Mainland China frames Taiwan: Online news, event perception and issue attitudes

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Pamela J. Shoemaker


Taiwan, Online, News, Event perception, Issue attitudes, Framing

Subject Categories

Communication | Mass Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study applies framing analysis to online news by examining how two distinguishable news frames identified from the coverage on Taiwan's 2004 presidential election in two news websites in Mainland China influence the audience's perception of this political event as well as their attitudes toward Mainland-Taiwan relations.

This dissertation first explicates the concept of news framing by assessing the different approaches scholars have explored to theorize and conceptualize framing in the mass communication discipline.

Secondly, this study evaluates both generic and issue-specific news frames underlying the online coverage of Taiwan's 2004 presidential election in two mainstreaming news websites-- www.people.com .cn and www.sina.com.cn --in Mainland China, whereby verifying the validity of the quantitative approach in the identification and measurement of news frames.

Two 3x2, two-wave, between-subject experiments are then designed to assess the impact of two news frames-- game and military consequences detected from the content analysis--on the audience's cognitive as well as attitudinal responses.

Content analysis reveals that generic and issue-specific frames co-existed in Internet-based media outlets. News frames varied across media outlets. Traditional media transferred their frames to news websites.

Experiments show that framing effects are significant on US subjects who may not be familiar with the event and its related issues and have to rely on media for information. Issue familiarity helps explain the insignificance of framing effect on event perception for Chinese participants as well as on issue attitudes for all subjects.

As a result, a revised theoretical definition of framing is proposed and the direction for future research is also identified.


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