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3.2 : What is global journalism?

Even though we live in a globalized world, media coverage often fails react to reflect this. Global journalism responds to these shortcomings through an approach to reporting that explores, analyses and reflects on the relations and interconnections between people and events in different parts of the planet.

Journalists interviewing member of Ogiek community in Kenyan Mau forest, Kenya 2018.
Author: Peter Ivanič

All too often in the media, there is a hard distinction between ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ news, despite the fact that we live in an ever more globalized world. The global issues we face cannot be covered accurately from either a ‘domestic’ or ‘foreign’ perspective alone. It means that journalism “requires a major change in serving the public,” as Stephen Ward puts it.

Ward speaks about the globally-minded journalism ethics to serve the changing world that journalism inhabits. He explains that “global journalism ethics holds that transnational principles of human rights and social justice take precedence over personal interests and national interests, when they conflict”. Putting the global community, one global whole, to the forefront and the centre of attention.

Similar assumptions seen and reflected from diverse theoretical perspectives have in the last decade and further been challenged by a number of prominent media theorists, including Peter Berglez, Simon Cottle, Shani Orgad, aforementioned Stephen Ward and many others.

While some newsrooms have a ‘global news’ section,  this is not the same as ‘global journalism’. What the latter describes is not necessarily a greater emphasis on international rather than domestic issues, but a fundamentally different approach to reporting and editorial practice when covering the same stories, founded on intercultural communication, global imagination and a shift in narration.

Issues such as migration, climate change, industrial pollution, tax evasion and many others simply cannot be accurately grasped and analyzed through a narrow lens. Long-sighted vision cannot see local issues clearly, just as a near-sighted perspective cannot glimpse international issues. But what about a different journalistic vision, bringing together the foreign and local at the same time? This is what is meant by a global outlook in reporting.

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3.1 : Why do we need a global outlook?

The challenges humanity faces today and the rapid geopolitical changes taking place around us means that the need to perceive and reflect the global community as a whole is more urgent than ever. With globalization, we find ourselves closely connected to people and countries on the other side of the planet, but the media has often been slow to fully acknowledge that. Journalism with a global outlook – or ‘global journalism’ – could help ensure that media coverage can catch up with this new reality.

3.3 : Where does global journalism come from?

The need for a global approach to journalism can be understood as a long overdue reaction to the changing status quo of the world, its shifting power structures and the complex dynamics driving this transformation, rooted in the growing crises we face in a globalized context.

3.4 : The ‘global outlook’: a shift in the perception of reality

A global outlook expands our understanding of the world and our role in it. It broadens the imaginable boundaries of our understanding of the world, changing it from a dichotomy between a domestic versus foreign outlook to a relations-based global outlook. It brings new ways of interpreting and arranging reality. Thanks to these new skill sets, it enables journalists to connect seemingly unrelated events taking place at different continents, in different positions in local, regional, international and other power structures, into one single coherent story.

3.5 : Why is it important to include a global outlook in reporting?

Free, fair and balanced journalism has always been an important cornerstone of modernity and democracy, empowering people and societies. But the world has changed radically and journalism must adapt to ensure it remains relevant to today’s challenges. With this in mind, global journalism promotes global empowerment and creates the space to debate global issues, problems and solutions. By doing so it makes societies and communities more resilient and better able to withstand the many crises we face.

3.6 : What is NOT global journalism?

Global journalism is not a manual or guide imposed externally on journalists for their enlightenment. On the contrary, it has evolved from within practice and processes in the field. It does not come burdened with predefined morals or assumptions: it simply highlights neglected or disregarded aspects of global politics. It is not in itself corrective, aiming to achieve a particular agenda – it just seeks to accurately reflect the new global reality. Finally, it is not presented as a substitute for either domestic, foreign journalism, but aims to build on the best aspects of both to promote more responsive and far-reaching coverage of the same issues.

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