Determinants of Global News in Chinese Media and Intermedia Agenda-Setting Effects


The Chinese media have put great importance on the coverage of global news around the world. While most Chinese media have sections for global news, some media outlets, such as the Global Times, focus especially on global news coverage. China’s economic boom, which coincided with a growing trend toward globalization and digitalization, has boosted a renewed interest in and need for global news and information from foreign countries.

This study will employ the news flows theory to explain the amount and the topics of China’s global news coverage. We plan to conduct a content analysis of global news found in the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China and its subsidiary, the Global Times, an influential tabloid specialized in global news. Global news stories published in each newspaper between 2001 and 2019 will be analyzed and compared based on two constructed weeks. The study will analyze the following factors that influence the amount of foreign news coverage in each newspaper: (1) traits of nations (size & population), (2) economic interactions with China (trade volume & GDP), and (3) cultural and geographic proximity to China (cultural affinity & geographic distance).

Based on intermedia agenda-setting, the study will also test how the People's Daily influences the news agenda of the Global Times and how both newspapers affect global news discussed on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter and an influential social media platform for online news sharing and public opinion.

The paper hopes to address three major questions: (1) How do the People’s Daily and the Global Times cover foreign affairs and how is this coverage affected by traits of nations, economic interactions, and cultural and geographic proximity? (2) How do the People’s Daily and the Global Times influence each other in their global news coverage? (3) How do social media users in China use global news found in the People’s Daily and the Global Times as sources in their posts?

Keywords: Chinese media, determinants of global news, intermedia agenda-setting, social media