Discussion on the importance of National and local news

newsNational and local news is becoming less important in a world characterised by the almost instantaneous circulation of information. Discuss.

This essay will discuss national and local news and its importance in a world characterised by the instantaneous circulation of information. The essay will analyse the concepts of globalisation, global media, national media and local news and the issues involved within these concepts.

Global media and the concept of globalisation are key concepts that help highlight the importance of national and local news in societies with access to instant circulation of news and information. Globalisation in regards to news and the media has been defined as ‘the product of a changing economic and political order, one in which technology and capital have combined in a new multi-faceted imperialism’ (Silverstone, 1999, p 107) and that it ‘refers to the rapidly developing process of complex interconnections between societies, cultures, institutions and individuals world-wide’ (Tomlinson, 1999, p 165). From these definitions it can be seen that, through electronic media, there has been a strong development in the demand for political, cultural and economic stories from other parts of the world. Such stories have developed an ‘interconnectedness’ (Hjavard, 2003) between people of different societies. Often these stories are primarily about conflict and prominence, be it war struggles or political conflict, or high-profile personalities. These stories tend to be discussed at a global level because they capture the public’s interest both quickly and on a large scale. The discussion of such stories has led some to believe that a ‘global sphere’ has developed (Hjavard, 2003). This ‘global sphere’(Hjavard, 2003) is made up of a public that has a transnational opinion which can be quite powerful in causing national change at a national level. In the past we have seen various campaigns both reported and supported by the media that have resulted in important change at a national level because of an overwhelming transnational opinion. Some of these campaigns have included the Kony 2012 campaign and various People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaigns. In the case of the Kony campaign, a non-government organisation created a film about the need to capture war criminal, Joseph Kony. Although the film was intended for a United States audience, the film went viral and the global public opinion on the issue led to national change in the United States. ‘The U.S…played a pivotal role in providing equipment, intelligence and training’ (Besliu, Yu, 2012) to the governments of Africa, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Not only this, but the ‘U.S. government was demonstrating its commitment to U.S. citizens’ at a political level (Besliu, Yu, 2012). In other campaigns, such as PETA’s ‘Anti-Skins’ and ‘Fur Is Dead’ campaign, multiple fashion designers based in various Western countries banned the use of fur in their designs including ‘Ralph Lauren and Tom Hilfiger’ (PETA, 2013). From these campaigns it can be seen that in societies characterised by instantaneous circulation of information, a global public opinion has become important in shaping change at a national level. Whilst this global sphere and global media has been influential and powerful in political, cultural and environmental instances, it has not made national or local news less important due to factors that will be discussed below.

 

National news and media is still important in a world characterised by the instantaneous circulation of information due to its key features. National media encompasses new and traditional media outlets, including newspapers, television, radio and online papers. Despite the growth of a global media, through the dominance of global media powerhouses including NewsCorp, BBC and CNN, national media is still important to the public, particularly political affairs within the nation. As such, national states are still influential in shaping media systems because, typically, they encompass that nation’s culture and traditions and allows other media systems to assess the successful key components in that nation. Professors like Stig Hjarvard (2003) have discussed the power of the concentration and monopolisation of Western media ownership but have still concluded that

 global media like CNN and BBC World may technically have a near global reach, but the actual audience figures tell quite a different story. Compared to the consumption of nationally based media, that of CNN and BBC World is very limited. (Hjavard, 2003)

Professionals have come to the same conclusion as Hjavard because ‘Opinion formation is still very much tied to the level of national political institutions thus not less important.’ (Hjavard, 2003) because ‘In most countries, these channels [CNN, BBC] are only used as a supplement to the national news media diet’ (Hjavard, 2003). From these conclusions it can be seen that the proximity and impact of news stories is the overriding factor in national media coverage, factors that ultimately appeal to national audiences because, like local news which will be discussed further in this essay, it can directly and subtly highlight how the audience is directly affected by it. This is because whilst ‘the routine, day-to-day decisions and actions related to international politics may often receive news coverage…rarely do they’ (Hjavard, 2003) have an impact on a large national audience. Therefore, key factors of national news, like impact and proximity and effects of stories, highlight the importance that national news still holds, despite the growth of global media.

 

Localisation is a concept that shows the importance of local news in a world characterised by the instantaneous circulation of information. Localisation has been defined as ‘the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local “look-and-feel”’ (SearchCIO – TechTarget, 2013). Journalism professionals have also said when discussing localisation in journalistic terms ‘scan globally, reinvent locally’(Zac, 2013). Therefore when applying these definitions to news and media it can be seen that localisation is a process of adapting news, from either a global or national level, and making it local, whether this is by highlighting connections, explaining the effects of a global or national issue or discussing local interests. Often global stories that are adapted into local stories are economic, political, legal or those about high-profile people with a connection the specific local place. The views on such stories presented from a local perspective are often more popular and well received by the public due to the fact that the audience does not believe the local media are primarily concerned with profit over content (McChesney, 2001). Not only this, but the local media is able to present the story and make the content focus on their culture or values. Hjavard (2003) discussed that the European media is an example of the strength of localisation. Hjavard (2003) emphasised that ‘both language and culture are factors working against Europeanization’. This is because Europe ‘exhibits a wide and diverse pattern of languages, cultures…[and] political practices’ (Hjavard, 2003) and also because when stories are presented as globalised stories rather than localised stories, the ‘concept of deterritorialization’ (Hjavard, 2003) is presented because the story does not demonstrate how it relates to the audience or affects them. Such concepts emphasise the importance of the local media in all countries, be it Europe or Australia, as the audience is primarily concerned with the impact of the story. In recent times, the financial struggles in Greece and other parts of Europe was of great interest in Australia as it was directly affecting local Australian businesses and trade as well as Australian and global finances. Therefore it can be seen through the concept of localisation, local news is still of great importance because it highlights the interests, culture, values, as well as its affect, on the local audience.

National and local news is not less important is a world characterised by the almost instantaneous circulation of information. The concepts of global media, globalisation, localisation and the key factors within national media have demonstrated that national and local news still remains important. This is because whilst a global opinion can be powerful and can force changes at national level, not every national issue is given the extensive, or correct, media coverage to create such powerful opinion. This then results in national and local news becoming the strongest outlets to educate and inform their audiences as they are able to demonstrate how a story affects them, bringing in the key factors of proximity and impact.

Reference List:

Besliu, R, Su Y. 2012, The Real Effects of Kony 2012 ,International Affairs Review, < http://www.iar-gwu.org/node/402>

Hjavard, S 2003, News Media and the Globalisation of the Public Sphere, Kommunication Forum, viewed 5 May 2013, > http://www.kommunikationsforum.dk/artikler/news-media-and-the-globalization-of-the-public-sphere<

McChesney, R 2001, Global Media, Neoliberalism & Imperialism, International Socialist Review, Viewed 12 March 2013, < http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/McChesney/GlobalMedia_Neoliberalism.html<

PETA 2013, PETA’s Anti-Skins Campaign: Keeping Skeletons Out of the Closet, PETA, Viewed 9 March 2013, >http://www.peta.org/about/learn-about-peta/skins-campaign.aspx<

SearchCIO – TechTarget 2013, Localization (l10n), SearchCIO – TechTarget, Viewed 10 March 2013, >http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/localization<

Silverstone, R. 1999, Why Study the Media? London, Sage.

Tomlinson, J 1999, `Cultural globalization: placing and displacing the West’ in H. Mackay and T. O’Sullivan (eds) The Media Reader: Continuity and Transformation, London, Sage.

Zac, L (2013), Globalization and Localisation, COMM 1059, University of South Australia, Adelaide, 25 April.

Bibliography

Besliu, R, Su Y. 2012, The Real Effects of Kony 2012 ,International Affairs Review, < http://www.iar-gwu.org/node/402>

Hjavard, S 2003, News Media and the Globalisation of the Public Sphere, Kommunication Forum, viewed 5 March 2013, > http://www.kommunikationsforum.dk/artikler/news-media-and-the-globalization-of-the-public-sphere<

McChesney, R 2001, Global Media, Neoliberalism & Imperialism, International Socialist Review, Viewed 12 March 2013, < http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/McChesney/GlobalMedia_Neoliberalism.html<

PETA 2013, PETA’s Anti-Skins Campaign: Keeping Skeletons Out of the Closet, PETA, Viewed 9 March 2013, >http://www.peta.org/about/learn-about-peta/skins-campaign.aspx<

SearchCIO – TechTarget 2013, Localization (l10n), SearchCIO – TechTarget, Viewed 10 March 2013, >http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/localization<

Silverstone, R 1999, Why Study the Media? London, Sage.

Tomlinson, J 1997, `Internationalism, globalization and cultural imperialism’ in Kenneth Thompson (ed.) Media and Cultural Regulation. London, Sage, Milton Keynes, Open University Press

Tomlinson, J 1999, `Cultural globalization: placing and displacing the West’ in H. Mackay and T. O’Sullivan (eds) The Media Reader: Continuity and Transformation, London, Sage.

Zac, L (2013), ‘Globalization and Localisation’, COMM 1059, University of South Australia, Adelaide, 25 April.

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