Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Laura M. Luehrmann, Ph.D. (Committee Chair); Liam Anderson, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Pramod Kantha, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


What role do domestic audiences play in authoritarian policy making? This study examines the relationship between newspapers and assertive foreign policy. Specifically, this study conducts content analyses of state-published newspapers during periods of unprecedented assertiveness in the South China Sea. Borrowing from Galtung’s theory of peace journalism, this study analyzes valence patterns used in 99 separate articles published in Xinhua, China Daily, People’s Daily, and Global Times. Additionally, this study examines the visibility of these articles, to better understand their prominence in national coverage. This study discusses nationalism in the case of China, as well as the overwhelming control that its government exerts over domestic access to information. However, the applicability of this study extends to any authoritarian state, inherently having significant influence on information availability of its domestic audience. Finally, this study concludes with a discussion on how these tactics fit in to larger strategic national goals.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded