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Framing terrorism : a comparative analysis of Chinese and U.S. newspaper coverage of terrorist attacks in China and U.S.

English Abstract

In this study, the author undertakes framing analysis to investigate the differences in Chinese and U.S newspaper coverage of terrorist attacks within and outside there domestic soil. Four terrorist attacks were examined in the study: the Kunming Railway Station Attack and the Urumqi Market Attack in China, the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon Bombings in U.S. The results indicate that Chinese and U.S newspapers adopt contradicted frames to cover the attacks in China, namely pro-government frames in Chinese coverage and anti-communism frames in U.S coverage. Whereas in terms of framing terrorist attacks in U.S soil, the findings suggest that no statistically significant difference was found between Chinese and U.S press coverage, Chinese newspapers covered similar to U.S newspapers. Additionally, this study innovatively applies factor analysis to tackle whether there exists certain patterns and generic frames in covering terrorism in Chinese and U.S newspapers. Hopefully, findings of factor analysis show that two symmetric factors were extracted from a principal component analysis. Factor 1 (α=0.85) is composed of four sub-frames: reasonable revenge, government & society, justified, improvement of social condition. Factor 2 (α=0.75) is also constituted of four sub-frames: act of terrorism, terrorist groups, inhuman and retaliation within international framework. Through Person’s correlation analysis, results suggest that the two factors are significantly correlated with the nation of newspapers and the location of attacks.

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Gu, Yu Qi


Faculty of Social Sciences


Department of Communication




Reporters and reporting -- China

Reporters and reporting -- United States

Terrorism and mass media


Chen, Huai Lin

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