Balanced, fair, accurate, current, extensive coverage and reliable – are the values that we expect from our media. So why aren’t these values being placed on global news stories?
Whilst many would argue that global stories do encapsulate these values, when you look a little deeper, or research elsewhere, you will be shocked to find how little the mainstream media covers on global issues and the myriad of information that new media holds.
Traditional media look at the story’s cultural proximity and the rarity of the event or issue as being the major determinants when deciding on what stories to run and the extent of which it will be covered. Peter Lee-Wright accurately says that “globalisation has produced a countervailing ‘domestication’ of stories, where the international has to be filtered through domestic sensibilities and interests” (Lee-Wright 2012, p. 2). He also states that “American audiences are traditionally uninterested in and poorly informed on foreign affairs” (Lee-Wright 2012, p.6) and sadly so is much of the world because of this domestication of global stories.
One of the reasons why it is increasingly harder to find media that covers global stories is because it is hard to find any story that is not tainted by their “paymasters’ interest” (Lee-Wright 2012, p.15). By this I mean that we only ever see a limited side of the event/issue but only if it fits with the editorial team’s ideals. Jeff Chester accurately states about Rupert Murdoch’s press that he and others alike, “shape the content, especially news, that furthers his interests and those of his allies” (Jeff Chester on Rupert Murdoch video). We only ever see the condensed, semi-accurate version of events and this is not fair to those who only consume on form of media.
This is where social media is such a huge platform for audiences who want fast, current, on the ground content. Whilst there are issues such as no editorial filtering on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, they do, “supply the news [we] want” (Lee-Wright 2012, 15-16) when and where we want it. Whilst it is harder for traditional media to “stay on a story beyond its audience’s attention span” (Lee-Wright 2012, p.1) or keep financing the one story, social media and blogs help to fill this gaping gap and “easily serve this fluidity” (Lee-Wright 2012, p. 15-16) of information.
Christopher Allbritton managed to bridge the gap between traditional and new when in 2003, his blog readers raised $15,000 to fund his trip to Iraq in 2003. When he felt as if there was unfair balance in what the public watch, read, heard and consumed, he set off to Iraq to find the stories that the “bigger guys can’t” (Amsden 2004). It is people like Christopher and sites such as Global Voices that are enabling a different voice, opinion and view to be heard and understood, away from the “paymasters’ interest” (Lee-Wright 2012, p.15).
We keep a naïve mind about the world simply because we are only informed to a certain point. But it is important to consume media that is not mainstream such as Al Jazeera, the blog Global Voices, CNN International so we can gain a diverse, different view on the world and its issues and events. We are lazy to a point but should it really be that hard to find balanced, accurate, current, extensive media regarding global issues?
Lee-Wright, P (2012) ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’ JOMEC Journal: Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
Amsden, D (2004) ‘Into the Fire’, New York Magazine, http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/9194/