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Writing Samples

Changing channels, crossing borders: national narratives and cosmopolitan identity in 24-hour English language international news channels from non-Anglophone countries

Charlie Guese

Communication Thesis Project

Saint Mary's College of California

May 2015

Thesis adviser: Ellen Rigsby PhD

Abstract

This study analyzes the four largest 24-hour English language international news channels from non-Anglophone countries that broadcast to foreign audiences. 30-minute newscasts from each channel were quantitatively measured for the amount of airtime allotted to each story in the newscast, and the structure of each newscast was analyzed. Items of the newscast were then grouped into thematic collections of story topic and analyzed through qualitative content analysis. This process analyzed nine protocols, seven of which are used verbatim from a previous study (Gerhards & Schäfer 2014) with two additional protocols: whether the narrative of the news channel country of origin is represented or challenged and to what extent the topic is viewed with a transnational or universal frame of moral and political negotiations. The study finds that national narratives are present in the more nationally-focused broadcasters France 24 and RT International (formerly Russia Today), while pan-regional Qatar-based Al Jazeera English and European Union-funded Euronews downplay national narratives. All four channels of varying degrees synthesize world news from around the globe in order to construct a cosmopolitan understanding of international affairs for a global citizen viewer.