Saturday, March 10, 2007

why news could bridge a divided world...

American Journalism Review's February and March edition featured a column on two cable news channels that are inaccessible within the U.S. (but portions of their programming can be viewed via the Internet.) The article, entitled "what we're missing", showcases what LT discussed earlier this quarter and what I discussed two blogs ago on the increased streamlining of global journalism; limited access, limited resources, closing bureaus and the opening of new news outlets--but only for a select viewing audience.

The article's focus news networks Al Jazeera English and France 24 add (2) stations to a now (4) global stations that feature English news anywhere in the world. Although both new stations estimate reching more than 260 million households, the big two haven't raised a brow. The BBC and CNN might be apathetic partially because their American audiences have very limited-to-non-existent access to the two newbies, AJE and France 24.

As JP discussed in class, AJE tried to get sponsorship by a U.S. Cable company, but no one would bite and so like LT mentioned...if you want AJE--better get onto the w-e-b.

When the global all-news 24hrs France 24 launched in December, French President Jacques Chirac said the news channel would help France "maintain and diffuse its view of the world." But providing a globally competitive French perspective on news isn't easy on an $112 million budget annual budget (about a fifth of CNN's) A January Time Magazine article on the launch of France 24 states the station claims to reach 190 million households in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as well as viewers in Washington, D.C., and New York. For the rest of the world, French 24 is only available via the Internet.

So, what does this all mean. Well, I think it's great that CNN and the BBC are being challenged. And even if there's little reaction now....I'd like to see if either station doesn't raise both brows this time next year. The reason? CNN and the BBC (filtered through our PBS station) have never really been challenged--challenged globally in terms of English-audience viewership. But the smaller the world becomes and the greater the demand for intercontinental business exchange and travel, the bigger the challenge it will be for CNN and the BBC to maintain all of the English news viewing global audiences.

In time both the AJE and France 24 could not only force CNN and the BBC to step up their reporting game, but it could force U.S. stations to re-consider other stations when it comes to projecting global news. More viewers are demanding to accuracy, more viewers are asking questions and the longer the U.S. remains in conflict, the longer the media covers itself and it's issues (i.e. Libby trial), the more viewers will begin to question authenticity and will begin to want more choices or at minimum, better news coverage.

AJE and France 24 cover the same issues that everyone else covers in the U.S. but as the American Journalism Review noted, these newscasts take more time to hone in on the background, to fact-check and to interview their own, native sources rather than recruit not non-native analysts who read books/cite stats and "other" issues pertinent to the Muslim and French communities. It cited an example a December AJE news block: The network led with a report about Israel's prime minister appearing to admit that his country has nuclear weapons, and 10-minute violence in the West Bank (which the AJE calls Palestine). Both issues are mentioned by CNN, the BBC and other national/international news outlets, but the content differs slightly. The AJE allowed for more background, analysis, and expert guests when it came to its West Bank coverage. It took time other networks won't use; time that is likely needed to put more of our questions and more of the religious, social, economic and political issues surrounding war into context.

I believe that Sept. 11th was a wake up call, but had we been listening and viewing rather than blockading and refusing to include others' opinions of the US, the alarm might've sounded sooner. We would've woke up to the reality that a large portion of the world could care less about "our news" and would totally disagree with our sense of world reality and international issues. If we had been paying more attention....if we start paying more watching news through their eyes, then maybe Sept. 11 and the ensuing conflicts, anger and emotion wouldn't come as such a shock.



At Sunday, March 11, 2007, Anonymous TD said...

This is really exciting! I'm always looking for new credible sources for news, especially international news. Can't wait to see the coverage and what comes out of all of this.


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