Monday, February 26, 2007

Here's how to do it

Right off the subject of the last post is a Readership Institute column describing research into people's openness toward serious news, if it's reported and presented in the right way. The column cites the reporting of Doug McGill, who's linked on the rail of this blog and has pioneered the concept of doing global reporting from local communities. And it makes this excellent point about how to approach world news in a meaningful way:

There is no research I know of that says that people want to read about genocide. What research I see - especially as it relates to young people college and much younger - suggests they want to know about the lives of their neighbors. They ask such questions as, Why did they leave their country? How did they get here? What is it like for them to start over? In a way this explains their current world to them.

In the United States today, there are more than 10 million young people between the ages of 5 and 17 who were born in another country. That is 1 out of every 5 children K through 12 was not born in the United States. They are the friends and neighbors of our children. North American children are living in the most global society. It is natural for them to be interested in other places.

This is the essence of my chapter on reporting world news. People need to know what's going on in other countries; but they need to see it in a context that makes sense to them. The answer is not to cover the world less, but to cover it well.

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