The roles and ethics of journalism: How Chinese students and American students perceive them similarly and differently


This study compares how American and Chinese journalism students view the importance of various journalistic roles and the difficulties of ethical dilemmas faced by journalists. Chinese students perceive greater difficulty in resolving conflict of interests and making a fair representation of the news while American students find greater difficulty in upholding community standards. Chinese and American students generally agree on the importance of journalists’ adversarial (critical of officials’ actions and less critical of them in crisis) and populist mobilizer roles (setting public agenda, influencing public opinion, and developing interests) but mostly diverge on the importance of journalists’ interpretive (investigating claims by government and discussing national policy) and disseminator roles (providing entertainment, staying away from unverified stories, and concentrating on news of interest to widest audience). Differences on the perceptual differences are discussed.

Publication Title

Journalism and Mass Communication Educator