Representations of migrant workers in the Chinese evening newspapers
The media plays a crucial role in framing social issues, and it decides whether and how these issues become social problems of wider public concern. This study offers a detailed analysis of this process with regard to the reporting of issues related to migrant workers over the last two decades in Chinese evening newspapers. Using data from evening newspapers in Jinan, a combination of quantitative and qualitative content analysis, and discourse analysis are used to explore how these representations have changed. The findings show that, contrary to the previous studies which found that representations of migrant workers in the Chinese evening newspapers tended to be mainly negative, portrayals of migrant workers, in reality, are more dynamic and complex. Actually, positive reports about migrant workers have dominated some evening newspapers. Using a large number of interviews with senior management staff and journalists, this study also illuminates the reasons for the changing representations of migrant workers in the evening newspapers, which are the result of the interaction of politics, market forces and professional practice of Chinese journalists.