Studies on public organization reform have convincingly demonstrated the relevance of media salience for administrative reorganization. However, an understanding of how different media reputation dimensions influence government decisions to terminate administrative agencies is required. This study combined insights from bureaucratic reputation and agency termination theories to determine if media reputation dimensions (performative, moral, procedural, and technical) increase the probability of agency survival. These findings were based on advanced machine learning coding of 4,95,384 articles on 449 central agencies in China published in the People’s Daily from 1949 to 2019. Event history analyses and piecewise constant exponential models revealed that media salience significantly and negatively influenced agency termination probability. The procedural dimension consistently mitigated agency termination risk, and the moral and performative dimensions only periodically mitigated agency termination risk. The findings suggested that the appearance in the media and specific reputation dimensions were critical for agency survival. In addition, agencies should strategically manage their media reputation to meet the expectations of multifaceted audiences and decrease the risk of agency termination.