Exploring Reader Interest in International News.(newspaper Readers)

By Hargrove, Thomas; Stempel, Guido H.,, III | Newspaper Research Journal, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Exploring Reader Interest in International News.(newspaper Readers)


Hargrove, Thomas, Stempel, Guido H.,, III, Newspaper Research Journal


Many studies have explored reader interest in international news, with mixed results. Some indicate the public would like more international news, while others indicate a lack of reader interest in international news. Weaver and Mauro found that news about foreign governments ranked sixth among 17 categories for men and 10th among 17 categories for women in reader interest. (1) Shaw and Riffe, in a study of two small towns in Tennessee, found that news about national or foreign events ranked first in interest in one town and ninth in the other out of 21 categories. (2) Nanney in a study of three small towns along the Ohio River--two in Ohio and one in West Virginia--found that international ranked seventh in one town and eighth in the other two out of 25 categories. (3) Stephens found that 8 percent of readers wanted more international news, but at the same time 12 percent wanted more local news. (4) Burgoon, Burgoon and Wilkinson, in a summary of four Gannett markets, found that world events ranked first in readership among 37 categories. (5)

What these studies do not do is to define exactly what international news is. When we ask a respondent about international news, is he or she thinking of the war in the Middle East, a train wreck in China, an election in Italy or a recession in Japan? This study assumes that the interest in these four items is not the same. We set out to find out something about what kinds of stories readers would be interested in.

Sparks and Winter did look at reader interest in 12 specific types of international stories. They found that readers thought there was too much violence and wanted more news about culture and customs and ordinary people. (6)

Perhaps readers define international news in terms of what they see and hear in the media. It has been suggested that international news is really newsabout Americans with foreign datelines. Rifle's study of linkage to U.S. interests of international news in The New York Times tends to support that. He found that between 1980 and 1990 39 percent of the international stories in the Times had some connection to the U.S. (7) Or perhaps readers accept the complaint often heard in journalistic circles that international coverage is largely coverage of earthquakes and coups. (8)

Another perspective comes from a study by Tai of the top 10 stories of the year in eight countries from 1988 to 1998. His analysis of the Associated Press stories found that more than 40 percent had to do with the actions of government. Accidents and disasters tied with violence and terrorism for second place with 11.8 percent, and stories on the economy came next with 9.1 percent. (9) For the same period, accidents and disasters scored even higher in the coverage by United Press International.

Method

We made a national telephone survey of 1,007 randomly selected adults June 17 to June 28, 2001. Using an automated dialing system that redials numbers that don't answer, we had a completion rate of 66.4 percent. Twenty headlines were read to the respondent. The respondent was asked if he or she would be very interested, somewhat interested or not interested in the story represented by that headline.

Each headline had three characteristics--geographic region, positive or negative direction and a topic category. Also, there were four about United States persons or actions in foreign countries, as suggested by Rifle's findings, and three about foreigners in the United States. The intent was to create headlines about events that really do happen or could happen and are of medium interest.

The headlines are shown in Table 1. They are grouped in the table by geographic region. The regions and the corresponding numbers are Canada and Mexico, 1-4; Western Europe, 8-10; Southeast Asia, 11-13; Middle East, 14-17, and Africa, 18-20.

In addition stories 5-7 are about foreigners in the United States, and stories 9, 13, 14 and 19 involve U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Exploring Reader Interest in International News.(newspaper Readers)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?