Wednesday, February 26, 2014

News Coverage of Venezuela

There's an article in the Washington Post about news coverage of Venezuela. I've read numerous complaints, most prominently from Caracas Chronicles, about the lack of coverage, which I don't buy. As the article points out, there was more coverage of Ukraine but there are reasonable reasons (so to speak) for that, and it's not simply that we ignore Latin America.

More importantly, though, is digging into what "coverage" or "attention" means. The article spends time examining what stories are "above the fold," referring to the news that you see on the front of a newspaper when it is face up on a news stand. That is what signals importance. Or did. Long ago. Now it's largely irrelevant. Who cares what's on the front when you get your news online or elsewhere? And if you go online, there is a flood of stuff on Venezuela from every source imaginable. I've been contacted by several reporters, as have numerous other people who study Latin American politics. Last week I was at the gym and on CNN there was Wolf Blitzer talking about Venezuela. If Wolf is on the case, then by definition you're mainstream. At this point you would need to be actively avoiding news not to know there is something up in Venezuela.

Now, all of this is anecdotal. To make a convincing case you would need to examine coverage across all media, accounting for where people get their news (print newspapers, for example, don't inform many people these days so should not be weighted very heavily so don't focus too much about what's "above the fold"). Then you have to decide what constitutes "reasonable" coverage, ranging from no stories to total saturation. I think this would show that Venezuela is not being swept under the media rug.


Herrera,  11:07 PM  

"Something is not up" in Venezuela
human rights are not up at all.
Let's not repeat another Menchu controversy about testimonies.
I listene to npr news every day and the information about venezuela is close to nothing.
I don't know how to take your view about this terrible issue it seems and feels similar to Maduro ' s views.

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