Author:Xiao Zhang (The University of Tokyo)
Paper short abstract:
This study examined news coverage of GM issue published at 718 newspapers from 2000 to 2014 in China. Our results showed interesting differences between national and local newspaper coverage and implied possibilities for future of science communication practices for developing countries.
Paper long abstract:
Proper newspaper coverage of GM food issue is important in terms of the current GM industry dilemma in China. This study examined news coverage of GM issue published at 718 newspapers, one wire services and one news website from 2000 to 2014 in China. News articles at newspapers that public could access daily and easily could highlight the salience of GM issue in China and influence public perception. We examined GM articles in local and national newspapers in mainland China by applying content analyses methods, both quantitatively and qualitatively, including language aspects. Our data verified events-orientation trend again and we identified as many as 70 GM events since 2009. Furthermore, qualitative content analyses on unilateral (national or local coverage on the first day only) coverage of events indeed showed differences in terms of subjects, attitudes, and information sources. By comparing the number of GM articles in national and local newspapers, we found that in terms of volume, growth rate, frequency and improvement of frequency, local newspapers performed much better. The results of this study lead to the conclusion that GM issue has been a growing salient issue in Chinese newspaper coverage especially at local level. Although national newspapers still play an important leading and agenda-setting role in GM coverage, diverse information source and narrative forms and great potential indeed exist at local level. We were also able to observe interaction cycle consist of different national and local coverage which promoted development of coverage of event.