Media dependencies in a changing media environment: The case of the 2003 SARS epidemic in China

Zixue Tai, Tao Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article investigates media dependency among Chinese individuals during the SARS epidemic of 2003. While most media dependency research has examined dependency relations under circumstances when information was readily available, this study looks at a situation in which information was highly controlled and thus was not easily available from the mainstream media. As the socio-structural environment was not conducive to the free flow of information during a major public health crisis, audience members were not only actively engaged in information seeking from alternative resources such as short message services (SMS) and the internet, but they were also involved in creating alternative information channels by being information producers and disseminators. The internet was a particularly empowering tool to allow individuals to bypass official control and to challenge official claims during the crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-1009
Number of pages23
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Chinese media
  • Health communication
  • Internet
  • Media dependency
  • SARS
  • SMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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