Dec 212014
 

online news

Differences in news coverage as you travel

Do you watch or pay attention to local news when you travel? Do you make an effort to keep up with news back home?

Learning what dominates local news in a destination one is visiting can provide insight into the place, its people, its politics and its culture. On short trips, I may not pay much attention, but if I am in a place for any length of time, I like to watch and read the news. Even the way in which global news is or isn’t covered is telling.

When my husband, daughter and I were in England during the spring of 2007, we became as fascinated as the locals with the story that dominated the news – the disappearance of a three-year-old British girl while she was vacationing with her parents in Portugal. The story was covered in Canada, but not as intensely. When we returned home, I had to search to find the latest news about her. As of writing this post, seven and a half years later, she has not been found, but British police have recently returned to Portugal to interview suspects.

During the time my husband and I winter in Arizona, we subscribe to the Arizona Republic newspaper. In addition to reading local news and doing the crossword, I learn about festivals, cultural events and other things to see and do not readily found in tourist guides. Although there are national and international stories covered in the newspaper and on television, I rarely see any Canadian news in the Arizona news sources. Even some international stories reported in the Canadian media cover aren’t covered or are covered quite differently.

With Internet access, it is possible to keep up with news stories across the world in ways that weren’t previously possible. I remember my sister’s surprise upon her return to Canada from a several month back-packing trip across Europe in the late 1970s when she learned a former premier of Manitoba was Canada’s twenty-second Governor-General. These days, I am likely to hear about significant and viral news events through postings by friends and family on social media. I can choose to watch Canadian national and local news from my hometown via the Internet. I don’t do that everyday and the Canadian news is not part of my daily life the same way as when I am at home, but it nice to catch up from time to time. (And, surprisingly, there has been the odd time when I watched Canadian news online from Arizona and found out more about an American news story than I read or saw in Arizona.)

It makes sense that news content varies by location. We are interested in what is happening close to us and events on the global stage that may have a direct impact on our lives. What I find surprising is the different angles on the same story, how much or little depth is provided, and what is omitted. Does the news content reflect the interests of the people in the area? Or are people in the area not interested in certain news because the media has chosen to omit it and people in the area don’t know about it? Either way, I find it interesting to read and watch local news when I travel.

It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day almost just exactly fits the newspaper. Jerry Seinfeld

Whoever controls the media controls the mind. Jim Morrison

It’s in our biology to trust what we see with our own eyes. This makes living in a carefully edited, overproduced and photoshopped world very dangerous. Brené Brown

If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle. Hilary Rodham Clinton

What is your approach to staying current when you travel?

  26 Responses to “Staying Current During Travel”

  1. Interesting! I have always liked watching local news from wherever I was in the world!! I don’t know why I thought I might be the only one…LOL. But it is fascinating! It really does highlight the bias of the media, depending on where you are.

  2. Interesting article. I think it is important to remember that what we are getting when watching or reading the news is a perspective. It is often the journalist’s perspective and of course the higher ups decide what type of stories are news worthy. I think it is interesting sometimes to read the comments section when looking at online stories and then look at where those making comments are from. You can often get varied opinions depending on what part of the world someone is from.

    • Perspective on a news story certainly does vary depending on the what part of the world one is from. And there are variations between people in the same area. It is interesting to read the varied opinions – can give you a broader perspective as well.

  3. I tend to not turn the TV on when I’m traveling, but I always try to track down the local newspaper. It can be a little depressing these days when you get a local paper you had been familiar with in the past and find it is now half the size it used to be. I think the Denver Post and Philadelphia Inquirer are two examples of that. I have an iPad with a few newspapers in my “newsstand” and I can read them wherever I am. But I still always like to look at the local paper in print. I hate it when hotels provide USA Today instead of the local paper.

  4. I like to watch local news and then watch our news from their perspective. When we travel in Europe we watch our news and see our world from their perspective. It really is interesting…

    • It can be eye-opening to see your part of the world through a foreigner’s eyes. This applies beyond the news. I’ve had people visit me from overseas and the things they noticed or found unusual that I take for granted was interesting.

  5. I like listening to local news not only when I travel, but I check out them out from my computer. I like seeing the issues that affect other people in different parts of the country, and world. It is like traveling without leaving my house.

    • Interesting perspective – I never thought of it like traveling without leaving home. But you do get somewhat of a sense of a place through its news, although the bad side of the area may be more prominent.

  6. Most of my life I was a frequent traveller. Always watched both local and global news- Merry Christmas!

  7. I actually prefer to watch national or even international news rather than local, but the I live on an Island in the middle of the Pacific so there’s not a whole lot of “news” here other than things that relate to tourism or agriculture. And yes, I agree with you the Internet as changed our lives – for the most part – for the better.

    • It’s hard to imagine life without the Internet. It has connected us in a lot of ways and allows us to find out what is going on in other parts of the world even if the local media isn’t covering it.

  8. I love to watch the local news when I travel, to get a sense of local flavor. But I think the real reason I check the news occasionally when I travel is that I was traveling and staying at a hotel when 9/11 happened, so I’m always afraid I’m going to miss something. I was checking out of the hotel when I caught a blurb about a plane crash from the TV they were watching behind the counter. I wonder how long it would have been till I had known, if I hadn’t happened to be near a TV.

  9. I read a lot of news online and do not read a print newspaper. Online, I seek out both mainstream and alternative news sources. I find what you say fascinating with regard to what and how the news is covered in different locales. I tune in to the news off and on, not daily. Sometimes the news finds me. Two weeks ago or so, I turned on the BBC and heard a report about a riot in Berkeley, California, my neighborhood, in a location 10 minutes from where I live! I knew nothing about it before then and only two hours earlier, I was in the exact spot the riot occurred.

    • It must have felt strange to read such local news from an international source, not your local media. The Internet has certainly given us access to a lot of different news sources if we chose to go there.

  10. Yes, I enjoy checking out the local news while traveling. Right now my husband and I are holidaying in San Antonio, a city where I lived for a year a long time ago. I remarked to my husband that the TV news had a specific flavor when I was here before. It has changed but is still “very San Antonio” in my opinion. It’s interesting to catch the slants in different areas.

    • Yes, news can definitely have a local flavour. I will be in San Antonio in early April. I am only there for a few days and with a group of people, but I’ll try to find a time to tune in the local news for the San Antonio slant.

  11. Hi Donna. I like to listen to the CBC radio app when travelling. It gives me the highlights of Canadian news abroad and at home in Manitoba. Have a wonderful time in AZ and Merry Christmas!

  12. I love CBC radio. I sometimes stream it and listen to it here in Arizona. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  13. Hello Donna

    Nice post. I think that if we are travelling we must be aware of the news. I emphasize more on weather forecast of my destination. It can help in many ways.
    There can be news of many events that may be taking place and we miss it just because of not checking news.

    But after the last event of terrorist attack on school children in Pakistan. I came to know that how media change the news to use it in many ways.
    Those children were killed as they were children of soldiers, those soldiers that were fighting and cleaning country from terrorists and children paid the price.
    Media internationally stated that school children were killed for going to school.

    So this is how it goes. We can not trust or rely on only specific media. I love the quote,” Whoever controls the media controls the mind. Jim Morrison ”
    This is exactly what is going on.

    Sorry for going off the track.

    I enjoyed the post. Thank you for a great share. I wish you happy holidays and Joyous Christmas.

    • Thanks Anna. Weather forecast of destination is always important to check. As to the news, it certainly can be skewed – it’s a good idea to get several perspectives on important stories.

  14. When I’m traveling I don’t watch TV unless I’m at a sports bar watching the game. I love that Jim Morrison quote. It’s 100% accurate.

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