learning pages / Global outlook

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.

Interviewing shopkeeper in Nairobi, Kenya, 2018. Author: Peter Ivanič

Global journalism did not materialize out of the blue: the fact it has emerged just now is not an accident. Swedish media theorist Peter Berglez, having in mind variety of theorists and their works (Ulrich Beck, Nancy Fraser, Anthony Giddens, David Harvey among others) has identified two factors in its development:

  1. The crises we face, which were once local, have suddenly become global, while human condition itself has become cosmopolitan. This is exemplified by the coverage of migration: not that long ago, this topic was considered almost exclusively a foreign issue, sometimes culminating in crises somewhere far from the EU or the so-called developed world. But recently, as the effects of these crises have been felt at the EU borders, it is now treated as much as a domestic as a foreign issue. In this content, a global approach to coverage is better suited to covering migration and other issues.
  2. The world is undergoing seismic geopolitical changes. The Westphalian order, built around the sovereign state and its associated power structures, is now giving way towards a post-Westfalian order. This changing context needs to be understood and reflected by journalists themselves.

To cope with these changes, journalism requires new skills and knowledge (see next chapter). In the words of Peter Berglez, ‘Global journalism becomes a global version of local journalism, taking on the mission to construct a neighbourhood consisting of seven continents’.

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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.

3.2 : 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.

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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