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Through content analysis of their coverage on a large-scale media event, this paper examines the difference of agendas set by traditional media (represented by newspapers) and new media (represented by micro-blogs) in China. The results show that the agendas discussed by the Chinese people on micro-blogs are not significantly influenced by newspapers. In terms of the topics of the news, newspapers are more concerned with the Chinese economy and people's livelihood while micro-blogs are more concerned with political and legal reforms in China. As for media tone, newspapers are more likely to cover the event positively while micro-blogs tend to be negative. These findings that the Chinese government may be incapable of exercising their traditionally strong media agenda influence over newer digital media suggest that Chinese citizens, or netizens, may enjoy more freedom of speech in micro-blogging.
Zhang, G., Bowman, N. D., Shao, G., & Guan, D. (2015, May). “The people dissent, or The People’s consent?” Comparing news agendas of traditional and new media surrounding a large-scale Chinese political event. Paper presented at the International Communication Association, Puerto Rico.