"Under the Weather": The Weather Effects on U.S. Newspaper Coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Bu Zhong, Yong Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

By using computer-aided content analysis, this study examined how Beijing's weather, which was measured by the Air Pollution Index (API), temperature, and cloudiness (sunny or cloudy), might influence the coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by 4 U.S. newspapers. The results demonstrated that the API and temperature were significantly related to the negativity of the news reports that were filed from Beijing. Specifically, as Beijing's temperature rose or air pollution level increased, U.S. journalists used more negative words in reporting on the Olympics. The temperature was also correlated with the negativity of China-related reports. The findings provided evidence that journalists' news decision making might be influenced by a greater variety of factors than we previously thought. To better understand how journalists make news decisions, it is necessary to explore not only known patterns of journalistic practices but also some exogenous factors, such as weather.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-577
Number of pages19
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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