Portland State University Department of Speech Communication
Leslie T. Good
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication
1 online resource (3, v, 104 p.)
American newspapers, China -- History -- Tiananmen Square incident (1989)
This thesis explores three aspects of the relationship between U.S. news media and the Chinese pro-democracy movement in 1989. These three aspects are: How much attention did u.s. newspapers give to the Chinese pro-democracy movement in 1989? How did u.s. newspapers portray the power struggle in the Chinese government during the time when the Chinese pro-democracy movement took place? Has there been any change in the image of China during and after the Chinese pro-democracy movement in 1989? Research data are drawn from the following three U.S. newspapers: The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. Content analysis is adopted as the research method in this study. This research method is carried out in three parts targeting the three research questions mentioned above. The first part shows the total front-page space and number of news stories in the three u.s. newspapers. The front-page space and number of news stories in each newspaper is utilized to measure the degree of attention that each newspaper gave to the Chinese pro-democracy movement in 1989. The second part illustrates the power struggle in the Chinese government. Top Chinese officials are presented as either losing or gaining power based on the treatment they received from the three u.s. newspapers. The third part demonstrates the change in the image of China during and after the Chinese pro-democracy movement in 1989. Both positive and negative changes in the image of China are determined by the use of ideological and non-ideological symbolic representations of China in news stories. Research findings on the first research question show that both front-page space and number of news stories related to events in China increased dramatically in all three u.s. newspapers. Research findings on the power struggle in the Chinese government showed that, in general, all three u.s. newspapers viewed the three top Chinese officials as losing power before military troops were used to control the situation in Beijing on June 4, 1989. Finally, research findings showed a negative change in the image of China during and the Chinese pro-democracy movement, especially after the Chinese government regained control of Tiananmen Square by using military force on June 4, 1989. Implications for future research in mass communication are discussed and, finally, the thesis concludes with suggestions for further research in mass media and communication.
Sun, Jie, "1989 Chinese Pro-democracy Movement and U.S. News Media" (1992). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4583.