A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

6

The study of internationalnews

Stig Hjar vard
• a distinction between four types of research on news
• a review of previous studies of international news flow
• a critique of Galtung and Ruge’s (1965) classic study
• a research agenda on news and globalization.

FOUR APPROACHES TO NEWS RESEARCH

When providing an overview of the field of international news research, it is useful to specify the level of analysis (i.e., micro or macro), and the kind of perspective applied to the news process (i.e., how the social phenomenon of news is conceptualized). Two perspectives on the news process have dominated research on international news: those of selection and construction. Research using a selection perspective

traditionally focuses on the news ‘event.’ Events in the world are the independent variables determining the structure of foreign news. Here, social institutions (the press, the journalistic profession, the news market, etc.) are said to play a secondary, intermediate role as a ‘selector’ or gatekeeper; they perform such functions as selection, rejection, re-editing, etc.

selection vs. construction of news

The construction perspective takes the opposite view: news is seen as a social artefact. Social conventions and practices, specific values, and the allocation of material resources work together to produce a particular outcome: the news. Here, social institutions constitute the primary variable; the form, content, and volume of foreign news are all products of the social practices of news institutions. In Figure 6.1, these two perspectives are paired with the micro-macro distinction, thus producing a matrix of four approaches to the analysis of international news.

1 In the first approach - micro-level and selection perspective - we find the oldest tradition: gatekeeper analysis. This began with the

seminal study by White (1950), and was further developed by McNelly (1959) to include the whole chain of gatekeepers, from the initial reporting of the event in a foreign location, to the editor of a local newspaper in another part of the world. Even though, during the past two decades, severe criticism of the gatekeeper approach has been raised, it has not completely lost its place in the field (Shoemaker 1991). The concept of gatekeeping intuitively corresponds to certain basic empirical observations at the micro level: foreign news is brought into the newsroom, some of it is selected, rewritten, and so on.

gatekeeping research

2 In the second approach - macro-level and selection perspective - we find the news flow analyses. These studies have so far dominated research on international news; examples are, among many others, UNESCO (1953),

-91-

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A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I - History 13
  • 2 - The Humanities in Media and Communication Research 15
  • 3 - Media, Culture and Modern Times 40
  • Part II - Systematics 59
  • 4 - The Production of Media Fiction 62
  • 5 - The Production of News 78
  • 6 - The Study of International News 91
  • 7 - Discourses of Fact 98
  • 8 - Mediated Fiction 117
  • 9 - Media Effects 138
  • 10 - Media Reception 156
  • 11 - Contexts, Cultures, and Computers 171
  • 12 - History, Media and Communication 191
  • Part III - Practice 207
  • 13 - The Quantitative Research Process 209
  • 14 - The Qualitative Research Process 235
  • 15 - The Complementarity of Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies in Media and Communication Research 254
  • 16 - The Social Origins and Uses of Media and Communication Research 273
  • References 294
  • Index 326
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