The sculpture of tick-borne disease media coverage in the United States and China

Cheng Zeng (1) , Yanzhe Tang (2) , Diyako Rahmani (3) , Stephen Croucher (4) , Leona K Gilbert (5)
(1) University of Jyväskylä (Finland) , Finland
(2) University of Jyväskylä , Finland
(3) University of Jyväskylä (Finland) , Finland
(4) School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing at Massey University , Finland
(5) Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä , Finland


Media’s ability to enhance the salience of certain topics for the public and affect governmental policy-setting processes is widely recognized. This is particularly evident in health communication, where newspapers are one of the most important sources of health information. This study compares media depictions of tick-borne disease in the United States and China. Both countries are experiencing an increase in tick-borne diseases and have vastly different media landscapes. To investigate US and Chinese newspaper coverage of tick-borne diseases, a content analysis was conducted of four US and four Chinese newspapers. The analysis considered length, tone, chief actors, and themes present in articles covering tick-borne diseases from 2010-2015. The findings reveal significant differences between the two nations on length of the articles, chief actors portrayed in the articles, and themes present in the articles. The data also show: tick-borne disease stories were overwhelmingly framed in a neutral way in both nations; newspapers in the US featured more celebrity-related stories compared to newspapers in China; and US stories as opposed to those in China focused more on health policies.

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Cheng Zeng (Primary Contact)
Yanzhe Tang
Diyako Rahmani
Stephen Croucher
Leona K Gilbert
Author Biographies

Cheng Zeng, University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

Cheng Zeng is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at North Dakota State University

Yanzhe Tang, University of Jyväskylä

Yanzhe Tang is a master’s student in the Department of Language and Communication Studies at the University of Jyväskylä

Diyako Rahmani, University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

Diyako Rahmani is a Lecturer in the School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing at Massey University

Stephen Croucher, School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing at Massey University

Stephen Croucher is a Professor and Head of the School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing at Massey University

Leona K Gilbert , Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä

Leona K Gilbert is an Associate Professor in Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä

Zeng, C., Tang, Y., Rahmani, D., Croucher, S., & Gilbert , L. K. (2018). The sculpture of tick-borne disease media coverage in the United States and China. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 18(3), 1–13.

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