The World Outside When the War Broke Out: A Comparative Study of Two Chinese Newspapers of Different Systems Scholars frequently argue about the importance of the role of the media in shaping people's perceptions of the world. Nevertheless, research indicates, on the one hand, that news systems present unique pictures of the world and, on the other hand, that the structure of world news coverage is similar across systems. Therefore, it should be meaningful to compare world news coverage of two Chinese newspapers [the People's Daily (PD) of Socialist China and the Oriental Daily News (OD) of laissez-faire Hong Kong] of different systems at a critical moment when a war, which is a significant human event, broke out. This study is concerned with two aspects of coverage comparison: the Gulf War and the world at large. Major findings include: (1) The OD covered the War significantly more than the PD. Overall, the OD covered more negative themes; in contrast, the PD covered more positive themes. As a whole, the thematic pattern of the papers was different. (2) The OD highlighted the War with sprightly furnished front-page treatment while the PD exercised restraint. (3) The OD relied heavily on the Big Four for world news; in contrast, the PD depended virtually on its own effort and the aid of its national news agency. The correlation of the pattern of news sources was almost negligible. (4) The two papers presented discrepant pictures of the world, with different attention priorities. Finally, two general aspects of concern in international journalism are discussed: (1) news sources, and (2) foreign news treatment and healthy mentality of mankind.
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