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Foreign News on Television

Where in the World Is the Global Village?

Edited By Akiba Cohen

Spanning several years of research, this book compares and contrasts how public and commercial TV stations present foreign, domestic, and hybrid news from a number of different countries. It examines what viewers of television news think about foreign news, their interest in it, and what sense they make of it. The book also assesses what the gatekeepers of foreign news – journalists, producers, and editors – think about what they produce, and about their viewers.
This book shows that while globalization is a dominant force in society, and though news can be instantaneously broadcast internationally, there is relatively little commonality throughout the world in the depiction of events occurring in other countries. Thus, contrary to McLuhan’s famous but untested notion of the «global village», television news in the countries discussed in this book actually presents more variability than similarity.
The research gathered here is based on a quantitative content analysis of over 17,000 news items and analysis of over 10,000 survey respondents. Seventeen countries are included in this research, offering a rich comparative perspective on the topic.
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9 Interest in Foreign News Thomas Hanitzsch, Abby Goodrum, Thorsten Quandt, & Thilo von Pape




Foreign news on television delivers us the world “outside”; it feeds us with pictures of a world that often lies far beyond the realm of our direct experience (Brewer, Graf, & Willnat, 2003; Ihlen et al., 2010; Perry, 1985; Riegert, 2011; Wanta, Golan, & Lee, 2004). By way of reporting events and occurrences abroad, foreign news contributes to the cultivation of “a sense of belonging in the world,” argues the anthropologist Ulf Hannerz (2004, p. 34). The primary importance of foreign news, however, lies in its power to shape our thinking as well as our understanding of other countries and cultures (Ihlen et al., 2010; Shoemaker et al., 2012; Willnat & Weaver, 2003). Large-scale public opinion surveys have shown that foreign and international news can substantially affect the audience’s knowledge, perception, and attitude toward other nations (Perry, 1990; Salwen & Matera, 1992). It is exactly for this reason that foreign news is “a prime example of an area where most of us are reliant on what the media report” (Ihlen et al., 2010, p. 31). Indeed, evidence from a large number of empirical studies suggests that greater news exposure and attention to foreign news are associated with increases in knowledge about foreign affairs, international political knowledge, and international engagement (Beaudoin, 2004; Korzenny, del Toro, & Gaudino, 1987; Kwak, Poor, & Skoric, 2006; McNelly & Izcaray, 1986; Perry, 1990; Robinson, 1967; Semetko, Brzinski,...

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