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THE WORLD AT YOUR FEET? The news selection process in foreign coverage: A comparison of the determinants of foreign news in the Flemish and Dutch press

Sarah Van Leuven UGent, Karin Raeymaeckers Van De Wal UGent and Annelore Deprez UGent (2010)
abstract
The study of the news selection process has a long tradition in communication research and focuses primarily on the issue of imbalances in international news and information flows, resulting in an ongoing debate on the establishment of a New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO). Recent research assumes that the key criticisms of this 40 year old debate are still valid today because of the globalization, privatization and commercialization of the media. The study of foreign news and research on the mechanisms that cause these imbalances in the selection of international news, enable us to critically consider our image of the ‘global village’ in order to be ‘good global citizens’. News selection of foreign coverage can be studied from a gatekeeper and a logistic perspective. Some authors combine these two approaches to outline a more complete picture of the factors that influence the news selection process. Wu identified in 2000 nine potential systemic determinants of international news. For the impact of trade volume and presence of international news agencies have already been demonstrated in the study of Wu, we examined the influence of the remaining seven systemic determinants on the news selection process. These are: economic power (ranking in world trade), population, geographic size, freedom of the press, cultural affinity, colonial ties and physical distance. We tested the impact of these seven systemic determinants in a comparative setting. We set up a study in Flanders and the Netherlands that combined content analysis and document analysis. By means of a document analysis we examined various documents with data on the systemic determinants to render a ranking of countries in accordance with their importance on each systemic determinant. Then, we set up a comparative content analysis to study the presence of these countries in foreign news reports in the Flemish and Dutch press. This enabled us to interpret the rankings of the document analysis in a valid manner. By comparing the ranking of a country on every systemic determinant with the amount of news reports on this country, we could register how far each systemic determinant influences foreign news coverage. Two quality newspapers in Flanders (De Morgen) and the Netherlands (De Volkskrant) were coded during two constructed weeks in 2009 (1091 articles). Findings indicate that ranking in world trade and language are important predictors of the amount of coverage dedicated to a country. In contrast, population, geographic size, freedom of the press and physical distance have little or no influence. Beside this, the frequent appearance of Muslim countries such as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the content analysis is remarkable. In the face of these comparable findings for both newspapers, it is also noticeably that colonial ties appears to be an important news determinant in the Flemish newspaper, while there was no significant influence found for the Dutch press. We attribute this distinction to the different colonial history of both countries. Overall, the study concludes that the determinants of international news have changed. While ideological antagonism was a central factor in news selection during the Cold War era, the findings suggest that economic interests and religio-political identities determine foreign news in the 21st century.
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author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
keyword
news selection, foreign news, news determinants, content analysis, newspapers
pages
16 pages
conference name
ECREA
conference location
Hamburg, Germany
conference start
2010-10-12
conference end
2010-10-15
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
1093524
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1093524
date created
2011-01-03 12:10:34
date last changed
2011-01-05 10:43:11
@inproceedings{1093524,
  abstract     = {The study of the news selection process has a long tradition in communication research and focuses primarily on the issue of imbalances in international news and information flows, resulting in an ongoing debate on the establishment of a New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO). Recent research assumes that the key criticisms of this 40 year old debate are still valid today because of the globalization, privatization and commercialization of the media. The study of foreign news and research on the mechanisms that cause these imbalances in the selection of international news, enable us to critically consider our image of the {\textquoteleft}global village{\textquoteright} in order to be {\textquoteleft}good global citizens{\textquoteright}. News selection of foreign coverage can be studied from a gatekeeper and a logistic perspective. Some authors combine these two approaches to outline a more complete picture of the factors that influence the news selection process. Wu identified in 2000 nine potential systemic determinants of international news. For the impact of trade volume and presence of international news agencies have already been demonstrated in the study of Wu, we examined the influence of the remaining seven systemic determinants on the news selection process. These are: economic power (ranking in world trade), population, geographic size, freedom of the press, cultural affinity, colonial ties and physical distance. 

We tested the impact of these seven systemic determinants in a comparative setting. We set up a study in Flanders and the Netherlands that combined content analysis and document analysis. By means of a document analysis we examined various documents with data on the systemic determinants to render a ranking of countries in accordance with their importance on each systemic determinant. Then, we set up a comparative content analysis to study the presence of these countries in foreign news reports in the Flemish and Dutch press. This enabled us to interpret the rankings of the document analysis in a valid manner. By comparing the ranking of a country on every systemic determinant with the amount of news reports on this country, we could register how far each systemic determinant influences foreign news coverage. Two quality newspapers in Flanders (De Morgen) and the Netherlands (De Volkskrant) were coded during two constructed weeks in 2009 (1091 articles). Findings indicate that ranking in world trade and language are important predictors of the amount of coverage dedicated to a country. In contrast, population, geographic size, freedom of the press and physical distance have little or no influence. Beside this, the frequent appearance of Muslim countries such as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the content analysis is remarkable. In the face of these comparable findings for both newspapers, it is also noticeably that colonial ties appears to be an important news determinant in the Flemish newspaper, while there was no significant influence found for the Dutch press. We attribute this distinction to the different colonial history of both countries. Overall, the study concludes that the determinants of international news have changed. While ideological antagonism was a central factor in news selection during the Cold War era, the findings suggest that economic interests and religio-political identities determine foreign news in the 21st century.},
  author       = {Van Leuven, Sarah and Van De Wal, Karin Raeymaeckers and Deprez, Annelore},
  keyword      = {news selection,foreign news,news determinants,content analysis,newspapers},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Hamburg, Germany},
  pages        = {16},
  title        = {THE WORLD AT YOUR FEET? The news selection process in foreign coverage: A comparison of the determinants of foreign news in the Flemish and Dutch press},
  year         = {2010},
}

Chicago
Van Leuven, Sarah, Karin Raeymaeckers, and Annelore Deprez. 2010. “THE WORLD AT YOUR FEET? The News Selection Process in Foreign Coverage: A Comparison of the Determinants of Foreign News in the Flemish and Dutch Press.” In .
APA
Van Leuven, S., Raeymaeckers, K., & Deprez, A. (2010). THE WORLD AT YOUR FEET? The news selection process in foreign coverage: A comparison of the determinants of foreign news in the Flemish and Dutch press. Presented at the ECREA.
Vancouver
1.
Van Leuven S, Raeymaeckers K, Deprez A. THE WORLD AT YOUR FEET? The news selection process in foreign coverage: A comparison of the determinants of foreign news in the Flemish and Dutch press. 2010.
MLA
Van Leuven, Sarah, Karin Raeymaeckers, and Annelore Deprez. “THE WORLD AT YOUR FEET? The News Selection Process in Foreign Coverage: A Comparison of the Determinants of Foreign News in the Flemish and Dutch Press.” 2010. Print.