Chapter 5. Discourse of journalism and legitimacy in post-reform China

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This chapter discusses how Chinese journalism defends and maintains its legitimacy through the construction and contestation of discourses of journalism after the 1980s. Three types of journalism discourse have emerged alongside social and ideological shifts in Chinese society since the 1980s reform. Their appearance has accompanied the declining legitimacy of Party journalism. Journalistic discursive practices, such as new genres of reporting and self-reflexive writing about journalism, have been invented and developed by journalistic practitioners and news organisations. Through discursive practices of this kind, discursive statements of journalism have been forged, redefining the practices, roles, and values of Chinese journalism. These new sets of journalism discourse distinguish journalism first from propaganda and later from amateur citizen writing. In doing so, the boundaries of Chinese journalism are constructed and maintained, which are often thought of as important for retaining journalism’s legitimacy. Key words: Chinese journalism; journalism legitimacy; journalism discourse


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