International Journalism—Newspaper & Media

There are many international newspaper periodicals that have already taken on those role of globalization. In fact, two that are published in the United States are in the top ten international new ranked according to circulation, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. We are all, as Americans, familiar with these titles but so is the rest of the world. Japan holds many of the top ranking circulators, as well.

Any newspaper or journalist knows that when reporting on anything, it is best to stay unbiased. Their job is to report the facts and let the reader come to their own conclusion based on the beliefs or knowledge about situations they already have. It is not always easy, but it is always necessary. As a global media, this is all the more important. When there are other people in other cultures with other laws and belief systems reading the same paper as people from complete opposite aspects, then it is necessary to be unbiased in order to stay sensitive to every reader’s needs. As an American journalist, the assignment might be to write a story on conflicts in the Middle East. Whatever the topic, it may be hard for a person, with real human emotion, to not laud American’s for their work or even inadvertently offend Middle Eastern government with even a simple comment in the article. They have to be aware that people in the Middle East may read that very same article, as well, and we cannot cater against one nationality for another no matter where the writer is coming from. In fact, America is so extremely diverse in itself that different cultures can be effected right within our own borders.

Another example that is not political is the news of the Ebola outbreak. This simply has to be reported on and has been on many international levels. After all, this is international news since it spans from Africa to the United States. Reporters have to share the alarming news without making America look incompetent for how they are handling the Ebola outbreak and without scaring people away from Africa. They have to strike a balance between awareness and hysteria. As we can see just from our own word of mouth and the oh-so helpful newsfeeds of Facebook, some people are closer to hysteria than really necessary and it is up to these types of reporters to ease that tension by correcting misinformation or just enlightening readers. If we want to be a global community, we have to unite all communities through information simply because no one can be everywhere and this gives anyone a chance to inform themselves.

This reminds me of a news report I saw on CNN today. CNN can be accessed internationally and can be seen by many people. There was a report that said American prison systems were now considering a “no-beard” policy and every inmate would have to have their facial hair shaved off before being permitted to enter into the facility. There was an uproar because there were many accusations that it infringes on people’s religious and cultural rights. Now the Supreme Court has to get involved to determine whether or not this rule should, indeed, take effect. I am sure that this “no-beards” rule came to fruition because there were significant problems with the inmates regarding facial hair, such as gang affiliations, but the stripping of that right has made an extreme case, as well. Thinking on this class as this report was going on, I thought of how this might come across in the situation of globalization. This showed a severe lack of understanding in that aspect and maybe even made the American penal system seem a little ignorant of cultures and the global agenda. I understand that these people are inmates and are serving time for committing crimes but it reminded me of when the Native Americans were forced to cut their hair against everything they believed in their culture. I cannot imagine having to be the person to shave off a Muslim’s beard and justify it as necessary. If globalization is going to be possible, there has to be an awareness of these very things. Also, globalization will be all about picking our battles. As a mother and a wife, we have to pick our battles all of the time in order not to be fighting our kids constantly. Is it really worth the fight, the backlash, the terrible image or should they simply let people keep their beards. After all, what would be next? Synonymous clothing is already in effect. Prison systems cannot implement tattoo policies and inmates, with such little resources, will always find a way to affiliate themselves with gangs.

I would like to get people’s thoughts on this particular news story and how it might relate to globalization and what we have learned so far.

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8 thoughts on “International Journalism—Newspaper & Media”

  1. Hi Keary:

    Thanks for your most thought-provoking post. Your story about the CNN report on prison beards has my thoughts going in 100 directions. The only thing I might offer in response is that I do have a friend who works in a maximum security prison as a guard, and he tells me that the main problem with facial beards that they are tugged on during brawls, which leads to injuries. Also, some prisoners hide weapons in their beards. Also–and I know this sounds crazy–but depending on how long the beard is, a prisoner can pluck enough of the hairs and make a weapon or a key pick out of it.

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    1. Keary,
      You bring some excellent discussion points. In regards to American media and globalization, I think the evidence shows that many American’s and our media pick and choose our definition of globalization. We like the fact that we can improve our economy through global markets; however, we pick and choose which cultures and countries we respect and which ones we see as a threat or unknown. Furthermore, the no beard policy is any different. The US prison system can utilize resources and goods from a global market while not considering cultural and religious implications of the inmates. Unfortunately, we as American’s pick and choose our interpretation of globalization to satisfy our own interest. I understand that the prison system’s need to have regulations, I just doubt there is any consideration for the global inmate. Thank you for sharing.

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      1. I do agree that globalization, at this point, is more of an economic business move than a humanitarian or political move. It would be very profitable for all of the wealth, smart, business oriented countries to work together and thus profit more. This is probably why a lot of the articles we read were strictly regarding respecting diversity in the workplace in order to work cohesively. It will probably start out that way and take a lot more time to manifest into actual general globalization that includes the entire globe without hope of anything profitable in return other than peaceful existence.

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    2. It is an internal struggle, isn’t it? I knew there were probably multiple beard-related incidents that probably provoked such a measure but it is hard to decide which side to land on. I live in America and still really do not have all the information. I can only imagine how this might look to outside countries. Without all of the information it comes off as oppressive but, then again, safety is a legitimate concern too!

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  2. Keary,

    It’s interesting how you wrote that journalists know that when reporting anything that their biases should stay out of the equation. I agree, but I feel that this often is not the case. Every newspaper or journalist has an agenda. I think we’ve become foolish to think that we can somehow get rid our biases, which you kind of noted. We are human after call. However, it needs to be curbed.

    Also, I would put those pictures of USA Today and the Wall Street Journal below the first paragraph. But that’s just my stylistic preference.

    Good job!

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  3. Hi, Keary!

    I appreciate how you admitted it’s “not always easy, but it is always necessary” to remain unbiased when writing as a journalist. I imagine it would be difficult to be a journalist because it’s almost like forgetting yourself—it’s so difficult to not have your own perspective enter into a scene! That makes journalism interesting because while it would be difficult to remain unbiased and stay knowledgeable about so many current events, which is all very difficult, while on the other hand, newspaper articles need to be written at an easier reading level to pertain to a large audience. That’s an interesting juxtaposition.

    I liked your observation about how journalists must look at intense situations like the Ebola outbreak: “They have to strike a balance between awareness and hysteria.” It makes me wonder if journalists are just trying to “strike a balance,” are they lying by easing or stretching the truth? I know they have a code of ethics, but do they find it easy to break this? There’s a lot of pressure to share the “truth.”

    Thanks for sharing your blog!
    Dawn

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  4. Hi Keary,

    I like the questioning attitude you take in your writing. Exploring origins and asking open-ended questions, questioning systems is always a good way to come across new discoveries.

    USA Today is owned by The Gammett Company, and The Wall Street Journal is owned by, well, Wall Street, or Dow Jones. What are the vested interest of these groups? I couldn’t find a lot in a quick search on the former, but the latter, as we know has had its issues with corruption and self-promotion. I ask myself, who owns these publications and in what ways might they try to protect their vested interests? It doesn’t take much in the news to have spikes in the stock market. Public perception of media, especially published mainstream media, tends to veer to the naive side.

    Great job looking further into systems, for example the American penal system. In comparison, Northern European systems seem to focus on retraining and helping prisoners find their places as productive members of society, and Norway, for example, has the lowest rate of reoffending in Europe. Here is an article from The Guardian, a UK source. I think a good rule of thumb is to compare news originating from several countries with different cultures on the same issue, and see how they compare: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/25/norwegian-prison-inmates-treated-like-people

    Insightful post with great questions. I enjoyed reading it.

    Rhea

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  5. Hi Keary —

    Thanks for bringing up many good points about journalists and their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to global reporting. Many news agencies describe themselves as covering the globe, when an analysis would probably show large chunks of the world that they ignore. On the other hand, since you bring up the Ebola stories, I’d like to point out that some of the most excellent reporting of the decade is taking place right now thanks to American journalists who have literally embedded themselves with Red Cross workers to survey the horrors in villages across West Africa. The photographers as well have produced heart-rending photos. I just read Aryn Rand’s report in TIME, and I feel for how she’s risking her life every time she suits up to enter a hospital treating Ebola victims, then gets sprayed down with chlorine. Are some journalists biased, reporting with an agenda? Sure, but the vast majority of them went to report what is going on the world, with a sense of objectivity, fact-finding, balance, clarity, accuracy, and in Rand’s case — courage.

    Thanks for the good read — Deborah

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