learning pages / Global outlook

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.

Close to the shore of Saint Louis, city threatened by climate change, Senegal, 2019.
Author: Jana Čavojská

‘the others’

The shock of recognition! In an electric information environment, minority groups can no longer be contained – ignored. Too many people know too much about each other. Our new environment compels commitment and participation. We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other.

Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage (1967)

Marshall McLuhan coined the influential term global village back in the 1960s. Since then, global society has changed even more than this Canadian media theorist could have imagined: today there is no question about whether we should report ‘on’ the global village, but rather how we can effectively report ‘from’ the global village.

Given the increasing number of global challenges and megatrends as well as a shift to a globalized order, with changing roles for borders and nation states, there is an increasing need to perceive and reflect the global community as a whole.

Due to globalization we now find ourselves in much closer contact with peoples and countries on the other side of the world. Despite the fact that globalization is virtually everywhere – in fact, it is almost impossible to hide from – many, journalists included, still see it as something rather abstract. We cannot see the wood for the trees.

Global journalism, with a global outlook, could help make the globalization process more concrete, making the interconnections created by globalization more visible and tangible for audiences through a new lens. This up-to-date approach, building on the existing but separate strengths of the best domestic and foreign journalism, could support the development of more diverse and accurate content that reflects the realities of today.

Journalists could, by adopting this viewpoint, become transnational communicators bringing coverage for global audience, media professionals who have not their social contract concluded just with a particular public or society they live in. Instead, they should have concluded something much wider – a multi-society contract with the entire global community (find more in the post on globally-minded journalism ethics inspired by works of Stephen Ward).

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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.

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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