News Outlets

– a bit about their background

Below you’ll find an overview of and links to the 13 news outlets analyzed by ICMPA researchers:

US MEDIA OUTLETS

  1. Christian Science Monitor
  2. FOX News
  3. National Public Radio
  4. NBC
  5. The New York Times
  6. TIME Magazine
  7. USA Today
  8. The Washington Post

UK MEDIA OUTLETS

  1. The Economist
  2. The Financial Times
  3. The Guardian
  4. The Times of London

MIDDLE EAST MEDIA OUTLETS

  1. Al Jazeera

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US MEDIA OUTLETS

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

The Christian Science Monitor, is an international news outlet based in Boston, Massachusetts.  It publishes across multiple platforms:  it has a website, a weekly magazine, a daily news briefing, email newsletters, and a mobile PDA edition.

The newspaper was started in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist.  In October 2008, citing losses of $18.9 million per year versus $12.5 million in annual revenue, the Monitor announced that it would close its daily paper and instead print a weekly edition. The last daily print paper was published on March 27, 2009. The Monitor continues to offer daily news online on its website. As of 2009, the paper’s weekly print circulation was 67,703.

Despite its small print circulation, the Pulitzer-award-winning paper has a reputation of politically balanced coverage and strong national and global reporting.

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FOX NEWS

FOX News Channel is a cable and satellite news channel owned by News Corporation,  broadcasting primarily out of its New York City studios.

Australian media owner Rupert Murdoch launched the Fox News Channel on October 7, 1996, with Roger Ailes as its founding CEO. Previously Ailes worked as a Republican party political strategist, and he ran the cable networks CNBC and America’s Talking, the forerunner of MSNBC.  The network slowly rose to become the leading cable news network.  According to Nielsen ratings, Fox News now ranks as the United States’ most watched cable news channel, ahead of CNN and MSNBC.  As of April 2009, the channel was available to 102 million households in the United States and can also be seen internationally.

Fox News Channel has reputation of promoting conservative political positions, a charge the network contests.  Its motto is “Fair & Balanced,” and the network denies any bias in its news reporting, maintaining that its political commentary operates independently of its reporting.

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NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

National Public Radio (NPR) is a semi-independent, privately and publicly funded non-profit organization. It produces and distributes programming that is broadcast on over 900 radio stations across the United States, for  a combined audience of 26.4 million listeners weekly.  Online, NPR.org offers hourly newscasts, features and archived programming.  NPR’s signature radio news programs, carried by most of its member stations, are its morning and evening shows:   Morning Edition and All Things Considered.  They have consistently been among the top three most popular radio programs in the United States.

NPR was launched in 1970 following the passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  CPB in its turn created the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in addition to NPR.

The annual GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media poll released in February 2010 asked respondents to rank news coverage of American news outlets as liberal, mostly fair or conservative, 40 percent of respondents said PBS was mostly fair.  Both NBC and ABC received 33 percent mostly fair from those surveyed, then CNN with 31 percent, NPR with 29 percent, Fox News with 25 percent and MSNBC with 24 percent.

DISCLOSURE:  Kevin Klose, current dean of the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, the home institution of ICMPA, is President Emeritus of NPR.  Klose was president of NPR from Dec. 1998 to Sept. 2008, and NPR’s CEO from 1998 to 1999.

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NBC

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American television network and former radio network headquartered in New York City, and with  offices in Burbank, California.

NBC was orginally formed in 1926 as a radio broadcasting network, by GE, RCA and Westinghouse Electric.  It was the first major broadcast network in the United States. In 1986, control of NBC passed to General Electric (GE). The network is currently part of the media company NBC Universal, the media subsidiary of General Electric Company. GE owns 80 percent of NBC Universal and French conglomerate Vivendi Universal controls 20 percent.

In 1996, NBC and the Microsoft Corporation created MSNBC, an all-news cable television channel, which has a companion online news service, MSNBC.com.  In 2001 NBC Universal acquired the Telemundo Spanish-language television network.  The company also owns a group of cable news and entertainment networks, television production operations, the Universal Pictures motion picture company and the Universal theme parks.

In total the NBC television network has over 230 affiliates.  NBC is available in an estimated 112 million households.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded by Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones and published in New York City.  Originally called the New York Daily Times, The New York Times first published on September 18, 1851.

The Times is owned by The New York Times Company, a leading media company with 2009 revenues of $2.4 billion.  The New York Times Company publishes eighteen other newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune and The Boston Globe, and more than 50 Web sites, including NYTimes.com, Boston.com and About.com. The company’s chairman is Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., whose family has controlled the paper since 1896.

The New York Times has a circulation of approximately 1.1 million daily and 1.4 million on Sundays.  Nationally, The Times is third in circulation behind The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

The Times has won 101 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization.  Although in editorial matters the paper has had a liberal reputation, The Times is regarded as the national newspaper of record.

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TIME MAGAZINE

TIME magazine is a U.S. weekly publication with circulation of approximately 3,400,000.

Time Inc., a Time Warner company, is one of the largest content companies in the world, publishing 22 US titles and 115 worldwide, 26 US websites and 48 worldwide.  Among its top magazine titles are People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, InStyle, and Real Simple.  According to the company, each month one out of every two American adults reads a Time Inc. magazine, and one out of every seven who are online visits a company Web site.  A European edition (Time Europe ) is published from London and covers the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. An Asian edition (Time Asia) is based in Hong Kong. A South Pacific edition, covering Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, is published in Sydney.

The first issue of Time magazine was launched from Time‘s New York City’s offices on March 3, 1923 by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce, making it the first weekly news magazine in the United States.  Time‘s most famous feature throughout its history has been its annual “Man of the Year” cover story, now called “Person of the Year.”

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USA TODAY

USA TODAY was founded  by Al Neuharth to provide a general-interest national newspaper in the US market.  Its motto: “The Nation’s Newspaper.” First published on September 15, 1982, it appears Monday through Friday.  There is a weekly USA Weekend edition.

Initially parodied as “McPaper” because of its short articles illustrated with color photos and graphics, the paper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States.

Owned by the Gannett Company, the newspaper is headquartered outside of Washington, DC, in Fairfax County, Virginia.   Gannett is a publicly-traded media holding company, with the distinction of being the largest U.S. newspaper publisher as measured by total daily circulation.  In addition to USA Today, Gannett owns such papers as The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Tennessean, The Courier-Journal, The Des Moines Register, The Honolulu Advertiser, the Detroit Free Press and The News-Press.  Gannett also owns 23 television stations and multiple websites.

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THE WASHINGTON POST

The Washington Post is regarded as one of the leading daily newspapers in the United States.  The paper is especially known for its political coverage of its hometown–perhaps the apex of which was the reporting by  Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Watergate scandal that contributed to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Like its competitor, The New York Times, The Post is one of the few US newspapers with multiple foreign bureaus–located in Baghdad, Beijing, Berlin, Bogota, Islamabad, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Kabul, London, Mexico City, Moscow, Nairobi, New Delhi, Paris, and Tokyo.  Financial cutbacks are hitting the paper hard, however, as with so many others; in November 2009, it announced the closure of its three domestic bureaus, in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

The paper is an operating division of The Washington Post Company. The company is a diversified media and education company that also owns several other papers, the Post-Newsweek Stations, Cable One,  Newsweek magazine, the online magazine Slate, educational services provider Kaplan, Inc., and CourseAdvisor.

The Post was first published on December 6, 1877 by Stilson Hutchins. As of September 2009, its average weekday circulation was 582,844, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, making it the fifth largest newspaper in the country by circulation, behind USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

The Post has won 47 Pulitzers, but because of its editorial stances on Washington politics and its investigative reporting legacy, it has a reputation of being a liberal news outlet.

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UK MEDIA OUTLETS

THE ECONOMIST

Despite its name, The Economist claims it “is not a chronicle of economics.”  Also, somewhat confusingly, The Economist is a weekly magazine that calls itself a newspaper. It does so, the news outlet says, “because, in addition to offering analysis and opinion, it tries in each issue to cover the main events—business and political—of the week.”

Articles in The Economist are not signed.  They are often cooperatively written—and often heavily edited—by an editorial staff based in London, supplemented by 20 staff correspondents overseas and a worldwide network of stringers. Among elite news organizations who value bylined articles for the credibility that comes with naming the author, The Economist is an anomaly.  According to the magazine, “The main reason for anonymity…is a belief that what is written is more important than who writes it.”

The Economist goes to press on Thursdays and is printed simultaneously in six countries.  The editorial matter remains the same, although the covers, order of sections and advertisements may differ. Readers in Britain receive a copy of the magazine that includes a few additional pages of British news.

The publication belongs to The Economist Group, half of which is owned by the Financial Times, a subsidiary of Pearson PLC, the other half by a group of independent shareholders, who include members of the magazine’s staff.

Today circulation is over 1 million, more than four-fifths of it outside Britain. US circulation accounts for over half of the total.

Established in 1843 to campaign against the protectionist Corn Laws, the publication has continued “its commitment to the classical 19th-century Liberal ideas of its founder.”  Described by some as neo-liberal, The Economist generally supports free markets and globalization.  It has endorsed both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party in recent British elections, and both Republican and Democratic candidates in the United States.  Most recently the paper endorsed Barack Obama for president.

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THE FINANCIAL TIMES

The Financial Times (FT) is a British international morning daily business newspaper printed strikingly on light salmon paper.  With headquarters in London, its primary rival is New York City-based The Wall Street Journal.

The FT was first published as the London Financial Guide on January 9, 1888 by Horatio Bottomley, renaming itself the Financial Times a month later. After several changes in owenership over the decades, Pearson PLC, a London-based education and media conglomerate (now with three operating divisions:  The Penguin Group, Pearson Education and The Financial Times Group), bought the paper in 1957.

The FT is a global newspaper, printed in 22 locations with four international editions to serve the UK, continental Europe, the U.S., Asia and the Middle East.  In September 1998, the FT became the first UK-based newspaper to sell more copies internationally than within the UK. Worldwide circulation stands at 421,059 (April 2009), and U.S. circulation at 143,473.  The FT’s partner publication, FT.com is one of the world’s top business websites; it has over 1.2 million registered users.

The Financial Times is recognized internationally for its authoritive coverage of business and financial news; it also covers politics and the arts and provides commentary and analysis.  It has long been an advocate of free markets and globalization, and tends to be pro-European Union.  In the 1980s it supported Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan; more recently the paper endorsed Barack Obama for president.  The paper has been criticized for an anti-Israel editorial bias.

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THE GUARDIAN

The daily British newspaper The Guardian is part of the GMG Guardian Media Group of newspapers, radio stations and  print media including The Observer Sunday newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, and The Guardian Weekly international newspaper. Owned since 1938 by The Scott Trust, in Oct 2008, the Scott Trusts assets were transferred to a new limited company, The Scott Trust Limited.

The Guardian Weekly, which circulates worldwide, is a digest of four newspapers: The Guardian, The Observer, The Washington Post and articles translated from Le Monde.

The Guardian is  the only British daily national newspaper to employ an ombudsman (called the ‘readers’ editor’).  It has also, since 2003, conducted an annual social, ethical and environmental audit in which an independent external auditor evaluates the company’s behavior.

The Guardian first launched as the weekly The Manchester Guardian on May 5, 1821.  It became a daily in 1855.  In 1959 the paper dropped “Manchester” from its title, and in 1964 it moved to London .  It has long lost money; at one time it was in merger talks with The Times.  Its survival has been heavily dependent on subsidies from profitable companies within the Guardian Media Group, including Auto Trader and the Manchester Evening News.

While The Guardian paper has been losing audience–its daily circulation was 300,540 copies in December 2009–The Guardian‘s website, guardian.co.uk, is one of the world’s highest-trafficked English-language news websites.  According to Technorati’s Attention Index, guardian.co.uk is second only to The New York Times of most linked-to news sites.  A third of the site’s hits are for items over a month old.

Editorial articles in The Guardian are generally left of center, a perspective that is reflected in various polls of Guardian readers that have shown most are either Labour or Liberal Democrat voters. The newspaper’s reputation as a platform for liberal opinions has led to the use of the phrase “Guardian reader” as a general label for people holding leftist opinions.  The paper has been criticized for an anti-Israel editorial bias.

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THE TIMES ( OF LONDON)

The Times is a daily national newspaper published in London.  The Times, together with its sister paper The Sunday Times and the website TimesOnline, are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary of News International.

Although The Times and The Sunday Times are both owned by News International, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, they do not share editorial staff; they were founded independently and have shared the same owner only since 1967.

The Times was first published on Jan. 1, 1785, when it was known as The Daily Universal Register. From its early days, it sought to report foreign news, for example, becoming the first paper to send war correspondents to cover conflicts.  For its commitment to news from abroad it became the paper of choice among policy makers and financiers.

Still considered the UK’s newspaper of record, the Times has the reputation of being a moderately center-right newspaper and  supporter of the Conservatives. The Times readership has typically been split politically; figures from 2005 showed that while 40 percent of Times readers voted for the Conservative Party, 29 percent voted for the Liberal Democrats and 26 percent for Labour.  In Dec. 2009, The Times had an average daily circulation of 521,535 copies.

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MIDDLE EAST MEDIA OUTLET

AL JAZEERA

Al Jazeera is a television network headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has  expanded into a network with several outlets,  specialty TV channels in multiple languages, and Arabic and English websites.  The websites, like the satellite channels, are  editorially distinct, with their own selection of news and commentary.

Al Jazeera began broadcasting in late 1996 after receiving a loan from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa. Many staff had formerly worked for.the BBC World Service’s Saudi-co-owned Arabic language TV station, which had been shut down earlier that year under pressure by the Saudi  government.

Nine years after launching its Arabic channel, Al Jazeera announced on July 4, 2005 that it would launch an  English-language channel.  Al Jazeera English, which began broadcasts the following November 2006,  is a 24/7 channel based in four locations strategically positioned around the world:  Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Washington, DC and London.

Al Jazeera is chiefly funded through loans or grants rather than direct government subsidies, which helps the channel maintain editorial  independence.  It is the most watched news channel throughout the Middle East and has an estimated worldwide audience of 40 to 50 million viewers.   Since the launch of its English-language channel, it directly competes in many markets with BBC World and CNN International.  However, Al Jazeera  has sharing agreements for facilities, information and news footage with other news outlets, including the BBC and CNN.

Al Jazeera’s availability via satellite to viewers throughout the Middle East dramatically changed the news landscape.  Prior to its launch, many countries only offered state-sponsored broadcast TV channels; Al Jazeera introduced many viewers to a previously unknown standard of freedom of speech. Al Jazeera reported critically on the governments of many Persian Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, as well as Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.  By the time the channel came to prominence  in the West following the September 11, 2001 attacks – when it broadcast videos of Osama bin Laden  and other al Qaeda leaders that led to US  government charges that it was aiding and abetting the terrorists – the channel had already been causing controversy in the Middle East.

As a result of the success of Al Jazeera in attracting vast audiences in the region, other Middle East-based satellite channels have emerged, including two in 2003:  Al Arabiya, financed by Saudi investors, and  Al-Alam, a channel funded by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

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