Negotiating the boundaries of news reporting: Journalists’ strategies to access and report political information in China

Xianwen Kuang


As Chinese politicians hold the power to control the dissemination of political information, beat journalists must guard their relationship with the authorities to expand the boundaries of news reporting; that is, to gain more access to political information and report more sensitive news. What remains a puzzle is how beat journalists can possibly expand these boundaries. Data from participatory observation and in-depth interviews with journalists reveal that in order to gain more access to political information, they not only serve as political advocates but also seize the opportunity to act as watchdogs. To report more sensitive news without being sanctioned or denounced by the authorities, they coordinate with peers both within and outside the news organization.


Beat reporting; China; journalist–politician relations; journalistic practices; news reporting boundary; political journalism

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