2015: Volume 8, Issue 2, pp. 97-112

A Critical Examination of Chinese Language Media’s 
Normative Goals and News Decisions

Xiaoping Li



Ethnic media are an integral part of a multicultural communication infrastructure benefiting all Canadians, as they provide services pivotal to immigrants’ settlement, integration, and participation in Canadian society, yet numerous studies of ethnic media reveal deficiencies in their performance. This analysis informed by interview data examines Chinese language media’s normative goals in relation to news decision-making. Outlet news workers convey commendable goals, and those who stress citizen building dedicate themselves to journalistic roles despite unfavourable circumstances. Meanwhile, Chinese language media outlets operate according to norms of social responsibility divergent from mainstream media. Narrow definitions of social responsibility, audience tastes, and perceived community needs influence content and boundaries in and for Chinese language reportage on Canada. Market competition and profit concerns also shape reporting quality, with normative goals trumped by commercial aims. New Canadians with language barriers require informational help if they are to truly become part of Canadian society, exercise their rights, and live up to their responsibilities as citizens. Improvements include professional training for ethnic media workers, inclusion of minority narratives into mainstream media, and publicly funded multilingual communications.


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