The changing landscape of international news coverage

This year’s events have driven a renewed interested in international news on television. This New York Times piece looks at that change, as viewing levels are the highest this year since September 11, 2001. Otherwise, the trend has been downward across the last decade.

As we talk about global news and changes, consider our domestic workplace for coverage of such news. In 2000 there were  282 foreign correspondents working for American newspapers. Now, there are only around 200, roughly one foreign correspondent for every 1.3 million Americans. Most networks have drastically cut the number of foreign correspondents. What do you think drives such change? Look at “Who Covers What” to get an idea of where foreign correspondents work today. For an interesting and in-depth article on the international reporting scene today, read this American Journalism Review piece, “Retreating from the World,” and an accompanying article on “Shrinking News Coverage.”

What do we know, and do we care? A Pew Research Study (2007, latest available) finds that digital technologies have not advanced our knowledge of international events. Another interesting read, in Newsweek via “The Daily Beast,”  is interesting for what it tells us about our collective knowledge of world leaders and events. You can take the quiz in “How Dumb Are We?” and see how respondents answered.

But this last week, August 22-28, the events in Libya led the news for the first part of the week. Note, however, that domestic events (Hurricane Irene and the East-Coast earthquake) led the news for the latter part of the week.

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About janpatricequarles

MTSU Professor of Mass Communication
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