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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). Since 1950, research on the mechanisms that influence this unequal news selection has identified several determinants of the international news flow, such as the geographic distance between countries, economic ties between countries, or deviance. Wu (2000) identified nine systemic determinants of international news. Nevertheless, the last two decades we have witnessed two important evolutions (Sreberny-Mohammadi, 1995; Wu, 2000; Golan, 2008; Wang, 2009) that may have altered the determinants of international news selection. First, the global socio-economic and political environment has changed dramatically in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War and the terroristic attacks of 9/11. Second, the arrival of new communication technologies, especially the Internet, offers new possibilities for international communication. For the impact of trade volume and presence of international news agencies has already been demonstrated by Wu (2000, 2003, 2007), we examined the influence of the remaining seven systemic determinants on the news selection process in the post-9/11 era. These are: economic power (ranking in world trade), population, geographic size, freedom of the press, cultural affinity, colonial ties and physical distance. To examine the impact of these seven systemic determinants, we set up a study 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 content analysis to study the presence of these countries in foreign news reports. 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). The content analysis showed that Europe and the United States are the most covered regions in the world. Beside this, the frequent appearance of Muslim countries such as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the content analysis is remarkable. Findings indicate that ranking in world trade and language are still important predictors of the amount of coverage dedicated to a country. In contrast, population, geographic size, freedom of the press and physical distance no longer have a significant influence. 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, news determinants, newspapers, content analysis, foreign news
pages
15 pages
conference name
IAMCR
conference location
Brage, portugal
conference start
2010-07-18
conference end
2010-07-22
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
1093549
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1093549
date created
2011-01-03 13:01:33
date last changed
2011-01-05 10:43:43
@inproceedings{1093549,
  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). Since 1950, research on the mechanisms that influence this unequal news selection has identified several determinants of the international news flow, such as the geographic distance between countries, economic ties between countries, or deviance. Wu (2000) identified nine systemic determinants of international news. Nevertheless, the last two decades we have witnessed two important evolutions (Sreberny-Mohammadi, 1995; Wu, 2000; Golan, 2008; Wang, 2009) that may have altered the determinants of international news selection. First, the global socio-economic and political environment has changed dramatically in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War and the terroristic attacks of 9/11. Second, the arrival of new communication technologies, especially the Internet, offers new possibilities for international communication. For the impact of trade volume and presence of international news agencies has already been demonstrated by Wu (2000, 2003, 2007), we examined the influence of the remaining seven systemic determinants on the news selection process in the post-9/11 era. These are: economic power (ranking in world trade), population, geographic size, freedom of the press, cultural affinity, colonial ties and physical distance. 

To examine the impact of these seven systemic determinants, we set up a study 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 content analysis to study the presence of these countries in foreign news reports. 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). The content analysis showed that Europe and the United States are the most covered regions in the world. Beside this, the frequent appearance of Muslim countries such as Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the content analysis is remarkable. Findings indicate that ranking in world trade and language are still important predictors of the amount of coverage dedicated to a country. In contrast, population, geographic size, freedom of the press and physical distance no longer have a significant influence. 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,news determinants,newspapers,content analysis,foreign news},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Brage, portugal},
  pages        = {15},
  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, Sarah, 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 IAMCR.
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.