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Assessing Media Exemplars and Shifting Journalistic Paradigms: A Survey Study of China’s Journalists
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Built upon previous research on changing journalistic practices in China (e.g., Polumbaum, 1990; Pan, 2000a; Pan & Lu, 2002), this study is designed to investigate how China’s journalists evaluate various media outlets—some domestic and some foreign—and how such evaluations are related to their beliefs of journalistic roles and desired journalism education. Analyzing data from surveys of China’s journalists and journalism students completed in the spring of 2002, this study is aimed to examine the emergence of competing journalistic paradigms in China and to explore some of the ways in which paradigm changes may be taking place there. Journalistic Paradigm and Media Exemplars The key concept that guides this investigation is “journalistic paradigm” (Bennett, Gressett, & Haltom, 1985; Chan & Lee, 1991; Reese, 1989). The term refers to a set of “cognitive maps, or gestalt world views that inform the media as to what ‘social facts’ to report (and what not to report) and how to interpret them” (Chan & Lee, 1991, p. 23). It is a broad framework that structures the normative principles and working knowledge that guide journalists’ work and news media practices (McQuail, 1994), and is revealed in a coherent configuration of these idea elements. Several writers have pointed out that journalism is a paradigm-based field (Chan & Lee, 1991; Reese, 1989) in that journalists apply a set of broadly shared understanding of what constitutes news and how to “frame” the reality through the selective gathering and packaging of facts in their work. Such understanding is codified as professional norms and canons, embedded in organizational routines and the established social order (Bennett et al, 1985; Reese, 1989; 2001; Tuchman, 1978; Gitlin, 1980). It sets the basic

Authors: Pan, Zhongdang. and Chan, Joseph Man.
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Built upon previous research on changing journalistic practices in China (e.g.,
Polumbaum, 1990; Pan, 2000a; Pan & Lu, 2002), this study is designed to investigate
how China’s journalists evaluate various media outlets—some domestic and some
foreign—and how such evaluations are related to their beliefs of journalistic roles and
desired journalism education. Analyzing data from surveys of China’s journalists and
journalism students completed in the spring of 2002, this study is aimed to examine the
emergence of competing journalistic paradigms in China and to explore some of the ways
in which paradigm changes may be taking place there.
Journalistic Paradigm and Media Exemplars
The key concept that guides this investigation is “journalistic paradigm” (Bennett,
Gressett, & Haltom, 1985; Chan & Lee, 1991; Reese, 1989). The term refers to a set of
“cognitive maps, or gestalt world views that inform the media as to what ‘social facts’ to
report (and what not to report) and how to interpret them” (Chan & Lee, 1991, p. 23). It
is a broad framework that structures the normative principles and working knowledge
that guide journalists’ work and news media practices (McQuail, 1994), and is revealed
in a coherent configuration of these idea elements.
Several writers have pointed out that journalism is a paradigm-based field (Chan
& Lee, 1991; Reese, 1989) in that journalists apply a set of broadly shared understanding
of what constitutes news and how to “frame” the reality through the selective gathering
and packaging of facts in their work. Such understanding is codified as professional
norms and canons, embedded in organizational routines and the established social order
(Bennett et al, 1985; Reese, 1989; 2001; Tuchman, 1978; Gitlin, 1980). It sets the basic


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