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A longitudinal study of international news in U.S. newspapers before and after Sept. 11, 2001 was used to examine whether the reaction of U.S. media to that day’s news events affected coverage in ways that would be predicted or explained by the theory of structural imperialism. This theory says news produced by and about core countries dominates news about the periphery. It therefore would predict a shift in the balance of news flow in response to Sept. 11, because an event with such significance to the United States and its interests around the world would tend to make coverage more “U.S. centric” and reporting on other countries would be marginalized or pushed out of the news flow. Statistical analysis of the number of news stories about more than 150 countries published in elite newspapers over a two-year period found support for the theorized view that Third World coverage was adversely affected after Sept. 11, which can be interpreted as evidence of structural imperialism having an impact on news flow.


Presentation at the 6th Annual Convention for Media Ecology Association, June 22–26, 2005, Fordham University, New York, New York.

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