Consistency and variance: A comparative study on the news values of People’s Daily


As the authoritative newspaper in China, Peoples’ Dailyhas been undergoing the great transformation since the new millennium due to the adoption and expansion of new media technologies. People’s Dailylaunched its official account at Weiboon July 2012 now with around 103,000,000 followers. This paper tries to comparatively discuss the news values measured and portrayed by the printed People’s Dailyand its official account at Weiboin news reporting.

Firstly, it explains the news values by employing the perspectives concluded by Caple and Bednarek (2013). In particular, this paper tries to examine the news values from the cognitive perspective and discursive perspective. According to Caple and Bednarek (2013), cognitive perspective refers to the beliefs and judgments of news workers about newsworthiness for their audience (p.12), and discursive perspective means how production of news texts builds the newsworthiness of an event through language and images (p.13).

Secondly, it incorporates the typologies of news values suggested by Harcup and O’neill (2017), which are exclusivity, bad news, conflict, surprise, audio-visuals, shareability, entertainment, drama, follow-up, the power elite, relevance, magnitude, celebrity, good news and news organizations’ agenda to examine the news reports at the front pages of the printed People’s Dailyand the most read, commented and shared news posts at its Weiboaccount.

Thirdly, methodologically, it makes use of interview and textual analysis in discovering and analyzing the priority of news values adopted by the printed People’s Dailyand its Weibo account. Specifically, it uses the method of constructed-week sampling to select 7 printed papers each year from 2013 to 2019; meanwhile, it chooses the most read, commented and shared news posts on the same 7 days each year from 2013 to 2019 at its Weiboaccount. After that, it analyzes the news reports and news posts to examine how the news values are presented discursively. Based on the findings from the textual analysis, it interviews the journalists, desk editors and responsible people both from the printed section and the new media section to find what their judgments and beliefs of the news values are.

Finally, it finds out the consistency and variance of the recognition of news values between the printed People’s Dailyand its Weiboaccount, and party line still takes the priority in the news report whereas the discourses greatly vary between the printed paper and social media platform. It further discusses the underlying reasons from the social, technological and personal perspectives concerning the consistency and variance, highlighting the business factor and the rise of the virtual public sphere. Moreover, it tries to discuss the relevance of Harcup and O’neill’s typologies of news values to the Chinese context.