Global news, national news Sigurd Allern

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Global news, national news

  • Sigurd Allern

Globalisation, an old phenomena

  • Global capitalism, colonialism and imperialism: 1850-1945

  • The invention of the telegraph

  • The international news agencies

  • The rise of Hollywood influence

  • Shortwave radio

The old debate: media imperialism

  • The ’free flow of information’ assist the American media industry to achieve international dominion

  • ”Today the United States exercises mastery of global communication and culture” (Herbert Schiller 1998)

  • A small number of transnational media corporations, mostly owned or based in the US, have emerged as dominant in the expanded media export market (McChesney 1998)


  • Global flows of information are multidirectional (Sreberny-Mohammed 1996).

  • “Reverse colonialsation” (Giddens 1999)

  • Many regional centres.

  • Cultural resistance

Definitions of globalisation (1)

  • The concept of globalization implies, first and foremost, a stretching of social, political and economic activities across frontiers such that events, decisions and activities in one region of the world can come to have significance for individuals and communities in distant regions of the globe. In this sense, it embodies transregional interconnectedness, the widening reach of networks of social activity and power, and the possibility of action at a distance”.

  • David Held et al.: “Global Transformations. Politics, Economics and Culture”.

Definitions of globalisation (2)

  • ”Globalisation today is only partly westernisation. Globalisation is becoming increasingly decentred – not under the control of any group of nations, still less of the large corporations. Its effects are felt as much in Western countries as elsewhere” (Anthony Giddens, Observer, April 11 1999)

  • A social process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural arrangements recede and i which people come increasingly aware that they are receding”.

  • Malcolm Water: Globalization, 2001.

Global communication

  • ”..the transnational communication system…offers opportunities of news forms of bonding and solidarity, new ways of forging international communities” (Ien Ang,1990)

  • Globalization is promoting ethnic, cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity within nations states

  • The local can be global – from periphery to centre

Media roles in globalisation

  • Channels which make information and communication across space and time possible

  • Arenas for transnational dialogs, reflections and debates

  • Actors which can influence political, cultural and economic decisions

News as an international business

  • Merging of print and electronic news providers. Online news with text, sound, visuals/video

  • Multilanguage editions and regionalisation (Al Jazzera, BBC, Financial Times)

  • Output specialisation: business news, political news, soft news for special interest groups

  • Alliances between global and national news providers

The Internet challenge

  • The possibility of transnational/global markets

  • Integration of news services in the same medium

  • The possibility of dialog with users

  • Blogs: New type of journalism or sources for journalism?

  • Cell phone photographers

However, nations are still important

  • Communication systems are still in significant respect national

  • National states are still influential in shaping media systems

  • The importance of national languages in all communication

  • National cultures and traditions have not withered away

National media counts

  • Newspapers: Mostly national and local concerning market base and news culture

  • Television & radio: Mostly national and local. ”The popular notion that most people watch American television programs is … unsupported by evidence” (Sinclair & al. 1996)

  • Online papers: Mostly national in reach. However, we can read our local online paper when we visit another part of the globe.

Ownership and content

  • ”Though part of the national press is owned by two transnational corporations based in Australia and Canada, they publish in fact the most nationalistic tabloid and broadsheet titles (Sun and Daily Telegraph) in Britain. Global media ownership should not be equated with internationalism” (Curran & Leys 2000)

Market orientation and news values

  • Less international news in national news outlets? “International affairs accounts for a small and declining proportion of its content” (Curran/Leys 2000)

  • The framing of the news: National angle. Domestication of content and sources

  • Example: national conflicts and interests dominate the coverage of the EU in national European media

  • Transnational publics – limited to small elites?

The declining independence of the foreign news desk (Hjarvard)

  • Foreign dimension of issues spread to other topic areas

  • Cooperation between business news and foreign news, environmental news and foreign news

  • Foreign news is placed in many parts of the newspaper

  • EU reporting has become both domestic and foreign

Transnational integration of news (Hjarvard)

  • Time:

    • Syncronization between broadcasters
      • Live
      • Newsrooms take decisions in sync with other newsrooms
    • Increased speed of decision making and production cycles; up-dates, on-line availability
  • Space:

    • Both newsrooms and audiences have access to different socio-geographic levels: local, national, transnational - increased transparency
    • Communicative space not congruent with social or public political space

Contradictory tendencies?

  • The Middle East: ”The new television broadcasting is binding populations into ’national’ audiences in a way that no medium has truly done before….Television is constructing a public space that addresses men and women, old and young, educated and poorly educated, urban and rural

  • At the same time…audiences are increasingly able to compare ’lifestyles’ across the region, which do differ markedly, as well as images from the US, The UK, and elsewhere (Sreberny 2000)

Characteristics of the global news system (Hjarvard)

  • Not a unified system, but a multilayered, differentiated and only partly interconnected system

  • Global or transnational news services have extensive reach, a certain reputation (brand name) and occasional political influence

  • National media continue to play the most important role in public political discourse

  • Both business and technical developments tend to integrate actors and services across borders

Questions/exercise for the seminar

  • Go to Al Jazeera’s English website ( and look at their section on global news. To what extent is their global news different from other international news providers (for instance or– if at all?

  • How is your impression of ’globalisation of news’ in you own countries national media?

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