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EU Press about Development

Published 20th May 2010 - 12 comments - 2349 views -

Results of a very interesting research on the way European newspapers cover development issues have been presented this May. The study was carried by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and is entitled: "La prensa y la cooperación internacional. Cobertura de la cooperación para el desarrollo en nueve diarios europeos".

Research has included nine daily papers. They include the following dailies: Spanish (ABC, El País and La Vanguardia), French (Le Figaro, Le Monde and Libération) and  British (the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and the Times).

Summary of the findings:

"Contrary to what is widely believed, leading newspapers do regularly publish information on development cooperation, although the space dedicated to these issues is generally small in relation to the total of news published since it only occupies 3.5%. Greater coverage of development cooperation can be seen under the sections of international news, reaching a total of 14.8%. These are some of the conclusions reached by the study on European press and international cooperation carried out by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. (...)

The main issues related to news on development cooperation are governance and empowerment of democracy (31%), environmental protection (21.9%) and good world governance (18.2%), representing over 70% of the total."


Full text of the research is here (for those who read Catalan Spanish).

Category: Media | Tags: eu, media coverage, newspapers,


  • Ian Sullivan on 20th May 2010:

    Do you know how hat coverage breaks down - positive/negative? disastes v development stories??

  • Tiziana Cauli on 20th May 2010:

    Hi Larisa,
    very interesting study. Thanks for posting this. The text is actually in Spanish, which is great, considering that the research was carried out by UAB.

  • Giedre Steikunaite on 20th May 2010:

    3.5%.. it’s quite a small number, isn’t it? Especially when compared to the number of stories on who-slept-with-who and who-wore-what…

  • Larisa Rankovic on 20th May 2010:

    @Ian: This release published in English says “articles with a critical view on cooperation or development aids represent a mere 3.2% of the total of journalistic pieces on cooperation.” I’ve looked through the original document, but can understand just the basics and can’t find more on this. Maybe someone else could?
    @Tiziana: Oops, I was actually guessing, and thought it’s more likely to be Catalan:) Apparently, surprises are possible. Thank you
    @Geidre: Definitely so!

  • Aija Vanaga on 20th May 2010:

    Do u know timeline for research?

  • Larisa Rankovic on 20th May 2010:

    @Aija: It’s carried in the period 14 September-6 December 2009 (page 9 of the document)

  • Iwona Frydryszak on 21st May 2010:

    Why the research was only done among old European Union nations?

  • Larisa Rankovic on 21st May 2010:

    I agree that it would be interesting to see what would be results of a study covering media in some of the new members. Maybe the next time?

  • Radka Lankašová on 21st May 2010:


    very interisting post, thanks. Does the study say what the scope of stories is? And are they single stories or do they follow certain topics in series?

  • Larisa Rankovic on 22nd May 2010:

    Thank you, Radka. Unfortunately, I don’t know, can’t find that information or can’t understand the language

  • Sylwia Presley on 25th July 2010:

    Really small number!

  • Larisa Rankovic on 10th August 2010:

    I’ve found the text (from the 1980s) “Put on a Happy Face” by American journalists Barbara Ehrenreich. There she wrote how American editors react when a journalist suggest topic related to poverty, inequality, and other social problems of the type. In a nutshell:
    - Do your thing on poverty, but be sure to make it upscale. That is: You can write about any social problem - sweatshops, starvation, child labor - so long as it is a problem experienced primarily by the rich.
    - You can write about any number of persons of color so long as they are Whitney Houston or Philip Michael Thomas.
    - You can write about anything - death squads, AIDS, or the prospect for a Pat Robertson presidential victory - so long as you make it ‘upbeat’.

    I am wondering: Can we say that something has changed in the meantime?

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