Transnational Media, Global Journalism and the Nation State

Global journalism is a concept which idealises the conveyance of news from a worldly perspective. It champions journalism which is reported outside of the constrictions of nationalism and patriotism to communicate information with a global scope. This hinges on a journalist’s intellectual capacity to select an angle and complimentary sources which highlight how economic, political, social and ecological factors may have a transnational effect.

Peter Berglez identifies global journalism as filling the void between domestic and foreign news, working as a ‘counterweight to the methodological national container’ which ‘continues to reduce news content to either domestic or foreign’ (Berglez, 2008, p. 845) categorisations. As such, journalism which features a global outlook could be used to ‘conceptualise some of the news which doesn’t fall within the traditional conceptual framework of domestic or foreign’ (Berglez, 2008, p. 845).

This type of journalism, however, is still somewhat undefined. One thing for certain, though, is that it aims to move away from traditional, and somewhat vulgar,  news values, to a reportage which includes greater balance and objectivity. In the news values identified by Johan Galtung and Mari Ruge (1965, p. 68) in the Journal of Peace Research, there is great emphasis on ‘elite nations and people’ and the value of ‘negative news’. From the perspective of global journalism, however, there is less emphasis on these defining characteristics of what makes an issue newsworthy, and more interest in whether the story has a global context. As Berglez (2008, p. 847) attests, the global outlook seeks to ‘understand and explain how economic, political, social and ecological practices and problems in different parts of the world affect each other, are interlocked or share commonalities’. In essence, then, it aims to ‘actively interconnect the local with the global’ (Van Leuven & Berglez, 2015, p. 667).

A Guardian report entitled Amazon Tragedy Repeats Itself as Brazil Rainforest Goes Up in Smoke (Landau & Phillips, 2020) is a good example of this. Here, the relatively isolated South American story of rainforest fire is re-framed with a global perspective. As Berglez (2008, p. 847) defines, the global outlook includes the shared responsibility of ‘ecological and pandemic threat’. In this instance, the events in Brazil are attached to the broader, global issue of climate change and global warming. This issue resonates beyond the parameters of national news to infiltrate our ‘global identity’ (Berglez, 2008, p. 852) – something which has transnational implications. Here, the relatively implicit issue reported from Brazil, takes on a more explicit reportage, unifying the message in its target of the ‘global village’ (O’Byrne & Hensby, 2011, p. 10).

As with any form of communication, though, its efficacy relies upon its reception. One might question whether this type of news, with its global, transnational perspective, would be so readily received amongst countries, like the UK, which have seen an increase in nationalistic opinion in recent years. Global journalism inherently represents identity as something transnational and, ultimately, global. It assumes that audiences across the globe are able to relate to a story purely because of its broad scope. This global-minded audience, though, may not even exist anymore.


Bibliography

Berglez, P., 2008. What is Global Journalism? Theoretical and Empirical Conceptualisations. Journalism Studies, IX(6), pp. 845-858.

Galtung, J. & Ruge, M. H., 1965. The Structure of Foreign News. Journal of Peace Research, II(1), pp. 64-91.

Landau, L. & Phillips, T., 2020. Amazon tragedy repeats itself as Brazil rainforest goes up in smoke. [Online]
Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/02/amazon-fires-brazil-rainforest-bolsonaro-destruction
[Accessed 7 October 2020].

O’Byrne, D. J. & Hensby, A., 2011. Globalization: The Global Village. In: Theorizing Global Studies. London: Palgrave, pp. 10-32.

Van Leuven, S. & Berglez, P., 2015. GLOBAL JOURNALISM BETWEEN DREAM AND REALITY A comparative study of The Times, Le Monde and De Standaard. Journalism Studies, XVII(6), pp. 666-683.

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