Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

Daniela V. Dimitrova



The People's Daily, the most widely circulated newspaper in China, has served as the central government's mouthpiece for decades. While its importance and its coverage of specific events have been studied extensively, little research has examined how its coverage has changed through history. Understanding the evolution of the newspaper, however, requires determining whether any differences in coverage have occurred over time.

This study aims to identify differences in topics, authorship, use of quotations, and critiques of the government as well as praise in editorials of the People's Daily from 1977to 2010. By means of a longitudinal content analysis, it compares the frequency of use of aspects in 18 categories before and after 1989, a pivotal year in Chinese history. The results indicate government and party issues were fewer while other topics increased; government official authors were fewer while other author identities increased; and more quotations, more government criticism and more reforms were mentioned in the post-1989 period. These results indicate that the People's Daily's coverage did change significantly in many respects, although it is difficult to determine the causes of the changes--economic factors, reduced political control, social changes or globalization forces.

Copyright Owner

Sicong Zhao



File Format


File Size

65 pages