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This paper is aimed at determining which part of the world is, in any way, privileged in terms of news coverage. For this purpose, we intend to carry out a content analysis of several websites, which feature both local and international news. In particular, we are interested in such regions as the United States, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as some local areas like Miami, Paris, etc. This paper will also contain operational definitions of such terms as population, a unit of analysis, and convenience sampling because these notions bear direct relevance to this research and explain the research methodology.
We are going to examine the websites of such international news agencies as BBC, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, and Miami Herald1. It is necessary to show how frequently they post articles about this or that part of the globe. It should be noted that we are going to focus only on the front page of each website, and this is one of the limitations of this study.
If we are speaking about content analysis, the term population usually means a set of messages that is being studied (Kimberly, p 74). In our case, these are news reports, whereas the unit of analysis is a certain word, theme, or phrase, which should be scrutinized. As far as our research is concerned, we can say that its unit of analysis is a reference to a specific region, city, or local area. This is the key detail to which we should pay attention.
This research is based mostly on convenience sampling, which means that we have selected those messages, which are readily available to us, and this also constitutes a significant drawback because convenience sampling is always regarded as unreliable (Golan & Zaidner, p 970).
The given study should not be viewed as a historical analysis, as we do not compare the news coverage strategies throughout a certain period of time. More likely, we study the situation at a specific point in time.
The results of the study can be summarized in table format
|News Agency||The United States||The Middle East||Africa||Local Area|
|Al Jazeera||20||30||3||Jerusalem 10 times|
|Le Monde||5||4||3||Paris (7)|
|Miami Herald.||50||0||0||Miami (50), Florida (22)|
Judging from these results, we can argue that the most privileged region of the world in terms of news coverage is the Middle East. In the vast majority of cases, the articles about this part of the globe are associated with terrorism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are posted on the website of each international agency (BBC, Al Jazeera, Le Monde). Finally, Africa appears to be the most underrepresented in news reports, especially if our observations are based only on front pages. Perhaps, a more thorough investigation would produce different results. As regards, local areas we can single out Jerusalem, Paris, Miami, Florida, and London. Again, we have to stress the idea that Jerusalem is mentioned only in connection with the on-going struggle between Israeli and Palestinians.
Of course, one can object to our conclusions by saying that the articles about the United States are much more numerous than those about the Middle East. Yet, the United States is privileged only in Miami Herald, and this is quite understandable because Miami Herald is a US-based company.
In part, these findings might be explained by the fact that the websites have a different structure. For instance, on the BBC website, news articles are strictly divided into various categories like business, culture, cinema, world news, and the headlines usually refer only to the most urgent or recent events. In turn, Le Monde or Al Jazeera has a different structure of the front page, and on their websites, the articles are presented without a specific order.
Limitations and future research
As it has been pointed out earlier, this study has several drawbacks: first, we have examined only the front page of each website. This is why we cannot guarantee that our findings are one hundred percent accurate. Moreover, in order to ensure complete reliability of the results, research should select more than four websites, but at least ten or fifteen. Yet, even despite these limitations, this content analysis can give rise to very sophisticated research.
For example, it is quite interesting to examine how the news about a certain region is presented, and what is the most dominant theme, or whether there is any positive and negative bias toward this region. Therefore, we can assume that such type of research can be quite fruitful. Moreover, its findings can significantly improve the functioning of international agencies because, in some cases, their news presentation leaves much to be desired.
The content analysis of the informational of four news websites has indicated that the most privileged region in terms of news coverage is the Middle East. Yet, the news articles about this region concentrate mostly on terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The second most scrutinized part of the globe is the United States. Finally, the articles about Africa are the most underrepresented.
Golan G. & Zaidner L. Creative Strategies in Viral Advertising: An Application of Taylor’s Six-Segment Message Strategy Wheel. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 12 (2008), pp 959-952.
Kimberly. A. The content analysis guidebook. SAGE, 2002.
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