Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Construction of International News: A Two-Level Game Analysis of Libya Crisis in Chinese Newspapers

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Construction of International News: A Two-Level Game Analysis of Libya Crisis in Chinese Newspapers

Article excerpt

Introduction

International news occupies a special place in Chinese journalism because of its relationship with both foreign relations and domestic politics. This unique position features a style of a "hybridized discourse" [1] that is, a "reporting both keen to control and eager to please." In other words, it aligns with the interests of the Chinese government on the one hand and embraces the market on the other hand. The three characteristics of consensual, conflictual and instrumental functions mentioned in Guo and Huang's research on China's English media can also be applied to the newspapers specialized on international news. The consensual function, as they stated, "denote conformity to official ideology". The conflictual function "enables the media to promote cosmopolitan worldviews" while the instrumental function "emphasize media's role as an information conduit". However, the area of "hybridized discourse" remains unclear and needs to be specified. Since Guo and Huang claim, "the mass media juxtapose foreign culture and orthodox indigenous discourse into a new framework of worldview and identity," it is necessary to clarify not only how the new framework takes shape and how the "hybridized discourse" works in media organizations, but also how the tension between ideology and marketization can be reconciled and in a way that negotiation can happen.

Ever since Galtung and Ruge [2] analysed the factors influencing the flow of news from abroad, communication researchers have been conducting extensive research on international news coverage [3-6]. International news production is a process of social construction which is mediated by internal factors related to newsworthiness factors such as deviance, meaningfulness and unexpectedness, as well as its external factors, such as geographical proximity, cultural similarity, trade volume, gross domestic product (GDP) and press freedom.

Although scholars have recognized the significance of national media, few studies have examined the variation of international news production within a given country, making it difficult to fully understand the nature and structure of international news flow. Since 1990s, the number of international news reports in China, in both national or regional newspapers have increased. A new genre of national newspapers specializing in international news reporting has emerged such as the Global Times, the World News Journal and the International Herald Leader. Almost every party and metro newspaper includes an "international news page." In contrast to the decline of international news coverage in western media, it is necessary to find why this happens and how this is happening. International news reports are not only concerned with international relations, but also with domestic situations and reactions. It's also striking to look at how this interactive process works and to what extent the state, market and journalistic professionalism exert influence. Thus this study borrows Robert Putnam's concept of the "two-level game" from international relations studies which is a metaphor for domestic-international interactions. In his description, "the statesmen are strategically positioned between two 'tables', one representing domestic politics and the other international negotiation. Diplomatic tactics and strategies are constrained simultaneously by what other states will accept and what domestic constituencies will ratify." This implies conflicting pressures on the political leaders when dealing with international negotiations [7]. Given the importance of "win-sets" or "space for negotiation" in determining the outcomes of negotiations, Putnam identified three sets of factors that affect win-set sizes including political preferences, domestic political institutions, and the strategies of the negotiators. As international news production has to take foreign relations into consideration and make domestic ratification, the metaphor of "two-level game" provides us a new framework although it requires more detailed definition. …

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