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Bella Mody

What Influences Individual Donations to Disaster Victims?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

We see donation appeals everywhere these days - to help the people in Japan, to help the people in Darfur, to help the people in Haiti. What influences our decision to give? An interesting study comes from British psychologists, who analyzed how individuals respond to donation appeals in the wake of man-made disasters - like war - versus natural disasters. The authors around Hanna Zagefka from Royal Holloway University in London found that natural disasters elicit more donations than those caused by people. Their explanation: people tend to assign some blame to the victims of man-made disaster, while they blame no one for being overrun by a Tsunami.

Media Effects on Foreign Policy

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Recent events in North Africa have intensified speculations about the role of traditional mass media as well as communication technologies in shaping political events and cultures across the world. Media influence on policy, foreign or domestic, has been the subject of some research, but is not generally taken seriously in the relevant disciplines. We have discussed on this blog before that the lack of systematic research and acknowledgement of media influence on policymaking may be due to the indirect nature of this effect. Media do not necessarily influence policymakers directly, but may work through public opinion by shaping what people know and believe about foreign politics. Public opinion, embodied in predominant political views or in election results, can have considerable influence on policymakers that need approval from the electorate.

I recently had the honor of contributing a book review on media influence on foreign policymaking to the foreign policy journal IP Global Edition, published by the German Council on Foreign Relations. I discussed three relevant books: "Unreliable Sources" by John Simpson, "The Al Jazeera Effect" by Philip Seib, and Bella Mody's analysis of "The Geopolitics of Representation in Foreign News." You can find the full review here.

Rallying 'Round Their Own Flags: Bella Mody and Biases in Foreign News Coverage

Antonio Lambino's picture

While traveling abroad, watching or reading news stories about one’s home country can be an eye opening and, at times, disturbing experience.  Unless you come from one of the world’s most powerful countries or an up and coming economic titan, one would quickly get the sense that foreign coverage of the homestead, if any, tends to revolve around natural disasters, major scandals, changes in national leadership, and manmade crises.  I suppose it’s hard to expect otherwise, but there’s more to it than that.  In addition to selective framing and coverage driven by such “news values” as immediacy, recency, and conflict, there’s also national bias.  A recently published book by Prof. Bella Mody, entitled Geopolitics of Representation in Foreign News: Explaining Darfur, argues that the construction of foreign news coverage is determined by several factors, including history and context, on one hand, and national interest, on the other.