Top Stories: What Journalists Believe Their Country Should Be Informed About

Trending topics differ between countries, especially within the news. Imagine how the news stories from one of the safest countries in the world contrasts with a country that has an extremely high crime rate. I started by researching the top news stories in New Zealand and comparing them to the top stories published about the U.S.. Just at a glance, I was able to notice an immediate difference in what journalists published as their “top stories”. New Zealand’s top stories show a trend of travel information and stories that leave a positive impact on their audience, while the United States’ displayed news stories involving crime, politics, medical marijuana, etc. These stories are handpicked by journalists as what they feel is the most important information to share with the public. Considering New Zealand has approximately a 26% lower crime rate than the United States (according to NationMaster), it’s understandable why their news stories may not be as brutal or shocking.

Diving deeper into the difference between the countries’ news stories, I have picked the most recent top stories broadcasted on national television in New Zealand and the United States to compare and contrast. As shown in the news report below, the news anchors in New Zealand are reporting a death of a New Zealand resident that occurred in the Caribbean recently. What’s interesting about this report is that the actual incident didn’t take place anywhere near New Zealand, it was reported because the individual was from there. This is shocking for me because in the U.S., reporters can only show a small percentage of accidents and deaths that happen while New Zealand has the ability to discuss deaths of their citizens, even though the accident doesn’t directly affect the country’s citizens. In addition, there was an African American male who was explaining the details of the incident and giving us facts, however we were not introduced to this individual nor was he in a professional setting to make the audience believe that what he was saying was credible.

As for the United States, their latest news story covers information regarding a Russian official “taking over the U.S. Government”. The reporter is feeding the audience information in an aggressive tone, also using sarcasm in a non-satirical way to inform individuals about this story. These framing techniques alone make me feel that this reporter is not extremely credible or reliable with the information he is presenting because it seems biased. For example, Tucker Carlson claims Russia is, “the single most evil country in the world,” which is an extremely opinionated statement to make, especially without the right evidence to support it. Carlson continues to directly insult those who have opposing ideas or opinions on Donald Trump’s position with Russia.

As we can clearly see, the difference between not only news stories but also how news reporters present the news to their audience is vastly different between the United States and New Zealand. The United States has a huge focus on the issues going on with the government and politics, while New Zealand seems to gather whatever information they can to present such as a resident dying in a different country or extreme weather conditions. The severity of the United States’ news seems to be higher than New Zealand’s while also been relevant to more people within their country. However, New Zealand’s television news seems to be presented with an unbiased and neutral opinion unlike the United States’. It’s interesting to compare these differences because people from different countries could potentially have no idea what kind of news stories occur in a place they’ve never been to.

-Kaya Barcarse

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