New paper on news bias in ITAR-TASS’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis

Kohei Watanabe’s research paper titled “Measuring News Bias: Russia’s Official News Agency ITAR-TASS’s Coverage of the Ukraine Crisis will be published in the European Journal of Communication.

Abstract: Objectivity in news reporting is one of the most widely discussed topics in journalism, and numbers of studies on bias in news have been conducted, but there is little agreement on how to define or measure news bias. Aiming to settle the theoretical and methodological disagreement, the author redefined news bias and applied a new methodology to detect the Russian government’s influence on ITAR-TASS during the Ukraine crisis. A longitudinal content analysis of over 35,000 English-language newswires on the Ukraine crisis published by ITAR-TASS and Interfax clearly showed that ITAR-TASS’s framing of Ukraine was reflecting desirability of pivotal events in the crisis to the Russian government. This result reveals Russia’s strategic use of the state-owned news agency for international propaganda in its ‘hybrid war’, demonstrating the effectiveness of the new approach to news bias.

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