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Prevailing Impressions of Social Actors in Korean News Coverage of a Public Health Crisis
A content analysis of coverage of a Korean public health crisis from September 1999 to December 2000 explored four hypotheses regarding how major social actors were depicted within two national newspapers, Chosun Ilbo, a conservative daily and Hankyoreh, a more liberal, youth-oriented daily. The findings failed to confirm or reject any of the four hypotheses. The coverage of major social actors tended to range from unfavorable in Hankyoreh to equivocal in Chosun Ilbo. The study suggests that: a) the depiction of social actors was different between leading, Korean news organizations and b) a one-dimensional, broad characterization of the Korean news media's alleged biases over time were difficult to validate. The study also implies that a tendency to uniformly characterize the depiction of social actors by all national news organizations is difficult in Korea and perhaps, in similar cultural contexts.