of Sri Lanka's Cataclysmie Civil War" (Aluman 2010), the fact was Americanised by ‘mentioning that the Tigers “were considered a terrorist organization by the US and UN". This research explored whether and how intemational news had been localised in NYT and COM. The research was focused (on analysing three aspects: the number of news reports that were related to own country; valuation of the protagonist and framing of the news report in case own country being the protagonist. For the NYT, it was found that most (33 out of 50) of the top-ten Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 33 intermational news reports were United States related, ‘with United States or Americans either as protagonists ‘or being related to in the reports. For COM, the number ‘of China related international news was relatively fewer (13 out of 50). NYT gave mostly neutral valuation in reports about own country, while COM gave mostly positive valuation and none negative in reporting on its ‘own country. Most of the framing factors were found in NYT's reports on own country, except for environment ‘and resource, and sport and culture, The most used frames by NYT in reporting international news involving own country were accidentdisaster, human interest, military, politics, and trade and economy. Frames used by COM in reporting international news involving its own country included accidentdisaster, environment and resource, polities, sport and culture, and trade and economy. Polities, sport and culture, and trade and economy were the most used frames in COM’s reporting about its own country. Table (3) results of NYT and COM’s reports on editor@chinamediaresearch.net China Media Research, 8(2), 2012, Guo, Perceptions of News Value: Comparative Research between China & US ‘Table (3) Protagonists Analysis Results: Own Country Number of Reports in ‘Number of Reports in Times Top 10 Chinese Online Media Analysis Items Intemational News Top 10 International (2006 2010) News: (2006-2010) Reports on Own | Total Own Country Related | 55 1b Country Reports ‘Own Country Mentioned i i ‘Own Country as Protagonist 2 2 Valuations about | Negative 2 a Own Country as | Neutral 17 4 Protagonist Positive 3 8 ‘Accident Disaster 3 L Conflict 1 0 Crime 1 o Environment/Resouree 0 L Frames of the | Human Interest 4 0 Own Country ir ; t Protagonist any Reports Polities 4 3 Seience/Technologs 1 0 Sport and Culture 0 3 Terrorism 1 0 Trade and Economy 4 4 In conclusion, this research finds considerable cconvergences in Chinese and Western theories of news value, whilst significant divergences in their practices. Both Chinese and Western perspectives emphasize the audience-oriented approach in articulating determinant factors of news value, The convergence of conceptual approach has apparently contributed to the similarity of the identified clements of news value of the Chinese and Western perspectives. Timeliness, audience interest, significance and proximity are commonly recognised news value elements, by Chinese and Westem scholars. However, theoretical similarities do not translate automatically into practice. Theoretical concepts are subjected © interpretations of the practitioners. Journalism practice is carried out by human in a whole set of societal contexts. Therefore, itis more vulnerable to the influences of various cultural, political and economic factors af the specific society where it takes place, The results of content analysis of the Top-ten news reperts in China and the United States illustrate disparities of joumalism practice in two distinct societal settings. The findings of this research demonstrate the dual aspects of the globalising media system, On the fone hand, globalisation inereases interconnection between media systems of societies in the world; blurs national boundaries of world information flow; offers ‘opportunities for inter-cvilisation dialogue and learning. On the other hand, the increase of access to others” enhances awareness of oneself and thus reinforces identities and localities. Inip://vww.chinamediaresearch net 34 Correspondence to: DrQin Guo Department of Media, Music, Communication, and ‘Cultural Studies Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University Sydney, NSW 2109 Australia Tel: (612) 9850 2158 Email; gin.suo@mg.edu.au References Allan, S. (2004). News Culture. New York, NY: Open University Pr Altman, A. (2010, December 2009). The End of Sri Lanka's Cataelysmic Civil War. Times, p.280 Dong. T. (2008). Changes of Value Orientation of Online News and Their Influence. 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