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SurgeSearch for the Global in Journalism

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Explicating the concept, ‘Global media’ have been variously defined as those having a global reach or being owned by global transnational corporations. Global news media content also suffers from difficulty separating it out from other forms, although scholars have been experimenting with identifying in content analyses certain intrinsically global issues and perspectives in the news. Some have focused on how certain ‘global’ events such as summits are covered, while others have begun paying closer attention to the journalistic practices that map onto supranational governance.

Sociology of news has examined how ‘global media gatekeepers’ affect the flow of news and information. These have included observations of editorial decisions at specific international news agencies, and more emergent forms of a news organization, such as the way news leaders can participate with others across national boundaries to share agreeable stories. An early content and ethnographic look at some aspect of the global, without offering a fully satisfying conceptualization.

The network society perspective does not always provide clear guidance for empirical work and can seem overly vague to those accustomed to influence as flowing from cause to effect. But it does provide a way of thinking about media globalization that fits the underlying phenomena, especially when coupled with an emphasis on social practices, elites, and specific geographical spaces.

After all, globalization is built on the intensification of connections, so we need a theoretical approach that captures these changing structures. More than a flow of information, journalism is a social practice that adapts to global influences, even if one big ‘global village journalism’ has not evolved. Rather than speaking of ‘flows,’ other network-oriented concepts such as ‘articulation’ capture the sense of influence arising from the coupling across boundaries. Research in this area is relatively sparse, so for now, speak should be more of conceptual pointers rather than specific empirical results.

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