Reality and newsworthiness: Press coverage of International Terrorism by China and the United States

Di Zhang, Pamela J. Shoemaker, Xiuli Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


This study adds to research on terrorism and international news by combining real-world information about terrorist events with perceptions about the deviance and social significance of events and how these impact the events' coverage prominence. The news values of the USA and China are compared by selecting a set of these highly newsworthy events from the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) for study. The NCTC provided archival data about 137 international terrorism events covered in the US and Chinese newspapers (85 of 137 events covered in Chinese media) and an analysis of newspaper coverage of the events (three newspapers in each country) provided perceptions of the events' deviance and social significance. Our findings suggest that Chinese journalists rely more on perceptions of events' social significance than on perceptions of deviance or facts about the damage the events create. In contrast, Americans apparently use a mix of factual and perceptual information to decide how prominently to cover terrorism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-471
Number of pages23
JournalAsian Journal of Communication
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013



  • comparative research
  • deviance
  • newsworthiness
  • social significance
  • terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education

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