Chinese young people's engagement with journalism: perspectives and attitudes towards the news
The changing media landscape in China has created a diverse society where young audiences often suffer from confusing and conflicting values. There is an increasing concern that young people‘s sense of citizenship is in decline, suggesting a lack of awareness that may be indicative of an alienation towards news. The purpose of this study is to enhance scholarly understanding of the relationship between Chinese young citizens and news. The research was conducted in Beijing, involving 12 focus groups and 40 semi-structured interviews with teenagers, and 10 in-depth interviews with their parents and teachers. Evidence obtained highlights that young citizens have a general negative view towards national news media regarding news objectivity, balance, and depth. Results also suggest that young citizens struggle to understand the top-down form of news in China. The gaps between young people and news raise questions about their relative grasp of news literacy, and their perspectives on what counts as good journalism. Briefly, the analysis reveals that: a) while news plays an important role in providing young citizens with information in their daily lives, consistent consumption of news does not necessarily result in enhancing their news literacy; and b) young citizens‘ perspectives on news are shaped by both foreign news concepts and domestic news stereotypes. The study reaffirms that multiple dimensions of citizenship and cultural traditions in different social contexts need to be integrated when examining the relationship between young citizens, news and news education. Looking to the future, the thesis presents a strong case for a new approach to help reduce the gap between young people and national news, offering specific recommendations for better developing news literacy education strategies best suited for China.
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