“Unlocking U.S. Audience Demand for International News,” a study of 1,200 U.S.-based adults who are regular online news readers, establishes that there is a deep reservoir of untapped demand from readers in the United States for international journalism that is local, precise, and representative. These potential news consumers exist across a wide range of demographics.

The study found that large segments of the U.S. audience want stories that are written by local reporters from their own communities rather than by journalists sent from abroad. It also demonstrated a fatigue with the pervasive and generic negative narratives about disaster and conflict. Instead, it proves that readers value reporting that is dignified, precise, and avoids stereotypes common in international journalism. This study leaves no doubt that U.S.-based readers are in favor of upending stereotypical global narratives in favor of those with solutions and context.

“For too long publishers have made the assumption that there is little demand for international news,” said Cristi Hegranes, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Global Press and co-author of the report. “What this study demonstrates is that it’s not that people don’t care about the world, it’s that they don’t care for the way the world’s stories are being told. These findings demonstrate what Global Press has always believed: that there is a strong market for international journalism, and that we can best serve this need by providing ethical, accurate news produced by local journalists reporting on their own communities.”

As media outlets continue to grapple with declining trust among audiences and the rise of mis- and disinformation, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the shortcomings of parachute journalism when many legacy media publications brought their staff home and readers, especially from the diaspora, had to look elsewhere for coverage of their ancestral communities. The study found that providing readers even a small amount of media literacy about parachute journalism versus local coverage unlocked a substantial demand for stories produced by local reporters from the places they are reporting on. These key findings were robust across age, race, political affiliation, gender, and other demographics.

This report provides the journalism industry with a number of recommendations for moving forward, targeted to both funders and newsrooms. These include: investing in media literacy; using partnerships to build high-quality international journalism capacity; increasing transparency; and investing in local expertise and hiring local reporters.

Read the full article about how funders can support international journalism by Annmarie Pisano at Media Impact Funders.