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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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13 Linking Content and Audiences: Topics in the News Knut De Swert & Akiba A. Cohen




In the previous chapters we provided information based on the content analysis and the surveys. In the chapters in this section, we attempt to link some of the content and survey findings using two sets of select variables. In this chapter we do this for the main topics in the news as determined by the content analysis and by what the respondents stated about their interest in the topics. In the next chapter we will do this regarding the countries of location of the news events based on the content analysis, and the countries of interest as reported by the respondents.

In other words, in these two chapters we wish to determine whether the topics in the news correspond with the audiences’ stated interest. Are people interested in the foreign news that is provided to them? Alternatively, do people get to see the news they are interested in? Moreover, as we have done throughout the book, we examine whether or not there are overall differences between domestic and foreign news or whether such differences, if they exist, are country-specific. Finally, by way of regression analysis, we look into individual-level factors of the audience members that drive the correspondence between news content and audience interest.

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