Published in partnership with Media Impact Funders, Global Press has released new findings about U.S. audience demand for international journalism, and provides actional recommendations for funders supporting public interest media around the world.

“Unlocking U.S. Audience Demand for International News,” a study of 1,200 U.S.-based adults who are regular online news readers, establishes that there is a deep reservoir of untapped demand from readers in the United States for international journalism that is local, precise, and representative. These potential news consumers exist across a wide range of demographics.

The study found that large segments of the U.S. audience want stories that are written by local reporters from their own communities rather than by journalists sent from abroad. It also demonstrated a fatigue with the pervasive and generic negative narratives about disaster and conflict. Instead, it proves that readers value reporting that is dignified, precise, and avoids stereotypes common in international journalism. This study leaves no doubt that U.S.-based readers are in favor of upending stereotypical global narratives in favor of those with solutions and context.

“For too long publishers have made the assumption that there is little demand for international news,” said Cristi Hegranes, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Global Press and co-author of the report. “What this study demonstrates is that it’s not that people don’t care about the world, it’s that they don’t care for the way the world’s stories are being told. These findings demonstrate what Global Press has always believed: that there is a strong market for international journalism, and that we can best serve this need by providing ethical, accurate news produced by local journalists reporting on their own communities.”

As media outlets continue to grapple with declining trust among audiences and the rise of mis- and disinformation, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the shortcomings of parachute journalism when many legacy media publications brought their staff home and readers, especially from the diaspora, had to look elsewhere for coverage of their ancestral communities. The study found that providing readers even a small amount of media literacy about parachute journalism versus local coverage unlocked a substantial demand for stories produced by local reporters from the places they are reporting on. These key findings were robust across age, race, political affiliation, gender, and other demographics.

This report provides the journalism industry with a number of recommendations for moving forward, targeted to both funders and newsrooms. These include: investing in media literacy; using partnerships to build high-quality international journalism capacity; increasing transparency; and investing in local expertise and hiring local reporters. 

“We’re eager to convene funders of public interest media around the important insights and actionable recommendations offered in this new report,” said Nina Sachdev, Communications Director for Media Impact Funders. “Philanthropy can and must play a critical role in supporting efforts to rebuild and sustain trust between communities and the news organizations that serve them. These findings can help illuminate the path forward.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for media funders and newsroom leaders,” said Laxmi Parthasarathy, Chief Operating Officer of Global Press and co-author of the report. “The research is unique to the field of audience engagement, the findings are profound for international news producers, and the recommendations are accessible. They can generate significant rewards for all sides of the media equation in the United States.”

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Annmarie Pisano

About the Study Methodology
Global Press partnered with Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, an independent public opinion research firm, and Wonder: Strategies for Good, experts in analyzing public opinion research. The methodology comprises a large-scale, nationwide survey as well as a curated set of in-depth interviews and a multiday focus group to complement the quantitative survey results with qualitative feedback from U.S.-based readers of international news. The survey was conducted online and sampled 1,223 respondents nationwide. The survey was restricted to adults who read international news at least a few times a month or more. For participant demographic information, please see the study report. 

About Global Press
Global Press builds and maintains independent news bureaus in some of the world’s least-covered places. Each bureau is staffed by local women journalists who are from their coverage communities. Global Press reporters specialize in producing high-quality news that increases access to accurate information for millions of readers.

About Media Impact Funders
Media Impact Funders is a national membership organization that advances the work of a broad range of funders committed to effective use and support of media in the public interest. Media Impact Funders informs, convenes and mobilizes a growing network of funders around the crucial role that media and journalism plays in democracy and social change through tailored programming that explores a broad range of issues and opportunities in the media funding field; facilitation of peer collaboration and resource-sharing to create or expand media effectiveness; collaboration with other philanthropy serving organizations (PSOs) to showcase the power and impact of storytelling through media; and more.

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Media Impact Funders

Media Impact Funders

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Media Impact Funders traces its roots back to the Council on Foundations, a longtime philanthropy-serving organization. Formerly Grantmakers in Film, Video & Television, MIF began on a volunteer basis in 1984 as an affinity group for funders interested in the power of film to highlight social issues. Reflecting changes in technology and media behavior over the past decade, it was renamed Grantmakers in Film & Electronic Media (GFEM) and formally incorporated in 2008 to advance the field of media arts and public interest media funding. It had 45 members and was headed by former MacArthur Foundation Program Officer Alyce Myatt. GFEM was renamed Media Impact Funders in 2012 and has since expanded its strategy to include a broad range media funding interests such as journalism, immersive technologies, media policy and more. Since that time, MIF has grown to more than 80 organizational members representing some of the largest foundations, and holds more than 40 in-person and online events yearly.