Columbia Journalism School


"Global Media Wars" analyzes state-funded news networks

May 09, 2011

Students in Prof. Ann Cooper's International Newsroom seminar have produced "Global Media Wars," an analysis of five English language, state-funded satellite television news channels around the world – Al Jazeera English (Qatar), CCTV (China), France 24, Press TV (Iran) and RT (Russia).

Cooper's students had already begun covering this story when Hillary Clinton made these remarks: "We are in an information war, and we are losing that war. I'll be very blunt in my assessment. Al-Jazeera is winning. The Chinese have opened up a global English-language and multi-language television network. The Russians have opened up an English-language network. I've seen it in a few countries, and it’s quite instructive."

"Global Media Wars" includes an introductory video featuring Clinton, detailed reports on each network and a "scorecard," an interactive graphic that boils down which channels are worth watching based on quality of coverage and credibility over several weeks in 2011.

Nathanael Massey '11 wrote the project's summary, which appeared on GlobalPost, along with the overview video produced by Bilal Lakhani '11 and Solange Mougin '11. Massey also discussed "Global Media Wars" on NPR's "On the Media." 

"..It's not so much that we are losing the war at this moment. It's just that we're no longer winning it hands down. The fact is that CNN International and the BBC had a complete monopoly over this arena for decades. What we're seeing is a new plurality of voices, and we're going to have to get used to that, and we're going to have to become more discerning because we can no longer count on there only being one or two voices that we can trust," Massey said on NPR.

Linette Lopez '11 wrote a related piece for the Columbia Journalism Review that focuses on how each channel covered Osama bin Laden's death.

BBC Monitoring and the China Digital Times also covered "Global Media Wars."

Update, May 26: RT reacts to Global Media Wars' critique of its coverage here.

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