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Title: Conditional transparency: Differentiated news framings of COVID-19 severity in the pre-crisis stage in China
Authors: Xi, Yipeng
Chen, Anfan
Ng, Aaron
Issue Date: 24-May-2021
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: Xi, Yipeng, Chen, Anfan, Ng, Aaron (2021-05-24). Conditional transparency: Differentiated news framings of COVID-19 severity in the pre-crisis stage in China. PLoS ONE 16 (5 May) : e0252062. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Transparency of Chinese media coverage became an international controversy when the COVID-19 outbreak initially emerged in Wuhan, the eventual crisis epicenter in China. Unlike studies characterizing mass media in authoritarian contexts as government mouthpieces during a crisis, this study aims to disaggregate Chinese media practices to uncover differences in when, where, and how the severity of COVID-19 was reported. We examine differences in how media institutions reported the severity of the COVID-19 epidemic in China during the pre-crisis period from 1 January 2020 to 20 January 2020 in terms of both the “vertical” or hierarchical positions of media institutions in the Chinese media ecosystem and the “horizontal” positions of media institutions’ social proximity to Wuhan in terms of geographical human traffic flows. We find that the coverage of crisis severity is negatively associated with the media’s social proximity to Wuhan, but the effect varies depending on the positional prominence of a news article and situation severity. Implications of the institutions’ differentiated reporting strategies on future public health reporting in an authoritarian context are also discussed. Copyright: © 2021 Xi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Source Title: PLoS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252062
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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