Coverage of international news by the UK media has fallen by up to 40 per cent in the past 30 years, according to a study by the Media Standards Trust.
The Trust’s report, Shrinking World: The decline of international reporting in the British press, found that international news coverage in four of the UK’s main newspapers – The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror – had fallen by around 40 per cent in three decades, with foreign coverage in the first 10 pages taking an 80 per cent dive.
The report, which analysed the same week of average news coverage throughout 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009, claims that foreign news makes up just a 10th of all stories in all four titles – a decline of one fifth compared with 1979 coverage.
BBC foreign correspondent David Loyn, who penned the foreword to the report, said it should “ring alarm bells”, and warned of the consequences a decline in international reporting can have on the UK. “It reinforces insular values – prejudices – and discourages understanding among British voters,” he said.
“Organisations that do still have global news ambitions feel a little lonely and out of step – particularly the publicly-funded BBC. It would be far easier to justify foreign news spending because of robust competition than for more abstract public service reasons,” he added.
Martin Moore, author of the report, claimed that although the slump was “significant”, it wasn’t “terminal”. “Newspapers still have a great opportunity to reinvent international reporting, but they better move quickly or they’ll be superseded,” he said.
Read the report here.