After the appearance of Kane’s op-ed in the NY Times, I started wondering about Taiwan’s appearance in English news sites. I know from collecting articles on Taiwan (in the time of paper newspapers) that articles did not come up often unless a major event occurred or was going to happen. The major articles of the late 1980s to 1990s on Taiwan were about China’s missile tests and the first presidential election. Now, I’m wondering about articles in the world of the internet and news websites.
I have started a page to track various news sites. Most of these sites are from the U.S., but I’ve added some major English sites that are available worldwide. I do not include sites from Taiwan. I have chosen these sites because there are specific sections on Taiwan. This is not equivalent to a site search for Taiwan. The two are equivalent on some sites and I have not listed those. I have also chosen news agencies that produce their own content and are not completely reliant on wire services.
When a news site has a specific section for Taiwan, it is a promising start. I figure it means that the organization thinks that it is a large enough topic to have a page of its own. I also hope that it means the news site thinks there is plenty of news to publish. However, it could also mean that Taiwan comes up in plenty of articles, but there may be few articles devoted entirely to Taiwan. I am not distinguishing the two articles. I am, however, determining that an article is a piece of writing (instead of, say, a list with pictures).
The date of the last article published is also important. I have a feeling that that there are gaps of time where nothing is written about Taiwan. Then at some point, some large event occurs and that event becomes the token article about Taiwan for another period of time. I will keep note of the last date that I checked the sites. If the next to last article published was more than a month prior, I will also note it. I hope this will start to give us some idea of the prevalence of Taiwan in English news media.