Pay attention to global news

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

Globalization is an oxymoron like no other. It possesses this unique capacity to connect us while simultaneously separating us. It highlights our similarities and relatability while also revealing our differences.

Despite the temptation to fall victim to passivity when it comes to world events, we must resist this urge.

Although interest in news consumption suggests an optimism about citizen’s engagement in current events and politics, news consumption is not as deep as it is broad. This problem manifests not only in the United States, but abroad as well.

According to Pew Research Center data, a survey of 38 countries demonstrated a commitment to following news that directly affects them.

Pew Research Center reported that 86 percent of those surveyed said they follow news about their country and 78 percent follow news about their town or city. In contrast, only 58 percent of individuals said they follow news about other countries.

Europeans are most likely to follow international news closely, a fact that can likely be attributed to the interconnectivity and physical proximity of countries in the European Union.

Even though we may be physically far removed from international news stories, we have a responsibility to pay attention to the goings on of other countries.

On one hand, globalization translates to an increased political connectivity and wider implications of consequences. After surveying various U.S.-based news websites including Fox News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and NPR we found that under the “World” section of these websites, most of the international news reported on somehow related to the United States. The connections between international news and the United States ranged from U.S. involvement in Syria, U.S. relations with Russia and U.S. trade agreements with China.

While this type of international news coverage and following is a step in the right direction, its thematic continuity suggests a limitation in international American journalism. Most of the “World” sections of these news organizations’ websites contained more than half of their stories relating to the United States, particularly threats to U.S. national security and finances.

Globalization means not viewing every other country as a threat. Our increased connectivity with other countries shouldn’t translate to isolation and increased focus on local and national news, but rather highlighting news stories from other countries that demonstrate our similarities and differences in comprehensive ways.

Focusing solely on American news puts us at a disadvantage, because the more intrinsically focused we are, the easier it is to distance ourselves from the world. Having a shallow inclusion of international news coverage by American journalists is an injustice, but one that can be affected by the consumer.

Although local and national news can encourage engagement because of its relatability, international news can have the same effect if we let it. Let’s dive into international news, not just the kind that affects the United States, but the kind that affects the world in which we are all global citizens.