People often refer to September 11, 2001, as the start of globalisation, or at least the realization for most people that globalisation was upon us, and the impact this would have. Since 2001, the world has become more aware that terrorism, the Internet and news can transcend boundaries (Callahan, 2003, p.1).
Globalisation has had two profound impacts on the audience of journalism. Firstly, globalisation has widened the audience of journalism, as global issues now have a local impact and relevance. Secondly, globalisation has encouraged the deepening of journalism, as the citizen journalist emerged and news has become more local.
Take journalism and news media in the Middle East as an example. The audience has widened, as more people worldwide are tuning into what is happening in the Middle East as it has a local impact. It has also deepened within the Middle East, for example a blogger may write a story about a shop in Khewa, Afghanistan shutting down because of increased violence in the village.
The Internet is at the core of the changing audience of journalism as it actively encourages an increase in the spread of news stories through online news (width), and also provides the media for individuals to publish news stories that are deeper on a local level. Mitu explains that it is “the speed, rhythm, and interconnectedness of online media [that] encourage[s] an idea of news as an ‘always on’ utility” (2010, p. 186). With increased accessibility comes a larger and more diverse audience, and people who wouldn’t normally purchase a newspaper are now more aware of local, national and global affairs.
Steve Johnson, a New York news aggregator, discusses how every morning he checks blogs which cover “a part of my neighborhood and community that I wasn’t getting from The New York Times or other traditional media” (Miller, 2008, p. 30). This shows how the audience of news is growing locally, as news is more specific to the individual users.
Miller (2008, p. 32), discusses how this change in audience interaction with the news has been catalyzed by social media sites “such as Facebook and MySpace” which give “consumers the tools to become self-publishers”. These self-publishing medias have also helped “demolish national censorship regimes which may have created state-constructed fantasies at odds with local realities – as in Cambodia and China” (Knight, 2003, p. 11), and therefore this increase of news depth allowed by the Internet and in particular social media, has had a widespread impact is allowing the participation of the audience in news.
An increase reach of international news, and therefore a more diverse audience, has been aided by globalisation. This can be explained by looking at The London Times in the 1960s whose advertising slogan was ‘Top People Read The Times’, which “was indicative of the confidence newspapers used to have in the social homogeny of their readers” (Thurman, 2007, p. 285). In the 1960s, news had a limited geographical reach as they were restricted by “distribution mechanisms” and therefore journalists were writing for a very narrow readership (Thurman, 2007, p. 285).
Today, the Internet and other distribution methods has allowed The London Times and similar papers to have a global reach, and as a result “audiences are rapidly shifting from almost exclusively local, to communities of interest that transcend geographic and political boundaries” (Thurman, 2007, p. 286). For example, once an almost exclusively UK paper, The Guardian now receives “78 per cent of its web readers from overseas” (Thurman, 2007, p. 287).
Through looking at the changing audience of the news, it is easy to see that the readers, listeners and viewers of journalism are not static, and will continue to change in years to come. This does not
arrive without challenges for journalism, as stated by Professor Alan Knight, “[journalists] must address the challenges of the new technologies — developing multifaceted communications which combine text, audio, television and animation. At the same time, they must also retain the traditional attributes of accuracy, clarity and ethical reporting (2003, p. 13)”. Globalisation of news media has changed the world of journalism, and in the next decade the audience of news will continue to widen and deepen as the Internet provides more ways to view and publish news.
Callahan, S. (2003). New challenges of globalization. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 18(1), 3. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Knight, A. (2003). Globalised journalism in the Internet age. Ejournalist.com.au, 3(2). Retrieved from http://ejournalist.com.au/v3n2/knightr.pdf
Miller, R. (2008, July). The new journalism: it’s audience participation time. EContent, 31(6), 30-34. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1508324581).]
Mitu, B. (2010). Cultural journalism and globalization. Geopolitics, History and International Relations, 2(1), 185-190. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2132388681).
Thurman, N. (2007). The globalization of journalism online. Journalism, 8(3), 285-307. DOI: 10.1177/1464884907076463