Using a sample of Chinese family firms during the period of 2004–2010, we examine the influence of media coverage on corporate philanthropic giving and the moderating role of family ownership. Specifically, we document that media coverage is significantly positively associated with corporate philanthropic giving, suggesting that media coverage as an informal system plays an important role in motivating Chinese family firms to establish business ethics, shape socially responsible images, and enhance corporate philanthropy. Moreover, family ownership attenuates the positive association between media coverage and corporate philanthropic giving. Our findings are robust to a variety of sensitivity tests and are still valid after controlling for the potential endogeneity between media coverage and corporate philanthropy. Our study is one of few studies to investigate the impact of media coverage on corporate philanthropic giving in an emerging market.