Zurich, 28.04.2010. On May 1st begins the EXPO in Shanghai, but only few people outside China will have heard of this event up to now. China´s image in international TV news has been shaped more by natural disasters and mining accidents than by the great cultural and business event that will bring the World into stronger contact with the most dynamic country of our times. This shows the latest analysis of the Zurich-based research institute Media Tenor International. A comparison with the upfront coverage of the 2008 EXPO in Zaragoza shows the same pattern: International TV news focuses fails to pick up the developing story of the great international exhibitions.
“Television coverage regularly only looks at the opening ceremonies of such an event”, says Roland Schatz, founder and President of Media Tenor International. “But not for want of time: In 2008 international TV news reported intensively about Spain as a location for sports events.” More than 350 reports in 3 ½ months celebrated athletes, that took part in Formula One, Tennis, Soccer or track and field championships. But the run-up to the EXPO in Zaragoza was not covered at all. The previous EXPO in Nagakute/Japan failed as well in attracting international awareness, while the 2004 EXPO in Saint Denis was even called off.
China´s media image in 2010 is rather mixed. “While many economists and businessmen pin their hopes for the World economy on the giant country, the international media image is shaped by sensational news about accidents and catastrophes”, explains Dr. Christian Kolmer, head of political studies at Media Tenor. “The downside of the Chinese ‘Wirtschaftswunder´ finds as well only limited interest from international TV journalists.”
Lack of up-front media coverage is a severe burden for the EXPO, because its role as a model for new ways in a globalizing world can only be fulfilled, when the media broadcast the new ideas to people everywhere in our world. “But once again the EXPO has been unable to arouse the ardor of journalist in the run-up to the event”, explains Roland Schatz. “But at the same time, journalists prefer to dwell on the already well-known aspects of the worldwide crisis, instead of highlighting opportunities in times of distress.”
Media Tenor International, the Zurich-based research institute has been analyzing internatinal TV news since 2001. For this analysis a total of 33,629 news stories have been analyzed for the period from 01.02.-23.04., out of which 701 focused on China.
All coding is conducted by trained human coders. Average inter-coder reliability amounted to 87% in Q4/2009.
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