Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What is "news"?

I would like to better understand this.

The morning after Canada went to the polls as the first 1st world country to stage an election in the wake of the global economic meltdown, it's front page news for BBC (today, this article was on the front page of BBC's main website), and almost invisible on most US news outlets.

The UK is across the ocean, the US is across the border. What makes front page news over there worth nary a mention on the front page of Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC? (on most of these so-called "news" sites, one must dig into their "world" sections to find an article covering the election).

I suppose Canada remains "insignificant" in the minds of the average American, but perhaps journalism should be expected to balance pandering to "whatever sells" (should I really care about whether Madonna is getting a divorce?) with providing information about what's going on in the world that does matter, such as the election of a leader of the nation next to yours?

If energy and natural resources are important to 300 million Americans, and Canada owns so much of both, is Canada still insignificant? That Canada will grasp more of the alternative energy footprint in years to come as natural renewable sources (wind, sun, wave) develop, the politics of a country holding such sway should matter...but then being forward-thinking is a challenge, evidently.

If the St. Lawrence Seaway is economically and environmentally as important as the Mississippi, and these waters are jointly owned by both Canada and the US, is Canada still insignificant?

I am ranting, forgive me. But, I would really like to understand why the UK recognizes "news" for what it is and the media machine in the US doesn't.
Something's amiss when a significant event with global implications, such as an election in a G8 nation, barely blips the radar next door even while it rightly splashes the front pages across the ocean.


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