Syndicate content

News Coverage

It's Bad News . . . Again

Shanthi Kalathil's picture

It happens so regularly, it's nearly clockwork: somebody looks up from news of the latest disaster and asks, "Where's the GOOD news?"

Charles Kenny asks this question of development coverage in his latest blog post for the Center for Global Development. There are several reasons why nobody knows about the tremendous progress being made in Africa, he and others argue: it's hard for the media to repeatedly report on disasters averted; tragedy sells; NGOs and aid agencies have an incentive to trumpet crises in order to keep international attention focused and money coming in.  But the costs of continuously negative coverage of development include deterred investment, dispirited local populations and aid fatigue among donor nations.

The Burglar Alarm Standard of News

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

In my last post, I mentioned some of the problems that public opinion as a political force can pose when citizens aren't sufficiently informed or just don't care about political issues. I mentioned Walter Lippmann's suggestion to relieve citizens of their participation in political decision making and leave it all up to experts. Another suggestion comes from political scientist John Zaller, who calls for a "burglar alarm journalism." The principle is related to Lippmann's: Zaller proposes to leave the evaluation of political issues to, of all things, the media.