Tuesday, November 10, 2009

International Reporting: Get Into It!

The readings all come to a central focus of media, its influence on foreign policy, and the current state of affairs in international reporting. It becomes clear, rather quickly, from both a public diplomacy perspective and an international reporting mindset that the "CNN Effect" is likely an unfounded myth. I find it interesting to see the differences in background ideologies between public diplomacy and international reporting as they are described in the different readings. I had all my thoughts outlined regarding the differences between the Hanson chapter and the Robin Brown article regarding diplomacy but, after reading it, I can't help but remark on the strength of emotion behind the Hafez article.

Hafez brings up some intuitive and heartfelt points regarding the shortcomings of international reporting that we have touched on in class. Namely, the failure of the media/international reporters to provide comprehensive, unbiased news to the public and, by the same token, the public's apparent desire for conflict-based and ego-centric news. Hafez notes that, within the same construct as the tendency for negative reporting, the relevancy of violence is a major factor in reporting. He introduces the DRC as an example of a war-torn country that is paid little attention by the German reporters. I think an example such as the ongoing war in Uganda or even, to an extent, the continuing atrocities in Sudan are other examples of violence that simply do not get the press that they should based on their lack of relevancy to the US public.

Hafez also notes the inherent problem with international reporting lies partly with the tendency to report "about" but not "with" the country being reported on. He goes on to say that the quality of the reporting is then in doubt based on the ego-centric character of the media system. The inclusion of journalists from the country being reported on would add a significant amount of credibility to the newscast and would enhance the public knowledge of what is actually occurring in the reported country. The current media representation does not give the public a globalized view and instead stays within the confines of established reporting habits and results in, as Hafez notes, the opposite of a multicultural world.

Both international reporting and the media in general have an obligation to report news to the public at-large. However, it is also essential that the consumers demand comprehensive, unbiased news instead of accepting the status quo. As all of the readings point out, the American media at the start of the Iraq war failed miserably at providing unbiased news and, instead, promoted the US government interests and followed the government agenda directly. This type of reporting is detrimental not only to the US public but also to the notion of global media in general. Hopefully, as we become more economically global, we are equally stout in our desire for true globalized media and can go beyond our relevant borders to view the world as one.

1 comment:

  1. I think you provide a great recommendation when you mention that journalists should also come from the country being reported about and how that would definetly add some validity to the newcast. I definetly think this is something that could quickly enhance the impact of international reporting. I agree with you and Hafez that there is a tendency to report on negative occurences/violence because this seems to be what appeals to the majority but as Hafez cleverly points out, unfortunately; we really only hear about these things when its relevant to us.