Coverage of Latin America in the media

by Dave

North American media companies have been reducing their global coverage for the past 20 years. Having worked for six years in Tribune company’s content syndication  business,  I know that selling foreign news and features was a hard sell to US editors. US audiences want ‘just local news’ we were told. Additionally, the advent of cable channels and the Internet have eaten into the historically (pre-80s) fat profits earned by mainstream broadcast and newspaper companies. Funding investigative journalism and staffing foreign bureaus takes a lot of money, and that is hard to come by in an environment where ad dollars, especially from classifieds – the source of those fat profits, have moved online.

So, you have one stretched Canadian journalist for CBC (though state-funded but subject to stakeholder pressure), based in Mexico, covering the whole of Latin America! I’m sure Indian and other cash-rich Asian media companies can do better in the years to come.

via Ryerson Review of Journalism
“It’s an interesting story, but it’s the same thing. Am I going to spend 10,000 bucks to go to Argentina? Why?” The fact that [Cristina Kirchner's] win was pre-ordained made the story “less interesting.” He also thought the story wouldn’t be of enough relevance to Globe readers to warrant the expense. “It isn’t going to change the world,” Northfield says. “It’s not going to make the dollar go up or down or change oil prices. It’s not going to cause instability in the Middle East.”

Despite the fact that he doesn’t find the region as geo-politically significant as others, he hopes to open a bureau in Latin America someday. Northfield was recently given resources to open a new bureau and plans to open one in India, but he maintains Latin America is next. Opening a bureau in India was more pressing, he says, and the news from the Latin America region “tends to be internal and contained in a way that doesn’t reverberate in a significant way outside of Latin America.”

the region is one of the world’s most ecologically prosperous. Latin America has the world’s largest reserves of arable land and is full of many important commodities such as oils, metals and foodstuffs. Brazil contains more fresh water than any other country in the world. Chile is among the world’s top fruit producers and exporters. In 2006, the region had an estimated eight per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, and accounted for almost a quarter of U.S. oil imports.