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Foreign News on Television

Where in the World Is the Global Village?

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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10 Countries of Interest Thilo von Pape, Thorsten Quandt, Thomas Hanitzsch, & Jacques Alkalai Wainberg




Empirical research regarding news geography has focused mainly on content (Golan, 2010), journalistic selection, and construction among professionals (Chang & Lee, 1992). References to the audience serve mostly as distant reminders of the field’s normative importance. Journalists are expected to provide the public with valid representations of a wide spectrum of world events and to arouse interest and understanding for other nations and cultures. However, little is known about how interested the public actually is in foreign news from various parts of the world. Although the general consensus among practitioners seems to be that foreign news appears difficult to “sell”—especially with regard to countries and regions that are distant from the average viewer’s everyday interests and occupations (Balinska, 2010; Hess, 1996b)—these observations lack a robust empirical basis. This chapter aims to fill this gap with insights derived from our project’s representative survey data.

We first provide an overview of the number and diversity of the countries of interest to respondents overall—in other words, across the different country samples. In order to identify patterns at the nation-specific level, this picture of the overall structure of the countries’ interests will then be refined by comparing the structure of the interests among the various sample countries. The following sections of this chapter describe and explain the amount of interest that was found in the specific countries—that is, which...

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