Unpublished. Excerpt. In Development.

Introduction (Partial)

We examine how journalists negotiate their role conceptions and enactments in a comparative textual analysis of U.S. and Chinese media coverage of a historic fire in Shanghai, China in 2010. How journalists conceive of their roles and enact them has produced an abundance of scholarship exploring role conceptions and enactments either discretely or in tandem (Carpenter, Boehmer & Fico, 2016; Hallin and Mancini, 2004; Tandoc, Hellmueller & Vos, 2013; van Dalen, de Vreese, & Albæk., 2012; Vos and Craft, 2016; Weaver & Wilhoit, 1996; Zhao, 2012). However, a number of scholars have challenged the perceived linearity of role conception (i.e., how a journalist conceives their role) to role enactment, i.e., the production of news (Tandoc et al., 2013; van Dalen et al., 2012). The literature, often called gap literature, or minding the gap, plumbs those discontinuities or distortions that arise in the flow of conception to enactment. In this research, we mine within and beyond the boundaries of role conception and enactment and reveal the fractures within role conception and enactment literature, particularly among Chinese journalists who deftly defy the broad classifications they are folded under: namely, as one example, the loyal facilitator who propagates state ideology and power.