The Paradoxes of Media Globalization: On the Banal “World” of New Zealand Journalism

Sean Phelan, Thomas Owen


Although the New Zealand media system has sometimes been characterized as one of the most globalized in the world, this article explores the paradoxes and limitations of a simplified globalization thesis from the perspective of the banal production and representation of New Zealand news. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of the journalistic field, our analysis is grounded in an empirical description of the relationship between transnational and national news coverage in a three-day sample of content from across the respective sub-fields of print, television, and radio. Our results broadly affirm the paradoxical view that so-called globalization processes seem to be producing more parochial forms of media content, though we balk at concluding that globalization is a “virtually useless” concept. Instead, we demonstrate how global, national, and institutional logics are being rearticulated as part of an ongoing political-economic and discursive reconfiguration of the New Zealand journalistic field.

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