Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Mass Communications

First Advisor

Polumbaum, Judy

First Committee Member

Berkowitz, Dan

Second Committee Member

Durham, Frank

Third Committee Member

Havens, Tim

Fourth Committee Member

Tang, Wenfang


This study explores the occupational culture of journalism in a Southwestern China metropolis, Kunming, answering the questions of what and how journalists there give meaning to their work through analyzing the substance and form of the journalism culture. Over three months of fieldwork in four different local newspapers revealed a gap between the meanings these journalists aspire and the meanings they can materialize through practice, due to political and economic constraints. As a result, the journalists felt conflicted and deeply frustrated but at the same time tried to push the boundaries in different ways, including active use of digital technology and social media. The study also found that the journalism culture was intrinsically intertwined with the social, cultural and global environment within which it resided, as social conflict, widespread mistrust and global influences played important roles in shaping the meanings the journalists gave to their work. The journalism culture was also one of contradictions and uncertainties, still in the making and changing at a rapid pace. It is a journalism culture of a particular transitional era and place, with Chinese characteristics.


Chinese journalists, digital media, globalization, journalism culture, Kunming, social media


viii, 203 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 193-203).


Copyright 2012 Zhaoxi Liu