Through a case study on the news flow of an online protest in China, this study explores how the power relations among the mainstream media affect, and are affected by, the spillover effect of news. Even though the Internet does serve as a catalyst to initiate alternative voices that otherwise wouldn't be heard in the established media, the results reveal that the power structure inherent in the mainstream media (particularly within their online versions) such as bureaucratic ranks and institutional ties with party organs, plays a significant role in shaping the trajectory of news flow and media framing strategies. The Internet compensates for the disadvantage of the lower-level media that are short of political resources, while the higher-level media tend to rely on the political capital to exercise their influence. At the same time, the media with more political resources have become increasingly intrepid in challenging the state. Such a dynamic takes place in the context of the changing state-media relations that have seen the authoritarian state shift its information control from a totalitarian mode to a practical one, even though the latter may open up a space for flow of information that can sometimes undermine state power.