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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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Preface

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AKIBA A. COHEN



This book is about foreign news on television. It describes a multinational research project that was conducted in several stages from 2008 to 2011. It deals with the way decisions are made regarding what news about other countries should be presented to domestic (home) viewers. It analyzes the nature and content of such news in a variety of countries. It examines what viewers of television news think about foreign news, their interest in it, and what sense they make of it. And it looks into what gatekeepers of foreign news—journalists, producers, and editors—think about the content they produce and about their viewers. This comparative study does all this in two ways: first, across 17 countries around the globe; second, by comparing foreign news with domestic news as well as hybrid news—foreign news that is relevant to the country of broadcast and domestic news that is related to other countries.

In June 1988, nearly a quarter century ago, a small conference took place in Jerusalem with a score of invited scholars from Europe, the United States, and Israel, all of whom were then engaged in research on television news. At the conclusion of that meeting, the participants drafted a proposed research agenda that later appeared in the American Behavioral Scientist under the title “Where Did We Come From and Where Are We Going? Some Future Directions in Television News Research” (Cohen & Bantz, 1989). The basic idea behind that...

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