In our democratic society, the media and its news coverage is a significant tool for knowledge influencing public opinions and awareness. By managing the visibility (Chouliaraki) of global issues the media can help or hinder the process of becoming global citizens.
Where the media is concerned, there is often a grapevine that exists between an event occurring and the publics understanding of this event. The grapevine consists of “journalistic routines and standardised procedures” (Dr Sukhmani Khorana lecture). The stories are being chopped, mixed, and minced into a juicy “narrativised” piece of journalism.
The reason news organisations and editors follow a specific format or procedure when producing stories is simply because it works. The prioritisation, organisation, and narrativisation, of these stories are “determined by pre-existing news agenda and modes of operation” that captivate more readers for longer. (Peter Lee Wright)
So we have two problems:
a) News values, and news frames are pre-prioritising our knowledge of the world around us.
b) Consumers of news are structuring this framework by responding more enthusiastically with these formats of news.
With media platforms such as twitter and facebook it is easier now to measure what stories generate the most ‘buzz’ or level of engagement from the public. Unfortunately it seems to be the closest in ‘cultural proximity‘ deeming certain stories the most relevant. The news of Kim Kardashians cat dying in 2012 became the feature article of various news outlets. One has to consider what stories this was replacing….
It is hard to determine whether the media creates our priorities or is a reflections of societies already existent predisposition. But this problem wouldn’t need to be argued if there wasn’t the risk of a misguided public opinion. News values vary from culture to culture, so the cultural gaps between nations is able to widen through the media and its news. In this modern age where globalisation is key to an ‘ultimate utopia’, a globally standardised way of prioritising and presenting news should be the goal. However we are far from the ‘global village’, that is why it is becoming more and more important to be an active global citizen, engaging in the global news, but contributing to it aswell, and relying on our own capabilities to seek out global news stories to form personal opinions.
Chouliaraki, L. (2008) ‘The symbolic power of transnational media: Managing the visibility of suffering’. Global Media and Communication, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 329-351.