University of Tokyo
Xiao Zhang is a PhD student (2016 expected) at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, Global Leader Program for Social Design and Management (GSDM), at the University of Tokyo. Her research focuses on risk coverage and science risk communication in China. The recipient of several fellowships and other awards, her oral presentation, “A Framing Analysis of Newspaper GMO Coverage in China,” was presented previously at the Seoul National University-University of Tokyo Symposium in 2014.
A Framing Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of GM issue (Genetically Modified Organisms) from 2009 to 2014 in China
The GMO issue is probably one of the most controversial and noticeable issues in the world, and much debate has taken place through mass media. Mass media can largely reflect and shape public perceptions associated with GMOs. Although China is at the forefront of plant biotechnology research, there is a large and rising reservoir of resistance from different groups, and especially the public. Actually, China presents a much more ambiguous and interesting picture in terms of GM revolution. The need for effective and efficient science communication is urgent, while the situation of Chinese news coverage on GMOs remains an underdeveloped area. This study examines newspapers coverage of GM issue, especially risk dimension, and focuses on both elite press and local newspapers to present a comprehensive and diverse picture. Both quantitative content analysis and qualitative analysis was conducted to analyze a total of 11589 news articles reporting on GM crops and food issue on 602 national and local newspapers within a 5-year period (2009-2014) in China. Some interesting results have been found. For example, the story volume for the GM issue began to increase rapidly since 2009, reached a peak in 2013, and showed cyclical trends (about 4 months). In addition, analysis of newspaper attribution reveals that as high as 86% of newspapers reporting on GM issue are local and 63.46% newspapers are daily. However, national and evening newspapers performance is better. Provinces with most media attention are exactly 4 top provinces with most GDP for the last 5 years. In addition, over half of all news articles are short (less than 500 words). This study contributes to empirical analysis of media GMO representations and serves as basis for further interviews to journalists about journalistic risk reporting practice and professionalism in China.