The Potential of Foreign News as International Development Communication


  • Bella Mody


This article investigates what the news says about inequity-driven civil wars and economic underdevelopment. Dewey argued that the lack of causal knowledge that distinguishes between symptoms and root causes would limit potential effective and transformative public action. Political scientists have demonstrated that increases in just the number of news stories about a foreign country in both US print and TV news in one year produced a clearly significant relationship to increases in commitments of US foreign aid the following year. This study of reporting on a 2003-2005 African crisis by ten news organizations over 26 months found few articles predominantly focused on causes against conditions on the ground or remedies. It raises questions about the conditions under which news organizations might be expected to provide causal knowledge and when such information can lead to more enlightened long term aid for national transformation.