What makes the news headlines today takes many different elements into account. Does the country from where it happened have the most impact, or the impact the story has on countries dominate why it becomes news? And does this change when we talk about global news in the media?
In order for news stories to be watch or viewed, they need to have impact and resonate with the audience. With many people today leading fast-paced lifestyles, many want the news packaged up nice and neatly showing only what they need in as little time as possible, like that of the Channel 7 and Channel 9 6pm bulletins. What will make it into these half-hour news programs depend on a number of factors including the story’s cultural proximity, relevance, rarity, continuity, elite references, negativity, composition and personalisation. Not every news story can be covered in such a short period of time, therefore, the most spectacular and relevant issues are summarised and provided to the public. However, this can create a lack of cohesion and background information to the whole story and audiences are then required to search further if they want to know more. Being part of the Western world, Australian media can be criticized about not providing enough ‘world’ news and tends to highlight our own and our allies’ news.
Take, for example, the Boston bombings. On April 16 2013, Australian news was inundated with constant updates about the explosions that occurred at the finish line of the Boston marathon. On the same day, many other significant events happened also which were covered severely less or simply not covered at all. Major events such as “The biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years“, a military court sentenced a U.S. soldier stationed in Alaska to 16 years in prison, Indonesian volcano Mount Sinabung erupted or that seventeen people were killed in Ghana when an old gold mine collapsed on them. Personally, I cannot recall knowing about any one of these events.
The ways in which the media portray and narrate the suffering of far-away others has always been controversial. In the past, it has raised critical questions about the power relations between the West and the ‘rest’, about stereotypes of the ‘poor South’ and about compassion fatigue among Western audiences. (Chouliaraki, L)
When speaking about global media and news, stating a global news source as reporting from a foreign nation is not enough. It is not just media with a global reach either, but the creation of new public spaces with global influences (Reece 2010). Global news sources such as Al Jazeera and Global Voices are pitching to the global audience with relevance to global citizens.