Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

Lulu Rodriguez


This study investigates whether the Chinese media agenda---as reflected in the news items published in the Beijing and Shanghai news websites of, the country's largest news site---is reflected in the public agenda or what Beijing and Shanghai residents consider to be the most important issues in the country over a four-month period. It also examined how China's hosting of the Olympic games ranked as a particular issue in the media agenda and its relationship with the issue's position in the public's list of the most important issues facing the nation. The correlation between the valence or orientation of the news stories with the public's attitude about the games was also investigated. This study adopts the traditional agenda-setting methodology, which involves the combined methods of content analysis to determine the media agenda and a public survey to determine the public agenda. First, the media agenda and the public agenda were explored separately. Then, the prioritization of issues in the two agendas as well as the media valence and public's attitude toward the country's hosting of the 2008 Olympiad were compared. The findings indicate that the websites in both cities highlight similar topics and that the coverage toward the Olympics was positive. Items comprising the priority list of issues in the public agenda of Beijing and Shanghai were also found to closely resemble each other. The respondents in both cities showed positive attitudes about the country's hosting of the 2008 Olympiad. In each city, the media agenda partly corresponded to the public agenda. They differed, however, in terms of the extent to which some of the topics occupied the agenda. The orientation of the media coverage about the Olympics and the public's attitude about hosting the games were both positive. The public attitude about the games, however, was more positive than the valence of media stories about the games. The findings also suggest that situational factors may influence agenda-setting effects.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Qing Ma



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

66 pages