News from Abroad

News from Abroad

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 272
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    News from Abroad
    Book Description:

    Over the last two decades, following major conflicts in Kuwait, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Americans began to participate more actively than ever before in the world's numerous nationalist, religious, and ethnic conflicts. During this time, however, American news organizations drastically reduced the resources devoted to in-depth coverage of international affairs. Viewing foreign bureaus as an expensive luxury, major news providers closed overseas offices and cut the number of full-time correspondents working abroad, relying instead upon improvised news crews flown in on short notice to cover the latest crisis.

    In this insightful and hard-hitting investigation, former international news correspondent Donald R. Shanor follows the deterioration of international reporting and assesses the dangers that arise when U.S. citizens and policymakers are uninformed about foreign events until local problems erupt into international crises. Shanor also considers three major factors -- technology, immigration, and globalization -- that are influencing and complicating the debate over whether quality or profit should prevail in foreign reporting. In only a decade, the Internet has become a primary source of information for millions of Americans, particularly for younger generations. At the same time, a surge in America's immigrant population is rapidly changing the country's ethic and cultural landscape -- making news from abroad local news in many cities -- while global business practices are broadening the range of issues directly affecting the average citizen.

    News from Abroad provides a comprehensive portrait of the contemporary state of international news coverage and argues for the importance of maintaining networks of experienced journalists who can cover difficult subjects, keep Americans informed about the global economy, deliver early warnings of impending disasters and threats to national security, and prevent the United States from falling into cultural isolation.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52943-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. PART I Does Foreign News Matter?
      (pp. 3-25)

      The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon thrust Americans into the middle of the vicious conflicts of nationalist, religious, and ethnic extremists that had always been fought in other parts of the world.

      The terrorists were able to succeed mainly because the United States had neglected its intelligence gathering and airport security. But it was also left unprotected by the failure of its networks and most of its newspapers to provide the regular news and analysis of trends abroad that might have been able to provide a warning of the level of hatred against it, the resources...

      (pp. 26-38)

      The business side of both broadcast and print journalism has always had a role in determining what stories are covered and to what extent. But in recent years the managers have far eclipsed the editors in determining the content of the news, with profit replacing professional judgments of what is important, at home and abroad, for audiences to know. Money, in fact, is the reason most often cited by professionals in both print and broadcast to explain why foreign news is neglected except in times of great national crisis.

      For decades, the networks made great amounts of money, if not...

      (pp. 39-61)

      The news-gathering system that supplies American newspapers and television is worldwide, modern, efficient—and, except in times of crisis or war, greatly underutilized. Its mainstay is the wire services, whose correspondents cover all but a very few of the nations in the world. Millions of their words and billions of bytes of their images flow around the globe every day. Technologies transmit news with ever increasing speed, but the great strength of the news agencies is people. Computers are good at gathering and sorting information but are not good at distinguishing the new and noteworthy. The experience and standards of...

      (pp. 62-104)

      The praise of the nation and the critics for the performance of television news on September 11 and the fight against terrorism that followed was still at a high level half a year later. Although international coverage on the evening news shows had decreased from its peak as the fighting in Afghanistan quieted down, it continued in full measure on some magazine shows, and above all on ABC’s Nightline. Afghanistan was Nightline’s kind of story. The program began in 1979 as an outgrowth of a special nightly roundup on the hostage crisis in Iran, where radicals occupied the U.S. embassy...

  6. PART II The Transformation of Foreign News
      (pp. 107-124)

      How quickly change will come to the NewsHour is difficult to predict. But all concerned agree that new approaches to foreign news coverage are in store for every newsroom, print, Web, or broadcast, across the nation, driven by technology, demographics, and the new view of the world that has existed since September 11, 2001. Part II of this book explores the likely nature of that change.

      In the past, many of the innovations in the media were revolutionary. The developments that brought more news from around the world to the American people were based on single inventions or improvements in...

      (pp. 125-146)

      The long trains of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rattle across viaducts on the edge of downtown in Spokane, Washington, carrying grain and raw materials to the ports around Seattle for export across the Pacific. The Spokane Spokesman-Review’s reporter Hannelore Sudermann and photographer Torsten Kjellstrand traveled to Pakistan, Egypt, and China to produce “Far Afield, How Northwest Wheat Feeds the World” in 1999. “Wheat farming is our Boeing, generating more than $500 million in export sales in a good year,” Chris Peck, then the paper’s editor, wrote in an editorial introducing the series. Every Sunday, the paper focuses on another...

      (pp. 147-177)

      Every winter for nearly four decades, Theodore Andrica would sit at his dining room table with stacks of coupons sent him by readers of the Cleveland Press, sorting them out by country, city, and village. Readers clipped the coupons from the paper in response to an annual appeal: “Teddy Andrica will visit your home town in Europe.” For many readers in Cleveland, where immigrants from eastern Europe formed a large part of the population, Europe meant Hungary, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and other points east. Shifts of borders through war and diplomacy had left many of his respondents unsure of what...

      (pp. 178-207)

      Every morning, when the daily papers arrive at mailboxes, newsstands, and front porches across the United States, another delivery takes place in the computer systems of millions of Americans. The images on their screens are most likely to be or the Web sites of the other major newspapers, but they might also be the local daily or even the digital versions of the Tonga Chronicle or Slovak Spectator.

      The information revolution of the last decades of the twentieth century profoundly changed the way journalists do their jobs in their three main functions of reporting, transmitting, and disseminating news. The...

      (pp. 208-218)

      The demand for foreign news that followed the attacks on the United States put the word world back in the banner headlines and lead stories on television news. It transformed the gossip-driven network newsmagazines into thoughtful programs that sought to explain the how and why of the crisis. Provincial newspapers, no longer arguing that providing local news was their only duty, added the wire services of the big papers and expanded news holes to explain the challenges the nation faced. Local television stations used far more footage from abroad, and even some of the radio stations that had eliminated news...

  7. NOTES
    (pp. 219-232)
  8. INDEX
    (pp. 233-248)