Globalization v.s. Localization

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

There have been many studies about the impact of globalization. It is the fact that globalization has its certain impact on all sectors and aspects of our society, including journalism. I’d like to discuss about the effect of globalization on journalism.

We can see the globalization in journalism through the merge of big media players in the world. Till today, we have only few giant media players which dominate the whole global media industry such as Time Warner, Disney, Berteksmann, News Corp. They are called TransNational Corporations or TNC. So what is the effect of globalization on journalism? Boyd-Barrett and Rantanen (1998) proposed that commercialization and technology have combined to alter the media because news now can be seen as a commodity which can be bought or sold.

It is because of the domination of those TNCs listed above, and their identifications of commercial needs, the standardization of media’s message and target audience.  They put commercial interests before the public’s right to know. Public interest is defined to constitute of public’s right to know, public’s need to know, and public’s want to know. The order of importance also follows as the right know, the need to know, and the want to know. However, Josephi (2005) claimed that journalists in the global age prioritized the public’s want to know rather than to other two. Celebrities’ private life are very much well-focused by journalists. These entertainment news and soft news undoubtedly helps to increase newspapers’ and magazines’ circulation. Advertising also plays a part in shifting journalism away from its role of fourth estate (Campbell, 2004).

In my opinion, I think journalist should do something more than just simply tickle the “want-to-know” interest of the public. However, I think journalists have very little power over the news stories they want to cover. Firstly, in the news room, journalists are actually assigned which news stories to cover for that day. Secondly, which news stories come at the fist page of a newspaper (a indication of importance) very much depends on the layout editor. Thirdly, I think journalists have less power on their news stories as well because they have to frame the stories accordingly to their company’s agenda. Let’s take the example of CNN and Fox News! The two giant media players have their own agenda, therefore, the journalists working for them have to follow it. CNN journalists have to frame their stories in favor of Republicans and Fox News journalists have to frame their stories in favor of Democratics. That’s the war of media companies in the battle of news. I’d like to forward a question to you all, that what can an ordinary journalist do to preserve the mission of journalism which is to serve the public’ right to know and need to know?

How about the localization of news? Is it important? I would say yes. News is travelling all over the world. Like the tsunami in Japan last month, the news, photos, videos are covered within few hours after the incident. The globalization helps to break the boundaries between countries in order to facilitate the flow of news and information. However, localization is also very much vital in journalism. In the global news which is meant to cater all general readers, we may not find specific information we wish to know. For example, we might wish to know whether Singaporeans living in Japan are affected by the tsunami, how many of them are trapped in the tsunami area, etc. This is where localization plays its part in serving the public.


Boyd-Barrett, O & Rantanen, T 1998, The Globalization of News, SAGE, London.

Josephi, B 2005, Journalism in the Global Age: Between Normative and Empirical, International Communication Gazette, vol.67, no.6, pp. 575-590.

Campbell, V 2004, Information Age Journalism: Journalism in an International Context, Arnold, UK.

  1. Joleen :) says:

    i believe that the main issue of globalisation is more of the fact that media superpowers are casting too much influence, hence gradually shaping the world into one with a ‘united’ viewpoints. it may be dangerous idea that only one (main) source of information is given to all, we learn about the same thing about the world and are lead to seeing things with the same perception. but well, media superpowers may be powerful, but the Internet is even more powerful, it is practically impossible that other voices died down completely due to the increasing influence of the big media corporations.

  2. Andy Wang says:

    Hi Khanh,
    I agree with you that as much as journalists wants to observe the principles of journalism, they are very much stifled and restricted by their big bosses. To change this overnight would be an almost impossible tasks. In my opinions, journalist could very much influence this change bit by bit, taking small steps at a time. For example, we can see in the recent GE 2011 that senior journalists have responded to many criticisms about the ruling party by writing full page commentaries in The Straits Times (Page 2). Their comments have most of the time been fair and balanced. While these may not be ‘reports’, it certainly shaped the political landscape and signal a shift in the newspapers’ stance towards political issues.

    -Andy Wang (

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