Impact of Issue- and Medium-Specific Characteristics on News Effects —Evidence from the News Posts of top 100 Traditional Media Sina Weibo Accounts


More and more traditional media have been increasingly expanding their presence through social media outlets (e.g., Sina Weibo). The existing literature on the media effect studies stops short of assessing the effects of single traditional media news through the social media platforms. The previous literature in this field tends to overlook the news effects at the individual level instead of general terms. Another limitation associated with the emerging literature lies with the negligence of the capability of news effects per se. In response to the above two limitations, the authors investigate how the issue- and medium-specific characteristics influence the news effects of the traditional media news posts on Sina Weibo through social network analysis and multiple regression. We retrieved the information (e.g., contents of the posts, reply, like, and comments of the posts, attributes of media and fans’ accounts) of the posts of top 100 official Sina Weibo accounts of traditional media from July 1 2018 to June 30 2019, basing on a computer programming.

The study finds that the traditional media still exert relatively strong effects through social media, even though the news posts’ effects are contingent on characteristics of both issues and media accounts at the individual level. Specifically, the news posts of obtrusive issues have stronger effects compared with unobtrusive issues, and the hard news have stronger effects than soft news. The posts with both texts and pictures generate stronger effects than those with sheer texts or pictures, but the length of the post has no significant impact on their effects. The news posts of traditional mainstream media (e.g., party organ media) produce stronger impacts than those of market-oriented media, and the number of Weibo fans has a positive impact on the effects.