Media corporations are for profit like any other business. They have products, employee’s, managers and consumers. They operate with traditional business sense in most cases, getting the most out of any given story and reflecting what the people want. Put frankly, this is the problem with news media.
In April 2014, 200 hundred female school children were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Shortly after their disappearance the story gained traction on western media because of a hashtag supposedly spearheaded by an American mother. The problem here is that we had an American woman on American media leading an American campaign to get back Nigerian children. But most unsurprisingly the hashtag was started by a Nigerian woman in actuality which would have been apparent to anyone who cared about the issue enough to Google it. In this example the stone cold truth is that western media just didn’t give a damn without the western angle. Instead of investing in another culture and trying to understand the situation we found a way to make the news story valuable without contributing anything to a solution.
One Australian is worth one hundred Africans if we were to be honest with our news media’s coverage of world events. But what is most sad is that this makes sense, not in actuality, but in “what the audience wants”. To get the importance and resonance of the situation we want something close to home. I would just say this is an American problem but Australia has the worlds highest media consolidation, meaning a less diverse range of views in our public sphere. It is becoming more and more crucial for us to reconsider our traditional news media values. When we do not associate ourselves with global issues in a meaningful manner we all loose out, especially for Australians in this media and government driven hysteria. “Since 9/11 popular American media had mostly followed the Bush agenda of characterizing the Middle East as the crucible of terror, with only Israel as a symbol of democratic values.” (Wright, 2011).
Globalization can be incredibly beneficial in humanistic endeavors. If everyone were to be properly informed upon the situations and conflicts taking place in the world in an unbiased manner we would be much more likely to save human lives and create a more informed and hopefully caring global community.
Lee-Wright, P. 2011, News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage, Goldsmiths College, University of London, viewed 27 Sept 2014, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/260151/mod_resource/content/1/Week%208_Lee-Wright.pdf.
Tufekci, Z. 2014, ‘Diversity, Credit and Hashtag Activism: How a Nigerian Movement Got Hijacked’, TechPresident, 9 May, viewed 26 Sept, http://techpresident.com/news/25004/diversity-credit-hashtag-activism-nigerian-movement-hijacked.