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Content Analysis – BBC & Xinhua News Agency

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Content Analysis – FAQ

By looking at various elements as suggested below discuss how the news coverage in the two websites is different or similar and why? Use examples from the evidence gathered to support your discussion. You may follow one event e.g. Pakistan floods or Chilean miners and its coverage in the two news sites, or do a more generic study. Be sure to state this in your introduction.

  • Observations may include:

News agenda – what stories are reported and their order of priority e.g. by region, or topic.

News values – various factors such as conflict, cultural proximity, elite nations/people

Other observations may include

–Use of headlines


Sources – people interviewed for the story.

You may use tables and charts to show certain patterns you have discovered.

View & print out the pages everyday at the same time over the observation period to keep track of headline stories.  (Though it is not essential to do so, you may also like to save screenshots of the news items to include in your report – record URLs and dates of screen capture to be able to adequately caption any images you include in your report).

  • Observe contents of the same webpage each time you visit.
  • Find news websites that have live video feeds.

Q: Does the news have to be in English?      Yes.

Q: Are we just looking for the top stories?    Just the top five stories.

Q: Should we cover news on sports as well?  No Sports. Only cover sports if it is part of the top five news items.

Q: The link to BBC gives me the “one minute world news”. Is that the one I should focus on? Or can I use the articles they have on their webpage as well (for example “Top Stories”).

Look at the one minute news, then supplement your discussion with the written articles if necessary.

Q: When it says “the website”, what is the website or do we choose our own 2 websites?

Choose the two websites from the list in the unit guide. You must compare one western and one non-western website (e.g. BBC and Xinhua News Agency OR ABC News World and Al Jazeera).

Q: Do we have to look at, for example, Al Jazeera every day over two weeks, or is it say every few days?

Over an 8-10 day period, look either everyday or every second day.

Q: Al Jazeera is confusing

Look at the top stories as presented on the website. For example on you will find five headlines with pictures just below the top large picture. Don’t use popular stories which are stories that have had the most hits.

Some websites such as CCTV have World News pages as well as regional pages.  Pick the same for both. If it is regional then be sure that both cover the same region e.g. Asia.

How to write it up – Essay style


-Thesis statement which includes the aim rephrased from the essay question. Provide some background to the topic supported by readings.

Methodology – how you collected the data and during which period.

Main Body

-Define news agenda and news values, sources and any other concept you use.

-Use subheadings for each theme.

-What are your findings in relation to these? E.g. news agenda is dominated by…

-Use tables or charts to show the patterns.

-Use examples from your research and relevant literature to support your claims.

-Discuss how the news coverage in the two websites is different or similar and why? Use examples from the evidence gathered to support your discussion.


What you found and how it impacts your own understanding of international news.


Attach samples of your page views as an appendix to your analysis for each website. Make sure your appendix is included in your Turnitin submission.

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