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Global News

Reporting Conflicts and Cosmopolitanism


Alexa Robertson

Global News explores how media representation is conceived and enacted in a world of diversity and transborder flows. Among the ‘new media’ crowding the global mediascape are influential television outlets that promise viewers alternative vantage points to those of established Western broadcasters. The different worlds depicted by Al Jazeera English and Russia Today are compared with those of CNN International and BBC World. At a time when media organizations are slashing their budgets for international reporting, these channels represent a spectrum of financing solutions and relations to political power, being variously privately-, publicly-, or state-owned, backed by corporations, democratic states, authoritarian regimes, and ruling dynasties. Despite their differences, however, they have much in common. Their journalists espouse the universal values of professionalism and objectivity and speak to their global audiences in English. This book explores the different theoretical worlds of global media studies, takes a rare look at content, has a comparative perspective, and moves beyond the conflict frame that has dominated much of the literature in the field.


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First things first: the research reported in this book was made possible thanks to funding by the Swedish Research Council (grant number 421–2009– 1698/90169801). I am grateful to the journalists and news executives at AJE Doha, London and Washington and at RT in Moscow who took the time to explain their work and open the doors to their workplaces. I am indebted to Kristina Riegert for conducting the Doha interviews, to Tine Figenschou for advice about how to go about doing so, and to Clarie Åkesson for helping to transcribe them. Paul Levin transcribed the RT interview that features in Chapter 2, and was an enthusiastic discussion partner in the planning stages of the empirical study. A special vote of thanks to Leone Serrander, with whom I have spent many an hour shoulder-to-shoulder, coding endless news broadcasts, and who helped with the research that went into the first set of empirical analyses re- ported in Chapter 3. Working with Leone made drudgery rather fun, and the quality and reliability of the results were improved by her diligence. I some- times wonder whether she was sent to me by the patron saint of university lecturers who try to combine teaching and research (whom I suspect is Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes). I am also grateful for the work of Erik Jönsson who, upon being asked whether he really knew what he was getting xii global news: reporting conflicts and cosmopolitanism into (given that coding hundreds of...

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