-7- U.s. Media Reduce Foreign Coverage.
by Gabriel Roth
Thursday, April 13, 2000
International news coverage has almost vanished from America''s mainstream daily newspapers. Well-respected regional papers that once prided themselves on their foreign coverage are closing bureaus. The Associated Press continues to send out stories from around the world, but editors seldom find space to run them. Newspaper readers are unlikely to learn much about foreign news unless there''s a bombing, a natural disaster, or a financial crisis.
And without newspapers, most Americans have little access to foreign news. Americans are growing increasingly ignorant of events in foreign countries at a time when the global economy is making those events more relevant to their lives.
It was not always this way. In the 1960s--with the Cold War at its height and the Vietnam War, the high-water mark of foreign correspondence, beginning--international coverage dominated the front pages. But foreign news fell out of favor in the 1970s, as editors turned to local news and service-oriented features. Today, stories with exotic datelines typically appear as one-paragraph "briefs" in a slim "world roundup" section.
There are exceptions. The top handful of mainstream American newspapers--the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times--continue to operate a raft of foreign bureaus.
But the readers of average and even better-than-average regional daily newspapers won''t learn much about the world beyond the borders of the U.S. When it comes to allocating news space, for most papers, the hierarchy is clear: Local news comes first, with reports from Washington, D.C., and Hollywood second. The rest of the world is a distant third.
Peter Arnett, "Goodbye World," American Journalism Review, Nov. 1998.