Agenda setting and micro-blog use: An analysis of the relationship between Sina Weibo and newspaper agendas in China

Yanfang Wu, David Atkin, T.Y. Lau, Carolyn Lin, Yi Mou


The present study investigates the influence of micro-blogs on the major agenda-setting media in China in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic railway accident. Study findings are based on a content analysis of micro-blog messages and traditional mainstream media reports that were published in the nine days subsequent to the July 23, 2011 bullet train crash accident. Results suggest that, in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic train wreck, alternative online media played a decisive role in setting mainstream media agendas and providing a citizen forum on a sensitive issue that their conventional counterparts downplayed, ignored, or missed altogether. In particular, the traditional media’s agenda setting power is no longer universal nor singular within micro-blogging outlets. Instead, traditional media—once a monolithic establishment—are now just one of the role players among many competing influences.


agenda setting; sina weibo; social networking

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