"America lacks a central voice in terms of both reporting itself to the world and the world to its diverse citizens."

Posted: 25 Aug 2011   Print   Send a link
Market Watch, 22 Aug 2011, Kim Hjelmgaard: "Writing in the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, Emily Bell of Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism said that the BBC is 'omnipresent in the U.K. — an all-encompassing news website, eight national TV channels and ten national radio channels, dozens more local and international channels, [plus] outlets on each platform dedicated to breaking news.' ... [A]mid the litany of established and proliferating news operations tethered to public mandates as well as purse strings — PBS and NPR in the U.S.; China’s Xinhua News and CCTV; Russia’s RT; France 24; Canada’s CBC; NRK in Norway; Australia’s ABC — the BBC stands out, even in these heady days of social media, for its ability to reach 'over the course of the week,' as BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten said recently, 'every single person in the country.' ... Bell, a former journalist for the Guardian, said in her article that 'America lacks a central voice in terms of both reporting itself to the world and the world to its diverse citizens,' and that as a now U.S.-based news consumer she often feels like she has 'no such go-to broadcast news source when big stories break.' ... Time Warner Inc.’s CNN may share some of the same global, stentorian authority of the BBC, the National Public Radio complex may vaguely hew toward a similar political DNA at times, but the former is beholden to stock markets and the latter is in receipt of a paltry $1.43 per person in annual federal funding compared to over $80 per person in the U.K, according to data compiled by the Free Press media-advocacy group." -- I think this analysis sells short the news efforts of ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN. The United States does, nevertheless, need more world news. The trio of CNN International, BBC World News, and Al Jazeera English on more cable systems would help. So would more cooperation between US domestic and international broadcasting. See also the referenced article in Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 2011, Emily Bell.

The Guardian, Comment is Free, 24 Aug 2011, Mark Thompson, BBC director general: "If ... it's argued that, notwithstanding the breadth of choice, too many people choose to consume BBC News, then there are two other obstinate facts to confront. First, the BBC's charter calls for it to try to serve every household; if you want to abolish the BBC by all means advocate that, but if not, is it reasonable to criticise it for doing exactly what it has been asked to do? Second, the British public tell us that one of the key reasons why they use the BBC more than other news providers is because they trust it more than other news sources. If policymakers begin to regard high levels of public trust as a problem to be corrected, we really are in trouble."