Dr. ZHANG Xinzhi 

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong
M.A. with Distinction, Communication & New Media, City University of Hong Kong
B.A., Broadcasting Journalism, Guangzhou University, China
(852) 3411-6559
CVA Room 1037

Dr. Xinzhi Zhang's research focuses on political communication, digital journalism, and public health communication, and computational social science. His research examines people’s digitally mediated communication about politics and public health; and how digital technologies change news production and dissemination. His research aims to help public sectors, media organizations, and technology companies design and evaluate public communication campaigns, conduct evidence-based interventions to reduce bias, inequalities, and miscommunication in the age of political polarization and information disorder, and promote free, open, and deliberative dialogues within society. His work has appeared in top-tier journals such as Human Communication ResearchJournal of CommunicationSocial Media + SocietyDigital JournalismHealth Communication, and Social Science Computer Review. He was awarded two competitive research grants under the General Research Fund (GRF) from the Research Grants Council (RGC) of the Hong Kong SAR. He serves as the Editorial Board Member of Digital Journalism and Chinese Journal of Communication. He is the recipient of HKBU’s Performance Award as Young Researcher (2021) and HKBU's Teaching Award (2022). He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Communication of the University of California at Davis in fall 2022.

Research interests 

Political communication
Digital journalism
Public health campaigns
Human-machine communication
Computational social science


Zhang, X. (2023). Will political disagreement silence political expression? The role of information repertoire filtration and discussion network heterogeneity. Human Communication Research. Online first. doi: 10.1093/hcr/hqad009. [Q1 (top 12%) in SSCI - Communication, 2021 JCR IF = 5.333, Oxford University Press.]

Zhu, R. & Zhang, X. (2023). Public sector’s misinformation debunking during the public health campaign: A case of Hong Kong. Health Promotion International. Online first. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daad053. [Q1 in SSCI - Health Policy & Services, 2021 JCR IF = 3.734, Oxford University Press.]

Zhang, X., Zhu, R., Chen, L., Zhang, Z., & Chen, M. (2022). News from Messenger? A cross-national comparative study of news media’s audience engagement strategies via Facebook Messenger chatbots. Digital Journalism. Online first. doi: 10.1080/21670811.2022.2145329. [Q1 (top 5%) in SSCI - Communication, 2021 JCR IF = 6.847, Sage Publications Ltd.]

Zhang, X. (2022). Expression avoidance and privacy management as dissonance reduction in the face of online disagreement. Telematics and Informatics. Online first. doi: 10.1016/j.tele.2022.101894. [SSCI - Social Science Interdisciplinary, 2021 JCR IF = 9.14, Elsevier.]

Zhang, X. & Zhu, R. (2022). Health journalists’ social media sourcing during the early outbreak of the public health emergency. Journalism Practice. Online first, doi: 10.1080/17512786.2022.2110927. [SSCI - Communication, 2021 JCR IF = 2.328, Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd.]

Zhang, X., Lin, W.-Y., & Dutton, W. H. (2022). The political consequences of online disagreement: The filtering of communication networks in a polarized political context. Social Media + Society. Online first, doi: 10.1177/20563051221114391. [Q1 (top 15%) in SSCI - Communication, 2021 JCR IF = 4.636, Sage Publications Ltd.]

Zhang, X. & Zhu, R. (2021). How source-level and message-level factors influence journalists’ social media visibility during a public health crisis. Journalism. Online first. doi: 10.1177/14648849211023153. [Q1 (top 16%) in SSCI - Communication, 2020 JCR IF = 4.436, Sage Publications Ltd.]

Liang, H., & Zhang, X. (2021). Partisan bias of perceived incivility and its political consequences: Evidence from survey experiments in Hong Kong. Journal of Communication, 71(3). doi: 10.1093/joc/ jqab008 [Q1 (top 6%) in SSCI - Communication, 2020 JCR IF = 7.270, Oxford Academic.]

Zhang, X. (2021). Innovation and conformity in music reproduction: A network analytic approach to contestants’ song covering in reality shows in Mainland China and the US. International Communication Gazette, 83(7). doi: 10.1177/17480485211014372. [SSCI - Communication, 2020 JCR IF = 1.859, Sage Publications Ltd.]

Zhang, X. & Zhong, Z.-J. (2020). Extending media system dependency theory to informational media use and environmentalism: A cross-national study. Telematics & Informatics. Online first. doi: 10.1016/j.tele.2020.101378. [Q1 (top 12%) in SSCI – Information Science and Library Science, 2019 JCR IF = 4.139, Elsevier.]

Zhang, X. & Ho, J. C. F. (2020). Exploring the fragmentation of the representation of data-driven journalism in the Twittersphere: A network analytics approach. Social Science Computer Review. Online first. doi: 10.1177/0894439320905522. [Q1 (top 13%) in SSCI - Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, 2019 JCR IF = 2.696, Sage Publications Ltd.]

Zhang, X. (2019). Effects of freedom restoration, language variety, and issue type on psychological reactance. Health Communication. Online first. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2019.1631565. (Q2 in SSCI - Communication, 2018 JCR IF = 1.846, Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd.)

Zhang, X. & Lin, W.-Y. (2018). Stoking the fires of participation: Extending the Gamson hypothesis on social media use and elite-challenging political engagement. Computers in Human Behavior, 79, 217-226. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.10.036. [Q1 (top 12%) in SSCI – Psychology (multidisciplinary), 2017 JCR IF = 3.536, Elsevier.]


External Grants

3. 2021 – 2022. Principal Investigator (PI), Public Policy Research Funding Scheme (PPR) from the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office (PICO) of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong Media’s Coverage of Political Polarization and its Effects on People’s Political Attitudes and Behaviors. [356,972 HKD]. (Completed). Link to the final report on the PICO database.

2. 2020 – 2022. Principal Investigator (PI), with Dr. Tai-quan Peng (Michigan State University, the US), Dr. Qinfeng Zhu (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), Dr. Li Chen (Hong Kong Baptist University), and Dr. Nancy Guo (Hong Kong Polytechnic University). General Research Fund (GRF), the Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong SAR. Why Fact-Checking Fails? Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Corrective Messages Countering Misinformation on Social Media: A Comparison of Hong Kong, the United States, and the Netherlands. [408,256 HKD]. (Completed). Link to the project information page at the RGC database.

1. 2019 – 2021. Principal Investigator (PI), with Prof William H. Dutton (University of Oxford), Dr. Wan-Ying Lin (City University of Hong Kong). General Research Fund (GRF), the Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong SAR. The Making and Unmaking of the Public Sphere: Outcomes of Political Disagreement, Expression Avoidance, and a Filtered Information Repertoire. [445,520 HKD] (Completed). Link to the project information page at the RGC database.


May 2021. School/Faculty Performance Award of Teaching, the President’s Award Scheme, Hong Kong Baptist University (2022)
- Awarded by the Hong Kong Baptist University

May 2020. School/Faculty Performance Award as Young Researcher, the President’s Award Scheme, Hong Kong Baptist University (2021)
- Awarded by the Hong Kong Baptist University

Nov 2018. Distinguished Alumni Award (2008 – 2018)
- Awarded at the 10th Anniversary of the Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong.

May 2013. McCombs Shaw Best Student Paper Award
- Awarded by Political Communication Interest Group, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Sep 2012. Outstanding Academic Performance Award
- Awarded by Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies, City University of Hong Kong.