Is the Globalisation of News Truly Global?
Every twenty-four hours, 230 stories and videos are produced by the New York Times, 240 are published by the Wall Street Journal, and a stunning number of 500 are circulated by the Washington Post (Meyer 2016).
Incredible, isn’t it?
Now spend five minutes watching this viral TED Talk, How the news distorts our worldview, then take a closer look at this extracted frame from it.
The talk was delivered by Alisa Miller – the CEO of Public Radio International – in 2008, hence the date of the data. Nevertheless, the imbalance illustrated is still a current issue in the global news media. As O’Shaughnessy and Stadler (2008, p. 459) suggested, in “the global village” – a term coined by Marshall McLuhan – humanity is ideally brought closer together as communication and media become globalised. Reality turns out to be miles from that vision, the focal quality of the aforementioned incredible quantity of news articles being questioned as to whether it is truly global.
The map below offers some interesting insights about the countries dominating worldwide headlines in international affairs since 1979 and the significance of the links between these countries, among which stands out the United States as a “core geographical focal point”, followed by Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Russia (Friedman 2013).
Source: The Atlantic
According to the following pie charts, the world media’s focus is markedly inclined towards North America and Asia, in sharp contrast to the virtual negligence to Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America (Friedman 2013).
Source: The Atlantic
Supposedly, “the mass media play an important role in informing people and generating discussion about events and issues worldwide”, and “global communication and global perspective mean that we can see what is happening across the globe” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2008, p. 461). Ironically, it has been shown that the majority of global news created by North Americans “don’t put things into a context that people can understand their connection to it” (Miller 2008).
A shift in perspective is all it takes to see how biased media consumers have been about the world, and despite being a result of the distribution of geopolitical power and reader demand (Friedman 2013), these apparent biases are a wake-up call for true news globalisation.
Still think you know as well as you think you do about the world? Think again.
- Friedman, U 2013, ‘How Three Decades of News Coverage Has Shaped Our View of the World’, The Atlantic, 19 November, viewed 17 August 2016, <http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/11/how-three-decades-of-news-coverage-has-shaped-our-view-of-the-world/281613/>.
- Meyer, R 2016, ‘How Many Stories Do Newspapers Publish Per Day?’, The Atlantic, 26 May, viewed 17 August 2016, <http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/05/how-many-stories-do-newspapers-publish-per-day/483845/>.
- Miller, A 2008, How the news distorts our worldview, online video, March, TED, viewed 17 August 2016, <https://www.ted.com/talks/alisa_miller_shares_the_news_about_the_news?language=en#t-16296>.
- O’Shaughnessy, M & Stadler, J 2008, Media and Society (fifth edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford.