Monday, July 16, 2012

World Conscious News

When I asked my friend why British newspapers covered so much foreign news, his answer was simple: "England is a small country." I laughed and we went on to discuss other things, but later that night I got to thinking whether or not he was being serious. Despite its size, England is an important country and no doubt it has news that could fill up an entire newspaper without covering news from all over the world, but I think England's dynamic with other countries is different based on proximity especially. Given that Europe consists of a collection of countries with different cultures and tensions, it's important for Europeans to know what's happening in their neighboring countries.

That being said, while I was in London on Friday I noticed something that disproved this theory or at least made me want to expand it. As I was killing time waiting for my friend to arrive, I stumbled upon a line of newspaper stands. Quickly I noticed they were all free, but I noticed something else that really caught my eye. They were newspapers from around the globe prominently placed in relation to a train station and many bins were empty, meaning that people were reading them. It really inspired me! I don't spend that much time in Atlanta, so I can't say I know for sure whether or not Atlanta has a place like this where it's easy to acquire news from around the globe, but I've never seen anything like it and when I have seen foreign papers at news stands, they don't appear to be selling well. Even more interesting, the newspapers were not necessarily from countries directly next to England. South Africa, India, Australia and Canada all had bins.

This experience really got me thinking about the attitude towards foreign news in the United States. Is it just that we feel so insulated in a big country that we think we don't need to be informed about other countries' news? Is it egocentrism or is it genuinely that many events don't effect us? I try to keep up with other countries' events, but I have to read about them online because I can't pick up a South African newspaper in Midtown. I'm sure you can buy newspapers from around the globe, but as an American with no direct ties to most countries, do you think someone would pay to learn about something just for the sake of being a better informed human? Or is it okay to only know the news that directly affects us?


  1. This is very interesting because I believe it is true that American know less about worldly news than people in other countries. Personally, I do feel disconnected with worldwide news because it really does not affect me. There is not an abundance of worldwide news printed in the AJC that comes to my house or on the New York Times twitter that I follow. I don't think that England shares world news simply because the country is smaller, but I think they place a greater value than most Americans on knowing what is happening around the world. Studying here has made me learn that when I go home I need to make it a point to know more about what is happening around the world.

  2. This is an interesting point. When I was in Scotland, I too noticed that there were a lot of international newspapers available (in this case, to buy).

    But as far as Americans being uninformed, I think it is simply because we do not read the newspapers enough. Just updating the Times on my iPad, the top story is about Cuba. Also on the front "page" is an update about Syria.

    Also, here is a list of the top five stories coming out of the @nytimes twitter handle:
    "Breaking News: Kadima Party Quits Israeli Government, Ending Grand Coalition"
    "Inside Romney's Search for a Vice President"
    "Bernanke Testifies Before Senate Panel"
    "Syria Hardens Response to Clashes in Damascus"
    "DealBook: Bank of England Chief Denies New York Fed Gave Warning on Rate-Rigging"

    3 of 5 international news events isn't bad...

    I just think that most of the American people believe that these sorts of international stories do not affect them, so the do not pay attention to them. It is not that they aren't being reported on, because they are.

    Secondly, I believe this was mentioned in class, that the number of reports abroad are not nearly as high as they were. This is simply because we cannot afford to pay them anymore.

    News gathering is very interesting to study from a business perspective.