World news limited for US citizens

By Erica Jones

Due to the high cost of international news coverage, Americans today are struggling to receive world news on a regular and in-depth basis, despite the fact that it is in high demand.

TED speaker, Ethan Zuckerman says, “The world is, in fact, getting more global. It’s getting more connected. More of problems are global in scale. More of our economics is global in scale. And our media is less global by the day. If you watched a television broadcast in the United States in the 1970s, 35 to 40 percent of it would have been international news on a nightly news broadcast. That’s down to about 12 to 15 percent. And this tends to give us a very distorted view of the world.”

This isn’t for lack of interest. According to TED speaker, Alisa Miller, in the past 20 years, American interest in world news has increased from 37 percent to 52 percent, yet the media fails to address this interest.

“News networks have reduced the number of their foreign bureaus by half,” Miller says, which is why it is harder these days for Americans to find global coverage. It is cheaper for news corporations to report from the US about the US.

There are ways to solve this problem. “Media and Journalism: Covering World News” author, Martin Conboy and his colleagues say, “First, we can tell different stories about the places that are prone to reduction,” which means taking new angles when reporting on countries that are typically reduced by simple, often incorrect assumptions. “Second, we can find ways to invest in journalism.” Companies must choose methods that generate enough income to be profitable, while still covering world news.

America seems to be the obvious start for tackling this problem, but Zuckerman says, “ … the interesting problems to solve are global in scale and scope, they require global conversations to get to global solutions.”

With that in mind, he founded an organization called Global Voices, which translates world news in 35 languages, so that everyone has access to reports that come from other nations. This resource is just a start to solving the American news problem.


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