Nathaniel D. Poor
The Internet is not only an object of and a tool for study, it is also both simultaneously global and local. In order to address how global and how local it is, this study compares the news content of one week from four different computer news websites in four different countries (using four different languages). These sites use the same codebase and all strive to be the same in terms of computer culture. They are global in their reach and in the news they cover, yet they are all local in terms of language and geography. They are ideal locales to study how forces of the global and the local play out on the highly connected Internet, using Google language tools for translation. Findings were surprising in that they showed very little in terms of a pattern of any sort. This is similar to a 1953 UNESCO study of newspapers, but strange in that given the passing of 50 years and the connectedness of the Internet, greater overlap was expected. Link destinations for stories that were on more than one site were also examined, and the Japanese site had more in common with the American site while the two European sites were more alike in this lens. This is also surprising given that an East/West split was expected. Little work in this specific area was found, and this study highlights some of the questions and methodological difficulties that need to be addressed.
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