More than ever, events that take place across the globe have a major effect on our own countries and immediate communities. The world has become our own backyard, but despite the reach of global media brands, international news is still strongly shaped by national borders. Transnational news reporting is needed to forge a new kind of journalism that is truly global in scope.
Why it Matters:
Rob Wijnberg, founder of The Correspondent, says that our problems don’t stop at our own borders — so why should journalism? Writing on Medium, Wijnberg states that national boundaries are rapidly becoming an impediment rather than an aid to understanding the most pressing issues of our time.
Wijnberg points out the following recent news stories that have global effect:
- The financial crisis that forced taxpayers from multiple European countries to bail out their banks started as a subprime mortgage crisis in the United States and was soon pushed to the boiling point by Greek debt.
- The rapid advance of solar panel technology started with the U.S.-Russian race to the moon gained momentum from German subsidies and skyrocketed thanks to Chinese innovation.
- Fake news posts are generated by content mills in Macedonia and distributed by algorithms designed in Silicon Valley.
But while multinationals, tech giants, ecosystems, and algorithms operate at a global scale, journalists still tend to default to a national perspective when covering them. Much of what is reported on the global scale is presented as “foreign news” — a distinction that is important and dangerous, as it trains readers to view those events as remote and disconnected from their own lives.
Most newspapers today still make that distinction between national and global news, but to understand important events happening on the national and local scene, readers need a deeper insight into the underlying systems and structures that are everywhere across the globe.
Eliza Anyangwe, managing editor of The Correspondent, says, “By understanding journalistic ‘beats’ as transnational themes rather than issues that exist within geographic boundaries, by tapping into the knowledge and reach of our members, and by investing and experimenting with storytelling tools, we have an opportunity to forge a new kind of journalism that is truly global, rather than chews the world down to convenient tropes and stereotypes for one narrow audience. The ambition is not that any group or region disappear from view but rather that more come into view.”
The Bottom Line:
The Correspondent hires English-speaking reporters from around the world with transnational beats, to achieve this type of journalism. With the help of members from 130 countries and counting, these correspondents can gain a deeper and richer insight into the news that shapes the world around them.
“It’s clear that the developments that shape the world we live in transcend national borders, and we think it’s more important than ever for our news to do the same,” Wijnberg said.