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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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11 Gatekeepers on Decision-Making in Foreign News Constanza Mujica & Thomas Hanitzsch




The question of how journalists and news organizations select and process the innumerable events of a given day and squeeze them into a limited number of messages that fit into a newspaper, a newscast, or a more spacious Internet news site, has a long tradition going back to the seminal studies by Lewin (1947) and White (1950). These and subsequent studies tried to analyze not only which news events were selected and processed, but also who selected them and why, what personal traits, organizational processes and routines, political and economic limitations, and cultural considerations affected the shape of the news and thus the “cognitive maps” audiences have about the world (Shoemaker & Vos, 2009).

The investigation of these factors has attracted many researchers throughout the world and ultimately generated a wealth of theories and empirical evidence (see, for example, Berkowitz, Limor, & Singer, 2004; Flegel & Chaffee, 1971; Hanitzsch et al., 2010; McQuail, 2000; Preston, 2009; Shoemaker & Reese, 1996; and Voakes, 1997). The state of research arguably converges toward a structure consisting of five major domains of influence:

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