News from Abroad

News from Abroad

News from Abroad

News from Abroad


Over the last two decades, following major conflicts in Kuwait, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Americans began to participate more actively than ever before in the world's numerous nationalist, religious, and ethnic conflicts. During this time, however, American news organizations drastically reduced the resources devoted to in-depth coverage of international affairs. Viewing foreign bureaus as an expensive luxury, major news providers closed overseas offices and cut the number of full-time correspondents working abroad, relying instead upon improvised news crews flown in on short notice to cover the latest crisis.

In this insightful and hard-hitting investigation, former international news correspondent Donald R. Shanor follows the deterioration of international reporting and assesses the dangers that arise when U.S. citizens and policymakers are uninformed about foreign events until local problems erupt into international crises. Shanor also considers three major factors--technology, immigration, and globalization--that are influencing and complicating the debate over whether quality or profit should prevail in foreign reporting. In only a decade, the Internet has become a primary source of information for millions of Americans, particularly for younger generations. At the same time, a surge in America's immigrant population is rapidly changing the country's ethic and cultural landscape--making news from abroad local news in many cities--while global business practices are broadening the range of issues directly affecting the average citizen.

News from Abroad provides a comprehensive portrait of the contemporary state of international news coverage and argues for the importance of maintaining networks of experienced journalists who can cover difficult subjects, keep Americans informed about the global economy, deliver early warnings of impending disasters and threats to national security, and prevent the United States from falling into cultural isolation.


The American media are caught between profit and performance. Protected by the Constitution, anointed with the role of a Fourth Estate that monitors the other three branches of government, the nations newspapers and broadcast outlets are also beholden to their shareholders and other owners in an era when 20 percent profits are considered only as a bar to be raised.

These dual duties were difficult enough to perform in the ordinary conditions of the nations life. But since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the mobilization of the nation to respond to them, the media have had to accept an additional burden.

It centers on news from abroad. Most of the media neglected the issues and affairs outside Americas borders in the decade between the celebrations at the end of the cold war and the frightful beginning of the war on terror. Most made up for the neglect in the days and months that followed by abandoning some of their less pressing pursuits like Hollywood and courtroom dramas to deal with the ideas, causes, and tactics of the terror movements threatening the United States.

This book is about the media’s response to the challenges of reporting on the United States and the world, both before and after the attacks on New York and Washington thrust journalists into the role of national informant, explainer, and consoler. It is also about the conflicts inherent in the media’s other role as money earner.

With many thousands of centers of news, producing papers, magazines, radio, television, and Internet information, no single judgment can be applied to the media’s performance before or after September 11. Many journalists and organizations have won praise and prizes; others have been criticized for their shortcomings. abc, one of the leaders of American journalism, managed to take both positions on the issue of what kinds of programs the public would . . .

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