Information on development cooperation occupies 3.5 percent of the contents of European newspapers

May 6, 2010

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 Autňnoma de Barcelona coverage entitled La prensa y la cooperación internacional. Cobertura de la cooperación para el desarrollo en nueve diarios europeos, carried out by Universitat Autňnoma de Barcelona. The research, directed by Marcial Murciano, professor of Journalism, is the result of a collaboration between the international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the Information Research Group (GII) belonging to the Ibero-American Communication Observatory at Universitat Autňnoma de Barcelona (UAB).

More coverage in centre-left newspapers

The research focused on the analysis of other aspects such as front page coverage of this type of news, proportionally larger in the newspapers analysed (up to 4.8%) when compared to the general average (3.5%). Moreover, centre-left newspapers are more inclined to offer front page coverage of international development cooperation.

In terms of journalistic genre, the research concludes that out of every ten articles on cooperation, eight correspond to informative articles and two to editorials. 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.

Among the articles analysed, 42.7% specifically dealt with development cooperation while the remaining 57.3% included cooperation as a complementary part of the information. This trend remains constant in Spanish and UK newspapers. Not so in French newspapers, where articles fully dedicated to cooperation issues constitute two-thirds of the total.

In geographic terms, news published in the leading newspapers of the country were not always proportionally related to the regions receiving most of the government's official development aid. Finally, it is also worth highlighting that articles with a critical view on cooperation or development aids represent a mere 3.2% of the total of journalistic pieces on cooperation.

More coverage given to international news

The research focused on news published in nine of European Union's leading newspapers, three of which are Spanish (ABC, El País and La Vanguardia), three French (Le Figaro, Le Monde and Libération) and three British (the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and the Times). These nine newspapers reflect the main editorial lines -from centre-right to left- existing in the leading international press. Formed by a selective group of newspapers which in general dedicate large sections of their publications to international news, varied issues treated in depth and rigorously presented and contrasted information, aspects which largely determine their local and international distribution and influence.

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