Developing News : Global journalism and the coverage of
1st Edition

Developing News
Global journalism and the coverage of "Third World" development

ISBN 9780415621823
Published March 3, 2017 by Routledge
188 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Developing News sets out to describe how development is articulated in the news and used by newspeople as an analytical category to explain the world. It is about examining development as a discourse that is based on the harmful contrast between the developed and the developing (or the underdeveloped) and that sets the boundaries for what is permissible to say.

Jairo Lugo-Ocando and An Nguyen begin by discussing the news coverage of development that emerged as a news category for newspapers and broadcasters after World War II. They move on to examine the way development has been reported by the mainstream media, exploring the rationales and ideologies that determined and continue to define the way the media think about and represent development in the news. In doing so, the authors contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the news agenda, news sources and the development policies that are set in the centres of power.

This book is ideal for those studying and researching and studying issues to do with journalism and the "Third World". It may also be relevant for those students taking courses in global or international journalism, media and democracy, development studies or international politics. Above all, it is an invitation for journalists to rethink their own practice in representing international development and its component.

Table of Contents


List of figures


Introduction: The elusive, shape-shifting nature of development in the news

What is development, anyway?

The critical examination of development news

Thematic organization

Chapter 1: The "tokenization" of development in the news

Making poverty newsworthy

The focus on events and disasters

Dramatic storylines: goodies versus baddies

The "celebritisation" of poverty

The cult of economics

An exact science?

"Kicking the ladder"

Dominance of Western worldviews

Authoritative power to speak

Practical challenges in newsgathering

Any hope for change?

Chapter 2: Journalistic conventions and the geopolitics of development narratives

Geopolitics in news articulation

Pack mentality and journalistic conventions

Development news as geopolitical propaganda

From colonial rhetoric to Truman’s development categories

Cold War discourses

Concluding notes

Chapter 3: The "number game" in development news

Naïve empiricism

"Numbers rule the world"

One dollar per day to out of poverty?

The Holy Grail of GDP

Concluding notes

Chapter 4: Communicating containment and the Alliance for Progress

Ideological and practical factors

Alliance for Progress as a propagandist narrative

The "equal partnership" discourse

Mediatised development

Lessons from the Alliance

Chapter 5: News coverage of foreign aid: a case study of the Millennium Village Project in African, US and UK media

Background to the chapter: the many problems of news coverage of foreign aid

The case of the Millennium Villages Project

Background on the MVP

About this study

African Press Coverage of the villages

US/UK coverage of the MVP

Early stages: ideologies and personalities as news

Second phase: critical voices from the blogosphere

Third phase: The Idealist

Constraints on media reporting



Chapter 6: Disempowering news: the feminization of development

The feminisation of poverty

"Empowering" women – for less gender justice?

Gendered news practices

Chapter 7: New technologies for old ideas

An ICT-driven new economy

Technology as geopolitics

Technology as colonial legitimisation

Technology without politics?

Chapter 8: Malthusianism and news framing of population growth

Shifting the blame

Legitimising racism

Malthusianism returns as the Bell Curve

Towards a better news articulation of population issues

Conclusion: Beyond the North-to-South lecture: can the news media ever get to the core of development?

Us-versus-them propaganda

What is being ‘sold’

What is being missed

Where to from here?



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Jairo Lugo-Ocando is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Before becoming an academic he worked as a correspondent and news editor for several media outlets in Latin America and the US.

An Nguyen an Associate Professor of Journalism in the School of Journalism, English and Communication at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. A former Vietnamese journalist and an Australian-educated scholar, he has published widely in several areas, including digital news consumption and citizenship, public engagement with science news, and news and socio-political changes in a globalising world.



'Developing News isn’t just another study of "development" but a thorough, briskly written and radically new take on what Western media have retained from decades of change in the "Third World" and reported them to Western readers. Read this book to learn how the public’s interpretation of the global South has been shaped, mis-shaped and riddled with ideology. Then lend it to your favourite, or least-favourite, journalist. '

--Susan George, President of the Transnational Institute

‘At last, a comprehensive and historically-informed discourse on development by two scholars from the global South: Lugo-Ocando and Nguyen provide a powerful critique of development news and news about development. Highly recommended.'

- Daya Thussu, Professor of International Communication, University of Westminster, London