Although considered to be a dying medium, newspapers, continue to enlighten billions of individuals every single day. People gravitate towards newspapers because of their aspects of relevancy, convenience, and wide array of information. There are thousands of newspapers in the world; and their sole mission is to connect relevant information to a pertinent audience.
Through thorough research, we come to conclude that newspapers often mirror the culture in which it’s content is directed. A newspaper such as USA Today; clones the ideology of the classic “united” American citizen. A person who frequently reads USA Today wants to keep up with the pulse of the whole nation. An individual reading the Korean Times closely connects with the individualistic tendencies of the Korean culture. Most of the Korean Times articles are focused on achievements or failures of a specific individual. A newspaper such as the Brazilian Voice is geared toward issues affecting the advancement of the Brazilian people; with critical topics like immigration, education, and family values. Therefore with further analysis of the similarities and differences between these three different newspapers, we are able to formulate the logic behind their style of reporting and see what essentially is “newsworthy” in different cultures.
Mainstream and ethnic newspapers have a plethora of topics from which they are able to choose and share with the public. However, if it is a mainstream national newspaper such as USA Today, it has to sometimes refrain from centralizing specific topics from pertaining to certain areas. Meaning the relevancy of the topic has to appeal to the nation, not just an ethnic culture. Yes, as an American we have our own culture but one of our characteristics that better describes the United States of America is its cultural diversity. The nation consists of communities from different ethnicities. It appears that each newspaper names the audience they cater to. If we as readers look at a newspaper, we can identify most newspapers’ categories, which range from national, international, life, technology, money, sports, travel, and opinion; just like most media. However with these categories come subsections, which allow the reader to get more in depth news about their category/topic of interest. Subsections in both mainstream and ethnic newspapers are what set apart the distinction of news in different cultures. In the order they are delivered, categories and subsections show what is newsworthy to these newspapers.
For example, when examining the three newspapers, it is evident that each of their categories are similar; news being the main one and their subsections varying from local to national and international as mentioned previously. For the three newspapers, what interested me was their style of reporting on sports. Since a sport is a subject that is discussed all year round, I wanted to see what each newspaper deemed as relevant in the category of sports. The Brazilian Voice focused on updates on Brazilian athletes similar to the Korean Times, which focused on updates on Asian athletes and sports/sporting events popular in the Asian culture. Of course USA Today focused on sports that are currently in season as oppose to big sporting events like the World Cup or Olympics which both ethnic newspapers thoroughly touched based on. Both ethnic newspapers felt only the achievements of the popular sports, sport events and athletes affiliated with their culture were newsworthy not so much the losses. It was apparent that USA Today had a heavy emphasis on reporting sports due to their wide array of stories from athletes’ personal lives to what team was winning the playoffs. For example, I began to notice not only with their sports stories but also with most of their stories they reported with various angles on specific topics. When they chose to report on a rape case that occurred on a college campus titled, “New assault claim surfaces in Vanderbilt rape case” under the sports section. Instead of referring to those students as students and leaving the story to be categorized under regular news, they led the story with sharing how the students were football players, already integrating and relating the subject to sports. Although they were not focusing on the game but rather those who played it, showed their idea of sports being newsworthy with the range of controversies athletes may face.
Overall USA Today displayed consistency with their reporting on various subjects. It was evident they wanted to inform the viewers of what was going on in the US, but also kept in mind what appealed to the audience which they felt was sports and national news. The only way they placed a heavy emphasis on international news was if the international somehow interconnected with the nation.
Furthermore, I took a close look at the categories in one specific newspaper and noticed a difference. The Brazilian Voice, an ethnic newspaper had subsections specifically on the Brazilian community of New Jersey, immigrants, local news, USA, Sports, Arts & Entertainment, Culinary World and Humor. Each of their stories somehow referred back to their Brazilian culture and how it affected them. They didn’t focus on what surrounded the people of New Jersey, but more so what affected the Brazilian community in New Jersey as well as what was happening internationally in Brazil. In some cases if an incident occurred where an individual happened to be of Brazilian descent in NJ, he or she would immediately be considered newsworthy to this newspaper. For example, one story, which reported a male being hit by a truck in NJ; titled, “Authorities were still investigating the death of Brazilian hit on Route 287” proves that. Most of the titles, as far as reporting local news, featured the word Brazilian, but for national news reports, most featured the word “immigrant or immigration”; solely reporting on issues that affected immigrants and would contribute to their advancement in society. The Brazilian Voice’s main emphasis is to keep the Brazilian people relevant in a community made up of different ethnicities, showcase their advancement, as well as inform those of Brazilian descent of what’s going on in their country. Instead of putting a heavier emphasis on local as opposed to national and international, they created evenness between the three.
As I went further into my analysis, I begin to realize that relevancy and proximity played a major role in the reporting of all the selected newspapers. Considering that the newspapers all featured international news, I wanted to see in particular how the ethnic newspapers reported on Ebola, a worldwide issue. I came across the Brazilian Voice news article, which immediately shown which audience they were trying to reach out to: the people of New Jersey obviously. In translation the article titled, “Newark airport is able to identify passengers with Ebola virus”. How relevant is this story to the Brazilian Voice? Well, the answer is obvious. Because it can affect the Brazilian community in New Jersey, I mean after all they are not immune to it. The proximity influenced the relevancy of this article. But when reading the article, there wasn’t much detail on the Newark airport, but I believed the author of this article chose to use this title because they knew it would grab the attention of a daily reader.
However, The Korean Times, seemed to report on the issue in way that didn’t gravitate to Koreans per say. Instead they chose to include this story under the opinion section just like most of their stories that were dealing with international matters. So I questioned, why wasn’t it under the category labeled world? It was apparent that since the proximity of the issue hasn’t exactly affected Korea, they felt its relevancy wasn’t high enough to be reported with urgency. The newspaper not only refrained from being bias but it also refrained from bringing fear into a nation as we can see by its title, which translated to, “Ebola: Don’t be scared. Be careful”. Informing the people of Korea of the worldwide disease was their goal to avoid obliviousness of the matter, although an opinionated piece.
On a wider spectrum, The Korean Times emphasized on issues that affected their nation. They briefly discussed subjects dealing with money and technology. But the national stories were the ones reported with urgency and were also longer. Their stories had a very large emphasis on inter-Korean affairs. Although I thought the circumstances of these affairs would leave room for bias favoring one Korea over the other when reporting between South and North Korea; I saw a neutral take on the matters. For example, one of the stories headlines translating to, “Seoul unlikely to accept NK’s inter-Korean unification formula” they discussed both sides of the “two Koreas” possibly uniting. They reported the facts and refrained from including any opinions as well as any negative characteristics that the two Koreas may possibly have.
All in all, after analyzing these three newspapers, we can conclude although each newspaper had its differences and similarities, it is the style of delivery, and the order in which they deliver their stories that differentiate themselves from one another. However, the main similarity that all of them shared was that they knew their audience well enough to know what they would want to read. USA Today appealing to the American citizen, The Brazilian Voice appealing to the Brazilian population in New Jersey, and at last The Korea Times, appealing to the Koreans that make up the nation as a whole. I believe that these three newspapers can learn the importance of acknowledgement as well as urgency. For example, I think USA Today can learn to acknowledge the different types of ethnicities in various communities from time to time like The Brazilian Voice practiced. The Brazilian voice can learn to report relevant matters with urgency like USA Today practices. As for the Korean Times, they can learn the importance of finding a balance. It seemed as if the only stories being reported by the Korean Times were the ones focusing on the issues between North and South Korea. Although it does affect the people of Korea, I believe they should take into account to want to report on various subjects and not label them under opinions to show consistency.
- Ebola: Don’t be scared. Be careful.. (2014, October 7). koreatimes. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2014/10/137_165875.html
- Ferreira, L. (n.d.). Autoridades ainda investigam morte de brasileiro atropelado na Rota 287 -. Brazilian Voice Newspaper. Retrieved October 9, 2014, from http://www.brazilianvoice.com/bv_noticias/autoridades-ainda-investigam-morte-de-brasileiro-atropelado-na-rota-287.html
- Ferreira, L. (2014, August 2). Aeroporto de Newark é capaz de identificar passageiros com vírus Ebola -. Brazilian Voice Newspaper. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.brazilianvoice.com/bv_noticias/aeroporto-de-newark-e-capaz-de-identificar-passageiros-com-virus-ebola.html
- Gonzalez, T. (2014, October 9). New assault claim surfaces in Vanderbilt rape case. USA TODAY Sports. Retrieved October 9, 2014, from http://sports.usatoday.com/2014/10/09/new-sexual-assault-claim-surfaces-vanderbilt-rape-case
- Perez, A., & Hirschman, C. (2005, August 28). How race and ethnicity are measured. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2882688/
- Whan-woo, Y. (2014, October 8). ‘Seoul unlikely to accept NK’s inter-Korean unification formula’. koreatimes. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/10/485_165944