Graphy Publications
Inspiring Innovations & Discoveries
Journalism and Mass Communication Volume 2 (2015), Article ID 2:IJJMC-110, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.15344/2349-2635/2015/110
Review Article
News Photos about Sichuan Earthquake: Effects of Political Ideology and Organizational Goal

Clement Y. K. So* and Yuying Dong

School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong SAR, The People's Republic of China
Corresponding Author Details : Dr. Clement Y. K. So, School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong SAR, The People's Republic of China; E-mail: clementso@cuhk.edu.hk
Received : 03 March 2015; Accepted : 04 August 2015; Published : 06 August 2015
Citation : So CYK, Dong Y (2015) News Photos about Sichuan Earthquake: Effects of Political Ideology and Organizational Goal. Int J Journalism Mass Comm 2: 110. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15344/2349-2635/2015/110

Abstract

This paper analyzes how and why some books published by various organizations in different regions of China select photos to record and commemorate the Sichuan earthquake happened on May 12, 2008. A comparison of the photo coverage by the official Chinese news media and the slightly more marketoriented media is done. The ways the mainland Chinese news media and the Hong Kong news media differ in their coverage is also a major objective.

A total of 13 books are included for content analysis and 2,343 photos are analyzed. These books are published by various sources in mainland China and Hong Kong, including the Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, Hong Kong newspaper groups, and a non-profit making organization. We look at the number and types of people shown in the photos and determine the themes of the photos in order to understand what the main messages are. We count the caption words and phrases associated with the photos. Results show that mainland journalists are more pro-government while Hong Kong journalists are more professional in orientation. Specifically, the Xinhua News Agency photos play up both the central and local officials while the CCTV photos emphasize more on mainland reporters. The mainland books have relatively fewer earthquake scenes, victims’ conditions and dead bodies. In contrast, the Hong Kong photos devote more photos to the scenes and ordinary people, as well as their rescue and mourning activities after the earthquake.

The differences in photo coverage are explained by their political affiliations and organizational goals. The clear political and ideological affiliations of Xinhua News Agency and CCTV dictate their roles in reporting the earthquake. The difference in organizational goals between the two mainland media organizations prescribes what they actually did in their coverage of the event. The Hong Kong news practice shows higher level of professionalism while its mainland counterpart is far from satisfactory.