ARTICLE: Who sets the international news agenda?

Picture: earth by Beth Scupham, license CC BY 2.0

Wealthy countries have a big influence in deciding how other countries perceive the world. Lei Guo, of Boston University, and Chris J. Vargo, of University of Colorado Boulder, studied global intermedia agenda setting and the flow of international news.

Using the GDELT open source data, researchers conducted a big data analysis of about 54 million news items from 4,708 online news sources from 67 countries in 2015. The countries were categorized to core, semiperiphery, and periphery countries.

Although the global media landscape has changed, core countries continue to attract most news attention globally, and also influence the news in other countries. International news flow is however, not as hierarchical and United States -centric as it used to be, the study finds.

The cross-national agenda setting effect at best moderate, the researchers note. Also, online-only media in core countries are not necessarily more influential in setting the agenda than media in peripheral countries.

The researchers conclude that “while a country’s newsworthiness may still follow a core-peripheral structure in international news flow, the country’s capability to set other countries’ news agenda does not necessarily do so.”

The article “Global Intermedia Agenda Setting” was published in the Journal of Communication and is available online (free abstract).

Picture: earth by Beth Scupham, license CC BY 2.0

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