Thursday 2 December 2010

International Reporting

Western media organisations are very much active on a global scale, with western countries being the most powerful countries in the world in many different aspects, media just being one example. As America and the UK do have the most power and influence in worldwide media they will often cater to western media values and ideologies.

Richer cliental such as Japan for instance, would be included in many media mediums and even make headlines in some newspapers – whereas a story out that same day, even of more importance but from a seconds or third world country would be ignored as they have less marginal concern.
The age-old saying goes – “Who pays the piper calls the tune!”
Power and money have the biggest influences here.

Global news agencies

Three types:
• The British – Reuters (Primarily a private company, now deriving most of its considerable wealth, income and profits from its financial services)
• The American agency – AP ( also running a strong financial service – primarily remains a media cooperative)
• The French AFP – thrived for a long time on generous government subscriptions but increasingly it is trying to shift its emphasis to media clients

This in turn means that there is not equal representation of world news. With the west of the world being more privileged in many aspects journalists will often stay in London, New York e.t.c.
Poorer countries would struggle to have foreign correspondents as this is very expensive – so in a way poorer areas of the world will rely on western countries to provide their news and also giving the more western countries the power to represent them. This does have its negative factors as western countries such as the UK or USA can be quite stereotypical with what they report, some of their reporting becomes quite predictable. Major news companies will have correspondents all across the world in about 100 different foreign countries, but for the major quality newspapers they will only have about 20-50 maximum. Correspondent’s in main cities.

Bigger scale events in less developed countries will almost always be underreported when up against anything of readership gold dust in more developed countries - simply because of money and power and again what audiences in places like the UK and USA are expecting to get out of their daily newspaper.

Not even a hundred words on a bomb that killed to Afghanis including three children.
However as we would expect to see from tabloid newspaper, X factor makes the front page followed by lots of follow up articles about the people that are in x factor in the following pages.
Here is an example showing that even though the people killed in Afghanistan maybe be of more importance it is very much underreported by western countries for two main reasons – we expect this kind of thing to happen in these countries and also when buying our tabloid newspaper we expect and want to see x factor or I’m a celebrity splashed across the front page.

Quite often (tabloid newspapers mainly), will leave out background information about the country and just include a few basic facts about one particular story – again just leaving people with a very stereotypical view of the outside world.

This results in less/few journalists being around the rest of the world to report what’s going on, therefore a lot of news goes unreported.

Rule of thumb

• Less than a third of USA correspondents are stationed in North America
• More than a third in western Europe
• Roughly a third covering the entire rest of the world (Eastern Europe, Africa Latin America e.t.c)

A more recent example of predictability would be the newly married couple in South Africa. The women was murdered – again this is a predictable story for South Africa as it’s known for having some of the largest crime rates in the world. This will also reinforce the stereotypical views from western parts of the world, as this is what western audiences would “expect to see”.

26 people die of aids in New Zealand – this would be a massive story worldwide maybe even making some front page news – however the exact same story happening in Africa – would probably, well most likely not even get reported at all because as bad as it may sound people expect to hear this coming from this country.

Many places get mentioned frequently in the media just because of its historical values, we could also say its predictability value as well. Japan is a good example here; Japan is often in the news because of their developed technology.

Oliver Boyd- Barretts’s study of the international news agencies (1980: 152-3) identified a number of interrelated factors which help explain differences in the strength of agency representation in different countries:
• Historical referencing (Influence of old agency cartel practices)
• Logistical (referring to the differences between countries in their importance as possible strategic or communication centres for coverage of wider geographic regions)
• Political factors (arising from controls or restrictions imposed by given countries on visiting correspondents)
• Commercial or cost revenue – seen as one of the more important factors – (differences in market pull within different areas of the world & differences in responsiveness of the agencies to the news requirements of different markets)

Historical places often follow a certain agenda. This means that some news will be over reported leaving others under reported. For example a new touch screen device gets brought out in Japan would make big headlines in the more western, more developed countries (mainly because we would probably be next to get the devices), compared to 1000 African students get new I phones.

News will always cater primarily to the home nation of one audience. News values are often a big issue here. For example the UK and the USA are very culturally similar – both English speaking countries, therefore this will mean that there will be more reporters in countries like these to allow maximum news coverage. This also applies to countries such as New Zealand and Australia. Proximity is a major news value here – having a high geographical connection.
The balance will vary from country to country but all media will have a range of potential sources of income. This may be in forms of government contribution, sales to audiences and obviously advertising. With government contributions this can cause some problems, as they expect there ideologies put in the medium this is however slowly changing as many mediums are starting to focus on getting their income strictly just through says as to contributions.
Certain adverting can say a lot about the media it is representing and more importantly the audience that it attracts. For example an advert for ASDA in The Mirror would represent a working class audience – for cheap meals, toys for Christmas e.t.c whereas The Guardian will have adverts for a classical CD, were most middle-upper class people would be interested in this product.

To conclude I have found whilst researching for this presentation that poorer countries do seem to miss out and in a lot of ways go unnoticed/unreported. It also seems that if you are not in a good financial place within world media not only will you countries be underreported but the countries will also find themselves with very stereotypical stories in western media as when they are reported – as said about Mexico in the news – it will often be about the same issues therefore consumers in first world countries will developed a certain option about that particular countries. It is very unfair – however journalists will tend to stick to a certain agenda Oliver Boyd examines. With journalist’s sticking to particular agendas – this may vary depending on what news corporation they work for – this often leads to very predictable news. Consumers will get use to and in some cases expect to see certain stories coming from any particular country. As said before Mexico for example we would relate through no fault of our – to drugs and crime, Asian countries for their conflict over religion. As this is what is constantly injected into our media.

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