• DEAR SIR,
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• LET ME START BY INTRODUCING MYSELF PROPERLY , I AM MR.
TIJANI YUSUFU CREDIT OFFFICER WITH THE UNION BANK OF
NIGERIA PLC (UBA) BENIN BRANCH, I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN
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• THE PREPOSITION:
• A FOREIGNER AND AN AMERICAN , LATE ENGR JOHN CREEK
(SNR) AN OIL MERCHANT WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF
NIGERIA UNTIL HIS DEATH MONTHS AGO IN KENYA AIRBUS (
Third election coming up
• Africa’s largest democracy (140m
• Religious and regional issues
• President Olusagun Obasanjo
• Unsuccessful 3rd term bid
• Vice-president Atiku Abubaker:
“There will be no elections if
I am blocked from standing”
• Africa’s most oil-rich country
Q&A: Nigerian election
• An interesting story?
• Will you find it US online media?
• Who is the president of Africa?
–Well, we know who’s Anna Nicole
• Could it be that the info-rich are also
Info rich … or poor?
Percentage of Americans in 2003 believing
• Evidence of links between Iraq & al
Qaeda – 48%
• Weapons of mass destruction been
found – 22%
• World favored the US going into Iraq –
• Overall 60% had at least 1 of 3
More recently …2006
• Only 32% of Americans could name
Vladimir Putin as the president of
• Just over four-in-ten (43%) could name
Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state.
- (2006 July, Pew report).
NOTE: 31% getting online news 3 or
more x a week.
• For the American public, whose
geographical illiteracy is well
documented, it must seem the
globe is spinning out of control.
- Stevenson & Griffin
• … (1994!).
Picture of a paradox …
• International affairs remains an
afterthought in many American
newsrooms, despite trends in
technology and trade that are
tying the nations of the world
closer together. – Peter Grier, CSM
• Just as it is more vital to
understand what is happening
across the globe, and it is simpler
to report the story we are less
Foreign is local
• “…the demarcation between home
and abroad is dissolving as never
before. … A London commuter
worries about safety on the tube, but
this is linked to what is going on in
Pakistan and elsewhere.” -Franks.
• “Readers in L.A., and New York, and
Nebraska live in a globalized world
where Windows help calls are
answered in Bangalore…” - Editor &
Publisher Dec 06.
Foreign is local
• “If you understand that if the
Middle East goes up in smoke,
gas goes to $5 a gallon, that's
local. If your National Guard unit
is in Afghanistan, that's a local
story.” - Burl Osborne, AP
• “…foreign news isn’t foreign
anymore. It’s domestic news. It’s
impossible to decouple what
happens overseas with domestic.”
Are audiences uninterested?
• An ASNE study in 1990 found
that 41% of people said they
were very interested in foreign
news, but just 5% of editors
thought their readers were
interested. - Brandt Ayers.
A media lag
In 2002, in a Pew study:
• 86% of newspaper editors said
companies in their community had
• Only 50% said that they regularly or
fairly regularly covered these stories
• Similar splits were found for stories
about immigrants, university
connections, and foreign business &
investment Dwight L
• Closing and downsizing bureaus is a
symptom and a cause of dwindling
coverage. - Ginsberg.
• Tom Rosenstiel says that decline in
foreign news is not in response to
reader demand, but in response to
cost cutting. – Seplow.
9.11 puts world back on map
US papers carried more stories
on Afghanistan on page 1 in the
four months after 911 than in the
previous four decades. - Michael
But regression expected
• A Pew survey of 218 press editors in
2002 confirmed them saying that
reader interest had increased after
• But 64% expected a shrinkage, and
almost the same said their newshole
would return to previous levels. -
Yet, interest remains in 2006
• Nearly as many Americans say
they track international news
closely most of the time (52%), as
say that about national news
(55%) and local news (55%).
• New interest among women,
minorities and less-educated
P J l 2006
Tho it’s Iraq, not all foreign news
• Even in the golden age of
international coverage, you
weren’t getting a lot of news on
the world – just on the Cold War.
- Andrew Tyndall.
• Thus historically, foreign news
came from where the
correspondents were sent –
rather than correspondents being
• Most international news is
domestic news about Americans
making news overseas, whether
as soldiers, victims of terror or
- Gains, 2003 (cited by Gartner).
• Leading US print media took cues
from the White House on
coverage of Grenada,
Afghanistan, Panama, Kuwait and
• A foreign country is seen only in
relation to how it affects the US.
- Silverstein 1993
Not unique to US
• So-called ‘global’ news is largely
domesticated in order to appeal to
• Stories of the 9.11
commemoration in 2002 carried
by broadcasters around the world
were all ‘domesticated’ to suit
their national audiences. - Clausen (2003)
Amount and type
• Quantity, or rather the lack of it, is
the first problem. The quality
problem is that more than half are
related to violence, accident and
- Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor.
• The foreign news that does
appear seldom mentions social,
cultural or scientific issues
Ellen Knickmeyer, ex-West Africa bureau chief for
• Afghanistan and Iraq drained
budget and reporters, meaning
that staffing fell to a level of doing
only the must-cover news like
wars and coups.
• “This reinforced view that Africa is
all bad news. Good news often
went uncovered ”
• Too much is episodic, meaningless,
not placed in a narrative. - Suzanne
• Diet of war, disaster and poverty (and
men) – breeds a clichéd view and
• “Women, the elderly & children
invisible in foreign news…” - Beaudoin
Foreign and foreign
• There is a “foreign other” and a
“familiar other” - Franks
• The foreign other = developing
world, is more negatively framed -
Beaudoin and Thorson
In sum, a narrow picture
• Prevails in old media …
• Is it reflected in online?
(Recalling that, as PEJ says, this
platform is no longer a pure
reflection of the root or parent –
be it print or broadcast)?
• The Internet’s capacity to alter
traditional notions of space ranks
amongst its most exceptional
- Best et al, 2005.
• An internet presence translates to
a worldwide presence.
- Ian Lamont. 2005.
A globalised public sphere
Reese et al. 2006:
• Globalization and the Internet
have created a space for news
and political discourse that
• The online environment
“deterritoralizes” news, such that
the user, creator, and news
subject need no longer share the
same national frame of reference
• We would expect that the open
nature of the Internet world
inevitably leads to cross-national
• Not to say the global has replaced
the local – “just that the nation-
state, or even the local
community, organizing principle
l d i t ” R
A promise fulfilled?
“Foreign news is finding its niche
on the net” because “the medium
matches the message. …by
definition, the Internet is
- Dirk Smillie, Christian Science Monitor, 1997.
Internet could compensate
• “The ability of the public to get
foreign news for itself may offer
one of the best solutions to
dwindling foreign reporting by
traditional media.” – Hamilton &
• Huge potential for international
links, collaborations, content
exchanges even instant web
But: geography of global content
• Note if a country is a net importer or
exporter of Internet content (whether
such content is about “local issues” or
not). – cf Zook
• In countries without strong production
capabilities for online content (incl
exotic content), web users can go
direct to places where (if) there is
• North American and Western
European countries account for
close to 90% of the domain
names in the world, but only 66%
of Internet users. – Zook, 2001
• The 2 regions do not have
extensive content about extra-
territorial affairs …
• In countries with minimal content,
Internet users go to US sites –
i US f d t t
Production US & West US & West
Web 2 & insularity
• Social networking – shows falsity of
• The reality alternative is “Daily Us”
• … distinct from the “Unknown Them”
• Value of diversity unrealised
• Including by non-US joining
Some US users go elsewhere
• Especially during the start of the Iraq
• “Foreign news sites framed the
conflict differently than US sites:
military conflict, human interest and
media self-coverage in the latter;
responsibility frame in foreign.”
-Dimitrova et al.
(Even though AP was often used as a common
Foreign news from foreign
• Around one quarter of US Internet
news users visit foreign sites. -Best et
• That doesn’t count use of search
engines – eg. Al Jazeera showed the
biggest spike of any search term in
the first month of the Iraq war. - Google
• Access to foreign online news
militates against a common political
space and collective identity -Best et al
In other words
• Not much reflection of globalisation
in US news websites.
• Not especially unique to US,
• Diversity exists – driven by national
• Global medium lags global
I b l i h l b l
Danny Westneat ST columnist
As I look back at the year in news, it's
clear I should have focused more on
people having sex with horses.
That's the conclusion I reach after
reviewing a new list of the year's top
local news stories. … This is the
It's not a survey of what news you say
It's what you actually read.
What's more, four more of the year's
20 most clicked upon local news
It's not just the horse sex!
• “The rest of the top 20 people's-
choice list is eye-opening, as well.
• … a wrenching account of a North
Bend man finding photos on a
Thai beach that captured a
Canadian couple's last moments
before the tsunami hit.
• A local congressman admitting
his vote to invade Iraq was a
US allure for foreign users
The appeal of US culture
• Nearly one third of traffic to US news
websites comes from outside the
traditional offline distribution area. -
Best et al, 2005.
• “The fact that more than three-
quarters of the traffic to Google,
Yahoo!, and Microsoft is now coming
from outside of the U.S. is indicative
of what a truly global medium the
Internet has become.”
– http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp? press=1057
• “…five of the top
10 General News
are operated by
• “Yahoo! News is
MSNBC and CNN
rank among the
top 5 news sites in
the U.S. and
• Neil Thurman: high overseas
audience raises server costs.
• They are also occasional, not
• So, some news sites would prefer
100% national audience.
Mark Tremayne (2005):
• Fewer external links than just a few
• Own archive favored over content that is
• 246 sites at the start of the Iraq war:
75% of links were internal. - Dimitrova et al.
• Blogs probably have more links off-site
than traditional news sites, but
blogosphere across national lines still
underdeveloped. - Reese et al 2006.
• A minority of US users go offshore to
find foreign news.
• US news websites don’t aim at a
global audience, but foreigners come
• Result: a US-centric global
• Will it last – cf. Bollywood &
• There is a global trend to relate
foreign news to domestic concerns.
• The result is that foreign news in
national media reveals as much as
about the countries covering the news
as about the countries being covered.
- Gundula Stoll (1998)
• Globalising means making a local
product global, and then local again,
so that more locales can use it.
• Localisation is the process of making
a product that was designed to be
marketed on a global scale usable
• It means adaptation to innumerable
local contexts. - Alberto Orengo.
• Many sites
news by region
• Shows facility of
the web – and
f t ti
Challenge of relevance
"I've never disbelieved in Americans'
appetite for foreign news. You can
ask whether someone is concerned
with the North American Free Trade
Agreement, or ask whether they're
interested in trucks getting free
passage between countries. You'll get
different answers. Lots of people,
besides the college educated, care if
you put it in a context they can relate
It’s the type of foreign news
• Public interest is “less in politics and
the stuff of governments than it is in,
say, global warming, or hoof-and-
mouth disease, or the status of
women”. - Andrew Kohut, Pew Centre.
• National survey shows readers prefer
good news and about ordinary
people, than about politics,
government, economics, disasters.
Say there is too much violence and
they want more about culture and
• One Atlanta editor cites exploding
Latino and South Asian, and
rapidly growing East Asian and
African, populations in his paper's
circulation area, and says his
readers "need to know these
• “They live down the block from
you. Their kids go to school with
yours. They're Atlantans, too."
Is there a difference?
• Common refrain is that foreign news
is foreign and local news is local, and
people want and need more of the
latter and less of the former.
• Such distinctions, however, are now
as anachronistic as hot type and copy
• In a world of increasingly porous
borders, the lines between foreign
and domestic blur for news just as
they blur for commerce, health,
culture, and the environment.
Story and the teller
Washington Post foreign correspondent Don
• “We’re in a new era now in which the
ambiguity in what is national and what
is international is very great” -
• “If we just…say that if the news isn’t
coming from overseas then it’s not
international, we’re misleading
Story and the teller
• Just as we see the emergence of
foreign foreign correspondents, we
are seeing the rise of local foreign
• “Local stories far from home”
• “Local journalists can cover foreign
• Because 50% of Bloomberg’s
subscribers are outside the United
States, its staff cautions against
describing its non-U.S.-based
journalists as foreign correspondents.
• The foreign national correspondent
may be a reporter in India writing for
an Indian daily, whose work is read
over the Internet by a resident of
I di li
Getting first-hand reports
• There was a time when you had
people on the ground. - Scottie
Williston, ex Cairo bureau chief for CBS.
• The importance of “being there”:
without it, you sacrifice depth and
perspective of an on-the-scene
reporter. - Garrick Utley
• Anyone sending information from one
country to another is a de facto
foreign correspondent. - Garrick Utley,
• But bloggers not a complete
alternative to foreign correspondents.
• Compatible: authoritative news,
Limits – for now (Pew 2006)
• The web serves mostly as a
supplement to other sources rather
than a primary source of news.
• For now, those who use the web
for news still spend more time
getting news from other sources
than they do getting news online.
Limits – for now (Pew 2006)
• In addition, web news consumers
emphasize speed and convenience
over detail. Of the 23% who got
news on the internet yesterday,
only a minority visited newspaper
• Instead, websites that include
quick updates of major headlines,
such as MSNBC, Yahoo, and
CNN dominate the web-news
Web and (G)local?
• “The public’s appetite for foreign news
has changed from a desire for a full meal
to a willingness to pick from a revolving
tray or light appetizers.” Deborah Amos, ex NPR
• PEJ says that news organizations are
becoming more niche players related to
what they cover. But cautions: “does
localism mean provincialism”?
Local info – yes, but
• Grassroots news sites – hyperlocal.
• Project for Excellence in Journalism
2007: for some newspapers, the new
brand to build audience around is
• Priority, but not exclusively.
• Qtn: Why isn’t hyperglobalism also a
Need a new “Bringing the World Home:
Showing Readers their Global
Connections”, American Society of
Newspaper Editors, 1999.
Thomas Ginsberg, Philadelphia Inquirer:
• Leverage a major event – pump out
back-ground (although this can also
be too late).
• Peg story to local affairs, incl
immigrants – but danger of missing
• The way to give Americans
understand-ing about the rest of
the world is to provide international
coverage, over the long haul, that
reflects the same values given to
reporting news at home. …
• At home, when journalists want
to tell readers and viewers about
Christianity in America, they don’t
confine their coverage to the
Branch Davidian and other
t i t t
• There is a long tail – some day it
will wag. Who wags it is another
Ideological: out of synch:
has to change
outsourcing, rich niching
Media Routine: new
topics & forms of news
Individual: up to us?
Shoemaker and Reese model
• “If the media don’t provide
readers and viewers with sound
international reporting, how many
will know what they are missing?”
- Edward Seaton, former president of American
Society of Newspaper Editors.
• Beware self-fulfilling prophesy.
• “A lack of knowledge breeds a
lack of interest” - Katherine Graham cited
• Serve the insiders: reflect world on
door-step, & the world just a plane hop
• Serve the outside users: they are part
of the audience, include them in the
social networking and other
• Avoid a cyberbubble
• Keep an eye on language access.
Can be done …
• Reflecting interdependency,
common humanity, diversity.
• Even what people want – horse
sex, death of Anna Nicole Smith.
Tell how is it playing elsewhere.
• Think truly global (Foreign AND
• Connect (don’t reduce) to local.
• News is a window on the world,
but the view depends on whether
it is large or small, many panes or
few, whether the glass is opaque
or clear. -
Gaye Tuchman, 1973
• Need web windows to match the
• Including the Nigerian election!