Mass Communication

Foreign News Coverage in U.S. News Magazines

Foreign News Coverage in U.S. News Magazines


This investigation explored and analyzed the coverage of foreign news events in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report in 1960 and 1970. It specifically explored trends in ‘attention’ devoted to various geopolitical regions of the world, and various subject-matter and their related issues. Inter-magazine analysis showed no differences. However, cumulatively the three newsmagazines revealed some concrete trends:

(1) Dominance of World, West European and Asian affairs, and also of political/diplomatic, military/defense and economic/business affairs during the two periods.

(2) Persistence of ‘cold war’ and ‘cold war-related’ themes on the cover stories during the two periods.

(3) At the international level there was greater interaction between developed countries and least interaction between underdeveloped countries.

(4) A generally narrow dispersion of foreign news coverage: more about developed and less about underdeveloped countries and

(5) A general decrease in the number of foreign stories, but a small increase in space allocation. Explanations for these trends were suggested from the data, extra-media data and other conjectural sources: certain regions and subject-matter dominated the coverage possibly because of greater U.S. national interest in and/or closer political-cultural affinity to those regions and issues of events. 1960 being the edge of the climax of the ‘cold-war’ period naturally demanded greater attention to this theme, and 1970, though it saw the thawing of the cold-war and the beginning of detente, yet had some spillovers from the ‘cold-war’ period. The third and fourth trends possibly reflected the relative significance of various countries in international politics. The fifth trend primarily reflected the turning away from the multifarious concerns of the ‘cold-war’ period to a concern with more detailed analysis of events and issues. Possible consequences of the trends on public opinion and foreign policy were suggested and limited research recommendations made.

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