Journalistic Role Performance in Hong Kong and Mainland China

  • SPARKS, Colin (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project has the main objective of analyzing the relationship between what journalists say about their roles and their performance of those roles. It will examine how gaps and convergences between the two phenomena are related to media structures. The project will investigate journalism in the different media systems of Hong Kong and mainland China. It is anticipated that journalists in the two places will give different self-conceptions and that the practices of journalism will be different. The project will provide comparative insights into how media structures influence journalists’ self-conceptions, their practical activity, and the relationship between the two.

The project consists of two main components. The first is a content analysis of representative newspapers in Hong Kong and mainland China. The aims are first to record the key characteristics of news stories and, second, to identify the journalists who produced them. The second component involves a survey of the journalists producing substantial amounts of the analysed material to discover their conceptions of the roles. The project will analyze the continuities and disjunctures between role conception and role performance identified by the field research and situate these within the different media systems involved.

The project constitutes the Chinese section of a broader international comparative research effort titled `Journalistic Role Performance Around the Globe.' This comparative project will research the connections between journalists' conceptions of their professional roles and what the same actually journalists produce. The project consists of a network of experienced researcher in 27 different countries. In addition to the active researchers, the project has an advisory committee of 12 scholars, including some of the most distinguished names in the field.

The participation of the team from Hong Kong and mainland China will enrich this project by bringing data derived from the situation in two parts of the country to an international audience. In turn, the situation of the project within a broader perspective will enable to distinctive features of the national experience to be brought more sharply into focus. Further details of the project can be obtained from the website:

As well as working on the development of the theoretical grounding of the project and conducting the field work in Hong Kong and the mainland, the investigators will publish work both of a scholarly and more journalistic nature on their findings. They will produce work both specific to China and participate in the broader dissemination of the findings.
Effective start/end date1/09/14 → 31/08/16


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