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Global News

Reporting Conflicts and Cosmopolitanism

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Alexa Robertson

Global News explores how media representation is conceived and enacted in a world of diversity and transborder flows. Among the ‘new media’ crowding the global mediascape are influential television outlets that promise viewers alternative vantage points to those of established Western broadcasters. The different worlds depicted by Al Jazeera English and Russia Today are compared with those of CNN International and BBC World. At a time when media organizations are slashing their budgets for international reporting, these channels represent a spectrum of financing solutions and relations to political power, being variously privately-, publicly-, or state-owned, backed by corporations, democratic states, authoritarian regimes, and ruling dynasties. Despite their differences, however, they have much in common. Their journalists espouse the universal values of professionalism and objectivity and speak to their global audiences in English. This book explores the different theoretical worlds of global media studies, takes a rare look at content, has a comparative perspective, and moves beyond the conflict frame that has dominated much of the literature in the field.
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Chapter 6. A World of Difference

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← 108 | 109 → ·6·

A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE

Atlas Shrugged, which opened Chapter 3, was the product of the upheavals of the early 20th century. The stories explored in this book are the product of newsrooms located on different pages of the atlas, and upheavals of the early 21st century. They emanate from a communicative space that straddles the boundary between conflict and cosmopolitanism and speak of a different place as well as a different time.

Two decades before Rand’s novel was published, the English playwright and social commenter J.B. Priestley made a documentary entitled We Live in Two Worlds. In writing of cosmopolitanism and the media, Tomlinson found himself revisiting the film and thinking about the contrast between ‘the old world order of international divisions and political hostilities’ and ‘what Priestley regarded as an emerging world of internationalism and cosmopolitan progress’ (Tomlinson 2011: 349–50). In Tomlinson’s reading, ‘the film constructs the positive idea of internationalism via a contrast with the “negative other”—the “narrow national world of angry borders”’ (Tomlinson 2011: 351). A decade-and-a-half into the new millennium, it is clear that Priestley’s emerging world has not replaced the old order, and that we continue to live in two worlds, both the real world in which desperate migrants drown when trying to reach the shores of Europe in overcrowded boats and the Swedish navy ← 109 | 110 → hunts Russian submarines on the Stockholm waterfront, and the imaginative worlds constituted by media reports of...

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