International News Flow Online

Global Views with Local Perspectives

by Elad Segev (Author)
©2016 Textbook 204 Pages


Why are some countries more newsworthy than others? What are the similarities and differences in the scope of international news presented in different languages and cultures? How does international news affect our perception of the world? In this book, Elad Segev explores international news flow on the internet by addressing these key questions.
Segev provides a comparative analysis of the international scope of online newspapers, news portals, and news aggregators in different languages and cultures, using innovative web mining techniques and network analysis. This book explores the theory of news flow around the world, and analyses many of its dimensions such as the global standing of the United States, the Middle Eastern conflicts as seen around the world, and, the effect of financial news. In doing so, the book unveils new patterns, meanings and implications of international news on our perception of the world.
Following these insights, the author discusses the opportunities and challenges of studying international news flow online in the future, and how this field of research can be further developed theoretically and empirically.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part I: International News-Flow Theory
  • Chapter 1. International News Flow: From Theory to Practice
  • Chapter 2. International News Flow Online
  • Chapter 3. The Economic Newsworthiness of Countries
  • Part II: Similarities and Differences in Practice
  • Chapter 4. International News Is American
  • Chapter 5. Global and Regional Trends in News Prominence
  • Chapter 6. Many Local Views
  • Chapter 7. A Local Outlook on a Global Conflict
  • Part III: International News Influence
  • Chapter 8. Short-Term Effect: Agenda Setting and the News-Memory Nexus
  • Chapter 9. Long-Term Effect: News, Global Views, and Soft Power
  • Part IV: Localizing the Globalized World News
  • Chapter 10. International News Flow: Summary and Conclusion
  • References
  • Index
  • Series index

← viii | ix →


I would like to convey my gratitude and appreciation to my academic father, Menahem Blondheim from the Hebrew University. Apart from his tremendous involvement in many of the studies presented here, Menahem was always excited about the analytical power of mining of online news, and helped me along the way to understand the deeper and broader theoretical implications of this work. He provided me together with the Lady Davis Fellowship the ground for developing the software and conducting the early studies in 2008. Since then, the collaboration with Menahem yielded many publications, some of which were included with his kind permission in this book.

Endless thanks to Regula Miesch my beloved wife for her thorough and amazingly professional work on our sentiment analysis study as well as on other studies included in this book. As a professional terminologist she was also responsible for the construction of the dictionaries and the lists of country names and keywords in all languages. This was the basis of all the analyses presented in this book. Her research qualities are admirable and her patience and support throughout this project are immense.

Many thanks also to Thomas Hills, who came up with the idea to study the link between memory and news in relation to foreign countries. Chapter eight presents with his kind permission the results of our common study on ← ix | x → this subject. Thanks also to Maria Angeles-Cabrera, who thought of studying the economic crisis in Spain. With the approval of Maria and Menahem Blondheim, chapter three reports the result of our study on the nature of international news during economic crisis.

A special thank to Akiba Cohen, who read and commented on the book proposal. His insights helped greatly to improve the structure and flow of the book. Many thanks also to Elihu Katz, Tamar Libes, and Yonatan Fialkoff from the Hebrew University, who together with Menahem Blondheim formed a working group to study the trends of country mentions in the news. Chapter five is dedicated to all of you with love.

The studies on the news sentiments and the news-memory nexus presented in chapters seven and eight were partly funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. I would like to convey my gratitude for this generous support. I would also like to acknowledge the coordination of Cornelia Bohn and the assistance of Monika Sy, Alexandra Kratzer, Daniel Arold, and Viola Müller from Lucerne University, who facilitated an excellent research environment. Many thanks also to Ursula Fähndrich, Cyrill Hess, Giorgia Corti Cavapozzi, and Ursula Peter, who read, evaluated, and analyzed samples of news items in different languages, contributing to the development of a stable sentiment analysis procedure. Similarly, thanks to Charonne Kang, Lars Vogtmann Sørensen, Yunhua Zhai, and Masako Yamaguchi, who helped to build the multilingual databases. Thank also to Wei Huang, Margarita Garshina, Hamid Zargari, Sarah Turowski, and Tim Pleskac for translating and disseminating the questionnaire on news and memory.

Finally, I would like to thank the series editor at Peter Lang Publishing, Lee Becker, for his insightful comments and suggestions, and Mary Savigar, Sophie Appel, and Bernadette Shade who guided and supported me throughout the book production. Earlier versions of some studies presented in the book were published in academic journals. I would like to thank the editors and anonymous peer-reviewers of the International Journal of Communication, the International Communication Gazette, Journalism, the International Journal of Internet Studies, Journalism Studies, and Political Communication, for their detailed and thoughtful comments and ideas to improve the manuscripts. With each of their constructive suggestions another aspect of the international news study has developed further. This book attempts to summarize and provide a comprehensive picture of the field of international news from all the aspects and angles that were studied along the years.

← x | 1 →


“Newspapers necessarily and inevitably reflect, and therefore, in greater or lesser measure, intensify, the defective organization of public opinion.”

(Lippmann, 1922, p. 33)

One of the major ways for people to learn about the world surrounding them is by following the news. News about US influence and involvement in international conflicts or the rise of Islamic power conquer headlines not only in the respective countries, but also in most media channels around the world. Indeed, not all people follow the news directly. Some may get their news from their peers and social networks, while others would prefer to remain uninformed. Still, the opinions and images of foreign countries are mainly shaped today by international news. This is because the opportunities to travel and meet foreigners are rather limited, while information travels much more effectively and rapidly through media hubs and gatekeepers. Moreover, studies and experiments over the years revealed that people rely on news stories rather than their own knowledge when making judgments about foreign countries (Brewer, Graf, & Willnat, 2003; Perry, 1985; Smith, 1973; Wanta, Golan, & Lee, 2004; Shoemaker, Cohen, Seo, & Johnson., 2012). ← 1 | 2 →

As the quote above from Lippmann’s (1922) Public Opinion implies, international news not only reflects, but also is able to construct and shape our perceptions of the world. Much before the outbreak of the WWII, Lippmann warned us that this is a “defective organization of public opinion”, which is shaped by top-down agendas and frames, but should be more free and critical to the news. Almost a century later, his normative assertion seems to be as valid. This book is dedicated exactly to study how the world is represented in international news from around the world, and how it affects people’s perception. Unlike most previous studies, it focuses mainly on the Internet, which is rapidly becoming a dominant source for news consumption. It aims at providing a comparative analysis of the international scope of news sites, including online newspapers, news portals, and news aggregators, in different languages and cultures. The book also employs and discusses some innovative web-mining techniques and network analysis that facilitate this comprehensive and systematic comparison between countries. In doing so, it seeks to unveil the patterns, meanings, and implications of international news on our perception of the world.

Several chapters in this book present the research and findings of my previous studies along the years, some of which were conducted with my colleagues Menahem Blondheim, Thomas Hills, Regula Miesch, and Maria-Angeles Cabrera. These studies focus on specific perspectives of international news such as the theory of news flow, the news coverage of the US and the Middle East around the world, financial news, and the world as perceived by newsreaders. This volume integrates some of the valuable insights from these studies, but also adds new complementary studies and perspectives in order to provide a broad understanding of the field.

Studying International News: Approaches and Opportunities

There is no doubt that news is everywhere and many people around the world consume news regularly from various media channels. A survey conducted in the UK (Ofcom, 2014) showed that the vast majority of adults (95%) follow the news regularly. Cross-national comparative studies such as the one conducted by the BBC (2013) in nine countries supports this trend, as about 85% of the people around the world acknowledged the importance of international news. It was also found that television is still the dominant source for news consumption followed by the Internet (through computers and smartphones). ← 2 | 3 → Yet, although television remained an important source for news, the Internet has displayed a sharp rise in the last decades. A report of Pew Research Center indicates (Caumont, 2013) that 50% of the Americans use the Internet rather than newspapers or radio as the main source for national and international news. This trend is particularly prevalent among youngsters, who actually prefer reading news online rather than watching news on television.


ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2016 (February)
Online Media Virality News
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 204 pp.

Biographical notes

Elad Segev (Author)

Elad Segev (PhD, Keele University) is senior lecturer in media and communications at the Department of Communication, Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Google and the Digital Divide (2010), and has published his research in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journalism, Political Communication, International Communication Gazette, and the International Journal of Communication, among others.


Title: International News Flow Online
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