Taiwan’s Public Diplomacy and Mega-event : An Analysis of Foreign News Reports of the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Centrum för studier av politik, kommunikation och medier (CPKM)

Abstract: This thesis, as a case study, focuses on the perspective of foreign news reports on Taiwan’s first time hosting an international multi-sport event, the World Games 2009 in its biggest port city Kaohsiung. The World Games 2009 Kaohsiung, the significant Olympic type mega-event as to Taiwan, is applied as the approach to public diplomacy and soft power for the purpose of expanding Taiwan’s international space. It is expected to raise publicity and mass media exposure to boost Taiwan’s international profile and spur its tourism industry. From Taiwan’s image-marketing strategy, practices to foreign news reports, it outweighs to study foreign media’s reflection on Taiwan and the World Games 2009 as the important evaluation on the mega-event as a whole. This thesis attempts to answer two research questions: How was the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung reported by the foreign media? Did hosting the World Games improve Taiwan’s image? It presents the results and perspectives of foreign news reports by qualitative methods: case study and discourse analysis of online-English news reports and some quantitative methods applied on data. It combines news reports study with theory, model of public diplomacy, mega-event and expected-model. Within 101 pieces of online-English news found related to the World Games 2009, it unveils fruitful results such as the failure of interpreting the core story (Taiwan’s images and values) by foreign media during the sporting extravaganza, and it echoes Rivenburgh (2004)’s three viewpoints toward the Olympic type event (intercultural challenges, less news about host country’s culture and dramatic news). By the amount of news and the absence of foreign media on the press conference indicates that foreign media did not pay much attention to the World Games and Taiwan. In spite of reporting the sports and games, other major topics of reports were Taiwan’s hosting the event, the greenest solar-powered stadium designed by Japanese, Toyo Ito, Chu Chen’s promotion itinerary to Beijing and China’s absence on the opening and closing ceremony which triggered foreign media’s great concern.  

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