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US news priorities need to change

LACK OF INTERNATIONAL NEWS COVERAGE IS CENSORSHIP 

Illustration: Madalyn – CU Sentry

This fall has seen countless momentous global news stories. Southeast Asia faced one of the worst wet seasons in recent history, flooding the region with monsoons that killed over 1,200 people. The attack by terrorist forces in Niger on Oct. 4 left four American soldiers dead, car bombings in Somalia took the lives of at least 300 innocent people, and the ISIS capital of Raqqa was liberated on Oct. 17. All of these events have a direct impact on American citizens, and each received minimal news coverage.

Noteworthy events are lacking coverage, causing them to be overshadowed. College students are becoming aware of this trend, creating a jarring lack of confidence in the reliability of most news sources. According to Adweek, 59 percent of college students have little to no trust of the press. This leads to many students not being aware of the news at all. If this disregard for news is so common, why aren’t news agencies listening to the people they are responsible for educating?

Journalism’s purpose is to inform readers of the truth about noteworthy events both domestic and global. After seeing any informational segment, viewers should leave more knowledgeable on a subject than before. But when the same story is covered by every major news agency, readers aren’t gaining additional information; they only hear new opinions on the same issue. News is supposed to focus on the facts, not the commentary. Tragic events around the world are overshadowed by overly covered, often insignificant, domestic issues.

If Americans were more aware of the floodings in Asia, humanitarian efforts could have been extended to save lives. Had Americans known about the attack in Niger when it first transpired, answers to the hazy situation that resulted in the death of American soldiers would have been demanded immediately. Instead, Americans were unnecessarily murdered abroad, and it took two weeks for news coverage of their deaths to begin.

The farther the geographic distance between the event and American soil seems to lessen the news coverage provided by American news. While these places may be far from home, these tragedies impact American citizens. When it comes to international events, African news especially, American media seems to turn a blind eye. Had the same events happened in America, the stories would most likely be covered by major news agencies. Why does distance create a disconnect? Death is death and tragedy is tragedy; all news has a right to be known. People want to know what is happening in the world. One does not need to descend from a particular nation to empathize and want to help—one needs only to be human.

As time passes, people in India, Myanmar, and Nepal are trying to rebuild their lives after their homes flooded and their neighbors died. Hundreds of Somali families grieve the unnecessary loss of their loved ones in a brutal hate crime. While the world suffers, Americans have limited information. At this point, this is no longer a gap in the news. This is censorship. The task of reporting news is not dependent on how American it is, and Americans deserve to hear about international events just as much as domestic ones.

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