Who Values You? Global Media, Opinions and MH17

What makes the news? Who decides what you should know and hear, who and what is “newsworthy”. This is specifically what this post will focus on, why for example is the Oscar Pistorius trial so newsworthy, but the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17- which is both more recent and higher in lives lost, faded from media attention. Is it because we have a talented Paralympian accused of murdering his supermodel girlfriend? Would MH17 be more newsworthy if a celebrity was onboard? To answer this, we must first understand what is newsworthy and what the media values, and what we should be interested in.

In Week 9’s lecture “Who Counts in Global Media”, we delved into the motives and reasons behind global media coverage of events. Part of this was discovering the 4 News Features-Transient, Pseudo-Events, Narrativisation and Visual Imperatives. For the sake of length, I will focus predominantly on Narrativisation in this blog to explain my argument. Essentially, Narrativisation is the shaping of events and coverage into “stories”, as characterised often by the media (Khorana 2014). This helps formulate a narrative of the topic, for example the “story of MH17” is the narrative news coverage of the flight and event, but it is what is worthy of fitting into such story is what too is important.

Today’s media, with its unparalleled ability to reach people in every moment of their lives, have the power therefore to alter our perspective and understanding of the world. The global media today is “not just media with global reach, but creation of new public spaces with global influences” (Khorana 2014). In regards to the Malaysian Airlines 17 tragedy, we are able to analyse the global media coverage by using the concepts provided within this weeks lecture.

Firstly, MH17 is very much a Narrativisation based story, as like any good story, there is a clear good vs bad occurrence. The innocent victims, the damaged families and the forces of good fighting for their justice vs the disturbing pro-russian separatists of the Ukraine that shot the aircraft down, the evil Vladimir Putin who shows little empathy for the tragedy and even the name of the Russian Government-Kremlin- sounds sinister.

Secondly, in the weeks reading, it states how global media leads to a “domestication of stories where International (news) has to be filtered through domestic sensibilities and interests.” (Lee-Wright 2010 pg2) This is especially applicable to this tragedy, as it raised the ghosts of Cold War era media coverage. Within Russia, media outlets (majority owned or heavily influenced by the Putin administration) begin pointing fingers at Ukraine, whereas western media outlets responded with the now accurate reports of Russian missiles involved. This shows how “domestication of stories” occurs in global media to adhere to their primary audience.

I could go on, there is so much conceptual theories and elements of global media I wish to delve through, however I have reached the limits of my blog length. Alas, I leave to you, dear reader, to go forth from this blog and examine, to question and query what is valued by the media, for the facts of the world depend on it.

Stay Classy UOW,

Todd Steele

References

Khorana, S 2014 “Who Counts in Global Media”, University Lecture, accessed 14th October 2014 from UOW MOODLE Site

Barry, P 2014, “The Australian Medias Coverage of MH17, ABC News, accessed 14th October 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s4050602.htm

Yablokov, I 2014, “Russian Media Coverage of MH17 leaves no room for dissenting voices”, The Conversation, accessed 14th October 2014, http://theconversation.com/russian-media-coverage-of-mh17-leaves-no-room-for-dissenting-voices-29494

Lee-Wright, P 2013, “News Values:
An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage”, JOMEC Journal, University of London

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