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
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
Chapter 3: The "number game" in development news
"Numbers rule the world"
One dollar per day to out of poverty?
The Holy Grail of GDP
Chapter 4: Communicating containment and the Alliance for Progress
Ideological and practical factors
Alliance for Progress as a propagandist narrative
The "equal partnership" discourse
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
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?
What is being ‘sold’
What is being missed
Where to from here?
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