Global Crises in the News: Staging New Wars, Disasters and Climate Change

Simon Cottle


We live in a world increasingly defined by global crises. These are crises whose origins and outcomes cannot adequately be encompassed or explained by national or even international frames of reference. How they are staged in the world’s news media proves critical to their constitution as "global crises" and variously conditions their course and conduct. This paper grounds and elaborates on these claims in respect of three selected global crises — new wars, major disasters, and climate change. Here, three general forms of news staging are delineated in terms of global surveillance, global-focusing events, and global spectacle. Global crisis reporting, it is argued, variously expresses today’s "negatively globalized planet" (Bauman, 2007), but how global crises become staged and enacted within the news media also extends their global reach and variously intensifies their responses. In such ways, the news media may even, on occasion, contribute to an emergent global "cosmopolitan outlook" (Beck, 2006).

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