Galtung and global attention patterns

Remember our first session?

We were discussion Johann Galtungs famous text “The structure in Foreign News”. There were several explanaitions for global news attention patterns. Ethan Zuckerman examines three of them for the world of blogs:

“…F9: The more the event concerns elite nations, the more probable that it will become a news item.
F10: The more the event concerns elite people, the more probable that it will become a news item.
F11: The more the event can be seen in personal terms, as due to the actions of specific individuals, the more probable that it will become a news item…” (Galtung/ Ruge 1965)


The following two graphics show attention in global news in mainstream media and blogs:

Figure 1: Visualization of news stories available through Google News, May 5, 2005. Nations depicted in red had the most stories available; nations depicted in dark blue had the fewest (taken from Zuckerman 2005, further sources).

Figure 2: Visualization of blog posts stories indexed by Blogpulse over the 90 days preceding May 5, 2005. Coloring as above (taken from Zuckerman 2005)

There are mixed results in the comparison between these data:

There is “a difference in attention patterns between top bloggers and the blogosphere as a whole – while bloggers as a whole might pay less attention to developing nations than mainstream newspapers, top bloggers might pay less attention to the USA and Israel, and more attention to a diverse set of nations.”

“Of stories germane to a particular region, stories about the Middle East are the best blogged, and stories of South Asia and Africa the worst. Stories about the UK also fared poorly. The latter result is consistent across other news sources- local news and sports stories are the least blogged stories from the New York Times, for instance. A possible explanation: both the BBC and the New York Times have international readerships – local news is likely to be interesting primarily to people living in the coverage area, while other stories have a global audience. Looking closely at links to specific headlines, another pattern becomes apparent – stories that involve a US troop presence, or focus on terrorism are well blogged regardless of what region they are classified into” (both Zuckerman 2005).





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